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Club enjoy ‘greatest day’
1:23pm Friday 8th March 2013 in Sport
DARLINGTON Rugby Club are hoping there will be some lasting legacy fromlast Sunday’s Under 18 international, which was described by secretary Tony Stowe as “possibly the club’s greatest day.”
It’s a big claim for a club celebrating 150 years of existence and one of the first benefits was that Rob Andrew agreed to attend the anniversary dinner on October 13.
Andrew, who was 50 last month, was locally raised butisnow basedatTwickenham as the Rugby Football Union’s Director of Professional Rugby and was among those who complimented Darlington on their staging of the match.
A crowd of 1,500 turned up see England beat Scotland 57-13 in a high-speed exhibition which cannot have failed to inspire the local youngsters, many of whom had benefited from a session with the England coaches on Saturday.
Darlington have been very much in Mowden Park’s shadow recently and their first team are heading for relegation following last season’s promotion to North One East.
But it is hoped the financial windfall from Sunday’s match and the general boost to club spirits will help to turn things round.
Stowe said: “Volunteers and our staff contributed to the most fantastic day of rugby. The RFU and Scottish Union were very complimentary of the facilities and organisation. Both sides said thepitch wasamongthebest they had played on.
“The club has been receiving plaudits from all over the countryandtheRFU’s senior vice-president, Bob Reeves, spoke very warmly of the welcome he had received and the way the game had been presented in such a professional way. Rob Andrew was also greatly impressed with how things had been organised and has promised to return in October to talk at our 150th anniversary dinner.”
The only downside was that the match emphasised the growing north-south divide as the Scots couldn’t hope to match opponents who benefit from coaching and conditioning at Premiership clubs.
It’s not just the Scots who are being left behind as only four of England’s 23-man squad were from the north - two from Leeds and two from Sale. Middlesbrough KICKING KING: England's Brett Herron – Picture: Andy Lamb prop Lewis Boyce was ruled out by injury.
Other than the Leeds Carnegie pair, the rest were attached to Premiership clubs and most looked ready to play top-flight rugby.
The outstanding player was Saracens centre Nick Tompkins, who made a scorching break to setup the firsttryandscoredtwo ofhis own.
England scored nine tries in total and added six conversions.TheScotsmanaged a try in each half,the second one being well received as it was touched down by winger Iain Sims from the Duns club in the Borders.
A minibus-load had come down to support him and swell the numbers in a crowd which was twice the average for these fixtures.