Send us your pictures, video, news and views by texting DST to 80360 or email us
Darlington taste highs and lows
4:17pm Friday 15th March 2013 in Sport
DARLINGTON’S joy after their staging of the previous Sunday’s Under 18 international turned to despair when they were unable to raise a team to play at Morley on Saturday.
Theboostto clubspiritsprovided by attracting a 1,500 crowd to the England versus Scotland match proved short-lived as relegation from North One East was confirmed.
The failure to fulfil the fixture means they will face their second points deduction of the season. The match has been rearranged for tomorrow, which was scheduled to be a blank day, and it will now prove a test of loyalty for the players.
“We’ve gone from a brilliant weekend to a black day,” said secretary Tony Stowe. “With Middlesbrough and Keighley both winning, plus the deduction, we are definitely down.
“Wehadsixplayers working and five injured and we just don’t have the strength in depth.We weren’t prepared to send a bunch of youngsters to get annihilated.”
After operating on the same level as Mowden Park for several years, Darlington have slipped ever deeper into their neighbours’ slipstream since deciding they couldn’t afford to pay any players.
They knew they needed to strengthen after gaining promotion last season, but the opposite happened as key players were lost and not replaced.
Mowden, on the other hand, continue to recruit quality players and have recently introduced two from Leeds Metropolitan University in full back Henry Robinson and flanker Charlie Maddison.
Raised as a hooker at Tynedale, Maddison made his debut in Saturday’s 27-0 win at Otley, who named him man of the match.
Mowden might have to field a makeshift second row at Stockport tomorrow as Chris Campbell, Guy Van Den Dries and Henry Forbes are in the North Under 20s trial on Sunday.
But Stockport are already as good as relegated, so Mowden should maintain their momentum ahead of next week’s visit of National Two North leaders Stourbridge.
The win in wet conditions at Otley was one of the best performances of the season and chairman of rugby, Mike Keeligan, said: “The whole team played really well. Otley have been going well and fancied their chances but we never let them into the game. We also showedgoodskills andmost of the tries came from good support play.” Prop Ralph Appleby went under the posts for the first, then fly half Grant Connon benefited from an Otley mix-up as the ball bounced into his hands and he raced away to score.
It was 12-0 at half-time and when Mowden Park followed up a big kick they retrieved the ball for centre Lewis Johnson to score.
Connon added his second conversion and a penalty before replacement centre Craig Dominick made a break to set up the bonus point try for Shaun McCartney.
Mowden’s second and third teams were both due to play county cup semi-finals at Billingham, but waterlogged pitches forced a postponement.
Mowden could end up playing Blaydon in all three cup finals but first have to find a way past Westoe in the senior event.
After declining to play the final against Mowden last year, it is unlikely that the South Shields club will travel down to Darlington while their priority is to avoid relegation.
The competition has not been played to a conclusion for several years but Blaydon are already through to the final and have confirmed they are happy to play on the appointed date of Wednesday, May 1.
Mowden would go along with that as they complete their league programme the previous Saturday, but Westoe have a rearranged match at Preston Grasshoppers on May 4.
Northallerton paid the price for some sloppy tackling in the first ten minutes and lost 32-20 at home to runaway Yorkshire Three leaders Old Rishworthians.
The visitors showed their class and ran in three early tries before North’s forwards took control and starved their opponents of the ball.
Martin Dennison finished off a rolling maul but the visitors scored another try to lead 20-5 at half-time then added an interception try.
The home pack dominated the rest of the game, pushing the Old Rishworthians forwards off a number of their own scrums and scoring three pushover tries.
Two were touched down by captain and No 8 Liam Lincoln and one by fellow back rower Rob Barnyard.
A final try for the visitors through their speedy backs increased their lead.