DARLINGTON Mowden Park are determined to bow out of Yiewsley Drive, their home for 40 years, with a win against Huddersfield tomorrow.
Last Saturday’s 18-15 defeat at Dudley Kinswinford was a setback to their promotion hopes in National Two North, but chairman of rugby Mike Keeligan said: “It makes little difference.
“We were going to have to beat Hull Ionians home and away in any case and if we do that we can still finish in the play-off place.”
Mowden will have one match at The Northern Echo Arena, against Bromsgrove on February 2, to prepare for the visit of Ionians the following week.
The first setback at Dudley was the pre-match withdrawal of lock Chris Campbell, who had picked up a virus. But when flanker Will Macauley damaged a knee after seven minutes Campbell had to go on.
Things were looking good when, from the kick-off, the ball was won and whisked along the line for Shaun McCartney to make ground. Then Grant Connon hacked on for his brother Max, playing at full back, to score.
The try stung Dudley into action and four minutes later they were level following a defensive lapse by Mowden at a line-out. The cold, strong wind blowing down the pitch helped the home side to clear their lines and kick a penalty for an 8-5 lead, but Mowden were always dangerous on the break, especially through the pace and strength of McCartney.
Mowden did well to keep the home side out and several times they broke out dangerously. Just before half-time McCartney popped up on the opposite wing to squeeze in at the corner.
Grant Connon converted for a 12-8 lead and when he added a penalty early in the second half victory looked assured.
However, it was Dudley who scored next, with a try from close quarters and things were very tight from then on. But increasingly it was the home side who were showing more determination and after failing to clear their lines Mowden were guilty of a suicidal pass, which was knocked on.
From the resulting scrum Worcester Academy No 8 Josh Buggea picked up and drove over for the winning try two minutes from time.
Mowden are now eight points behind Hull Ionians, who won 33-8 at Westoe.
Darlington lost 50-12 at Sheffield, despite having the better of a 40-minute period after a slow start saw them trailing 31-0 after 30 minutes. They also conceded two late tries after winning the intervening period 12-7 through tries by props Paul Shepherd and Joe Oselton, plus a conversion by Henry Carver.
Middlesbrough’s home defeat by Keighley was a good result for Darlington as they will have to overhaul both those clubs to avoid relegation. A win at home to midtable Old Crossleyans tomorrow is vital.
Northallerton pulled away from the lower reaches of Yorkshire Three when they visited one of the teams below them, York RI, and won 24-17.
On a ground where they have always struggled North started brightly and captain Liam Lincoln opened the scoring with a well-worked forwards try, driving over from short range.
Dan Luck converted and further pressure resulted in a second try for full back Doug Mulholland after the backs created an overlap.
Prop Dave Baker scored another unconverted try to extend the lead to 17-0, but York rallied and ended the first half with a converted try.
North were caught napping at the start of the second half and the home backs ran in an easy try to cut the gap to 17-12.
With 15 minutes to go North drove a five-metre scrum over the line but Lincoln, playing out of position at No 8, failed to ground the ball.
York then levelled the score at with a breakaway try, prompting the introduction of Don Stone at No 8, which made the difference. From another five-metre scrum Stone picked up and ran for in the winning score, converted by Luck.