Tony Benson

Date published: Tuesday, July 17, 2012

FOR the first time in three-and-a-half months a hugely relieved Tony Benson was able to reflect on a Roughyeds’ win.

With eight minutes left against London Skolars, Benson’s men went six points behind and were again staring down the barrel of defeat.

They mounted a stirring fightback, however, to level at 24-24 with a Miles Greenwood try and ice-cool Jamie Dallimore’s touchline conversion before Neil Roden swept them to victory with a drop goal from long range in the last minute.

Phew !

It had needed an epic smash-and-grab raid to end a run of nine league games without a win, but when you’re in mid-July and it’s your first Championship One triumph since April Fools’ Day it hardly matters how it was achieved.

“A win’s a win and it feels great,” said the Roughyeds boss.

“I wouldn’t say it has turned our season round, but it’s a step in the right direction.

“We’ve still a lot to work on, but the big plus is that, despite all we’ve gone through and despite all our disappointments over the last few months we still had the bottle and the resolve to battle on to the end when we were up against it with time running out.

“We could and should have made more of slope and wind in the second half, but we conceded that advantage by giving away penalties and making it easy for Skolars to get up to our end of the field.

“We showed loads of character though to achieve a badly-needed win which will lift spirit and morale right through the camp.

“It was a struggle to manage the bench in the last ten minutes because I was running out of replacements.

“Valu Bentley was sick and kept coming off, so I had to hold back on other replacements and then it becomes a balancing act.

“If you make changes too early you end up with none left and if you delay too long you find that gaps start to appear in your defence.

“I can’t speak too highly of the way in which the entire 17 worked so hard for this elusive win.

“Individually, Chris Murphy did well on debut; Rob Foxen had his moments; Jamie Dallimore had a superb game; Mark McCully was magnificent in defence; and Miles Greenwood gave another outstanding performance despite playing with a very painful back.

“There were spells when we were good on attack and spells when we were tough in defence — and the fact that we really had to dig deep for this win will be good for us in terms of moving forward and building on it.”

Chairman Chris Hamilton added: “The team was under a lot of pressure to get a win — any sort would do — but they clearly lacked confidence.

“When London went 24-18 up I thought they had done enough, but it was then that our character and team spirit came to the fore and carried us over the line.

“Jamie Dallimore had a big influence on the game — how good was his last conversion — and Neil Roden’s match-winning drop goal was a superb effort with all the pressure upon him.

“Rob Foxen and the forwards made the hard yards, but the man of the match had to be Miles Greenwood, not only for his two tries, but for everything else he did right in another first-rate display.”