Cricket Tasmania is shocked and saddened by the accidental drowning death of former state cricketer Tony Benneworth.

Anthony John ‘Tony’ Benneworth was a right-handed batsman and right-arm medium-pace bowler for Riverside Cricket Club in Launceston and played for Tasmania from 1971 – when he debuted against the World XI – until retiring in 1981.

He played in Tasmania's inaugural Sheffield Shield win in 1978-79 and belonged to the side that won Tasmania’s first ever Gillette Cup One Day State Competition taking 3/14 in the final.

Tony was also the first Tasmanian to take five wickets in an innings in a Sheffield Shield match when he took 5 for 115 against South Australia in February 1978.

He played 15 First Class matches scoring 580 runs at 23.20 – including three 50s with a top score of 75 and took a total of 26 wickets at 38.92. He played 10 List A games scoring 72 runs and took nine wickets.

Cricket Tasmania Chairman Andrew Gaggin spoke earlier today: “Tony was a key part of Tasmanian Cricket’s early First Class history and a passionate supporter of cricket in Northern Tasmania.”

“His influence as a player and later on as a Cricket Tasmania Board Director was considerable and he will be sorely missed.”

Benneworth was the Liberal candidate for Bass in the 2001 Federal election and from 1992 to 1998 he served in the Tasmanian House of Assembly.

Cricket Tasmania extends its deep sympathies to the family and friends of Tony Benneworth and his companion Tony Long who also drowned in the accident.