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Mowden Park aiming to get to seventh heaven
4:06pm Wednesday 24th October 2012 in Sport
AFTER climbing into third place in National Two North, Darlington Mowden Park will be seeking their seventh successive win at home to Luctonians tomorrow.
They proved they are not just a top-of-the-ground team last Saturday when they came through a tough test at Bromsgrove to win 13-5 against a big pack in wet conditions.
Things will become a little tougher after tomorrow as they go to Caldy next week, then entertain Otley before visiting leaders Stourbridge.
They are delighted with their current position, however, especially as young players keep proving they are up to the mark at this level.
In the absence of Dan Miller, ex-Durham School prop Ben Simpson stood up to the pressure at Bromsgrove and Henry Forbes, who was involved in the Yorkshire Under 20 trials on Sunday, impressed when he replaced injured lock Chris Campbell just before halftime.
There were two other changes with centre Chris Peace returning after illness, allowing Grant Connon to revert to fly half at the expense of Tom Hodgson. And with flanker Will McCauley available, Rory Duff switched to No 8 and the versatile Danny Dixon dropped to the bench.
With Luke Wishnowsky completing the back row, what they lacked in bulk they made up for with mobility and generally beat their opponents to the ball.
Heavy rain fell for much of the game, restricting Mowden’s efforts to play their usual high-speed game, but determined defence allowed them to hang on.
They also tackled heroically to withstand a battering in the first 15 minutes, but once they started to win some ball they ran at Bromsgrove and a break by Connon took them into the left corner, where quickly recycled ball allowed skipper Junior Fagalilo to barge over.
Connon converted and added a penalty for a 10-0 lead at the interval, when a huge hailstorm descended.
Bromsgrove again came out strongly and scored a wellworked try through the forwards after ten minutes. But Mowden refused to buckle and went further ahead after 67 minutes when Connon kicked a penalty after he had chipped ahead and was held back.
While continuing to defend well, Mowden still tried to run the ball when possible and even tried it from a quicklytaken line-out ten metres from their own line with a minute to go.
Darlington suffered their seventh successive defeat in North One East when they lost 42-7 at Pocklington, where they were unhappy with a referee who left them with 13 players on the pitch at the end.Winger David Mackfall was sent off after lashing out with his boot when he was punched to the ground by a player who remained unpunished. Scrum half Mark Baldwin was already in the sin bin, allegedly for not releasing in the tackle, although he hadn’t made the tackle.
Things are unlikely to get any easier at home to Malton and Norton tomorrow, although Darlington insist they will improve once all their farmers are available.
Among those missing last week were key forwards Richard Snowball and Chris Oakley, plus full back Connor Esler, and they had to field a makeshift back row in the absence of Jim Carver.
His brother, Henry, played at centre with Manchester University student Owen Waldin coming in at fly half, where he made a good impression in a generally improved performance.
Dan Carter also did well at centre and hooker Rob Goddard was as industrious as ever. Prop Joe Oselton scored the try, converted by Waldin, as Darlington stayed in touch until midway through the second half