Rochdale is the next venue on the road to finals

Date published: Monday, September 5, 2011

THE Roughyeds’ play-off match at Rochdale Hornets on Sunday will provide boss Tony Benson with a selection headache..

Full-back Ben Heaton, scrum-half Carl Forber and centre Mark McCully didn’t play in the superb 24-20 win at Workington, but all three should be fit for the sudden-death derby at Spotland.

Shaun Robinson switched from wing to fill in for Heaton; Jamie Dallimore made his second senior appearance at half-back; Matthew Fogarty had a blinder in the centre; and John Gillam was back on the left wing for the first time in eight weeks.

“Everybody played well,” said Benson, “and the difficult thing for me now will be to select a side to go to Rochdale.

“It will be a huge game. Our three previous wins against them this year will count for nothing. In every game we have had to work hard to get on top of them and Sunday’s showdown will be no different.”

Added chairman Chris Hamilton: “Hornets will be out to avenge previous defeats, but the tie is all about us. If we turn up well switched on we will be in with a big shout of going through.

“Ours was a great win at Workington against a big, physical side. It was stirring stuff from 1 to 17 and nothing less will do at Rochdale.”

The club’s medical staff will be checking on a few knocks picked up in a Derwent Park bruiser, notably to Fogarty (elbow) and to prop Jason Boults, who had to quit in the second half with what appeared to be a chest or shoulder problem

Fogarty left the field for a time but returned later with the elbow strapped.

A damper was put on the Roughyeds’ victory celebrations at Workington when news filtered through of the death in a car accident of Swinton Lions and former Oldham and Leigh prop forward Dana Wilson.

Tony Benson and Valu Bentley, fellow Kiwis, were close friends, as was John Clough, the Oldham hooker. Many of the other Oldham players also knew him well, either as former team mates or opponents.

Dana played for Oldham in the 2005 season.

Said Chris Hamilton: “The condolences of everyone at Roughyeds go to Dana’s family. We brought him over in 2005. He was a shy lad back then. It was his first time away from home, and we got to know him really well. We kept in touch when he moved on to play for Leigh. This is a sad day for a lot of people at our club.”