4:01pm Friday 27th September 2013
THE Darlington clubs enjoyed contrasting home wins on Saturday, Mowden Park pulling away to beat Bromsgrove 48-21 while their neighbours almost squandered a big lead against Guisborough.
Darlington hung on to win 35-33 in Durham and Northumberland One after leading 32-7 midway through the second half. The gap was down to 32-26 when replacement fly half Nick Baldwin landed a 30-metre drop goal in the 79th minute, so Guisborough’s converted try at the death was not enough.
Mark Baldwin landed an early penalty before his brother took over after going on in the 23rd minute.
Playing at fly half in a reshuffled back line after scrum half Arun Keans was injured, he converted three of the four tries and landed a penalty.
Centre Dan Carter twice cut through to score, while props Joe Hargreaves and Joe Oselton both finished forward drives, the former from 25 metres.
Darlington hope to have Richard Snowball available for tomorrow’s trip to leaders Horden, who have won all three games to date.
Mowden didn’t quite hit the anticipated heights in their first appearance of the season in front of 700 fans at The Northern Echo Arena.
Against the team who lost 62-7 when they were the first visitors to the ground in February, Mowden led only 15-14 after 30 minutes. But they always looked like winning and did so comfortably in the end.
With experienced No 8 Talite Vaioleti ruled out by injury, the oldest player in the starting line-up was 24- year-old hooker Ross Doneghan, who has arrived from Ayr.
Guy Van Den Dries started at No 8, with local lad Liam Riley and Middlesbrough product Ollie Hodgson alongside him in the back row.
New winger Tom Kill, from Billingham, beat his man to score from 25 metres after seven minutes as Mowden ran the ball from the outset. But they were unable to establish real control until the middle of the second half, when they scored four tries in ten minutes.
The previous week’s hat-trick hero, full back Henry Robinson, was again man of the match. The Leeds Met University captain made some exciting counter-attacks from long distance and his speed took him into good supporting positions.
Inside passes allowed him to finish off Mowden’s best two tries, the first owing much to some sleight of hand by centre Chris Peace.
The second resulted from a Bromsgrove attack breaking down for replacement winger Shaun McCartney to capitalise with a 60-metre charge adding to the impact he had already made. There was also a try for winger Callum McKenzie after he switched to centre.
Up front, Mowden had enough power to drive a couple of mauls 15 metres and they were awarded a penalty try when going for a pushover.
Lock Pierce Phillips, who romped through from 25 metres for a try, has obviously developed well during his year with Leeds Carnegie, while Riley staked a strong claim for a regular start at open side.
Mowden scored three tries in the first half and four between the 59th and 69th minutes.
Gavin Painter, filling in at fly half until Grant Connon is fit, kicked three easy penalties and a conversion before making way for Sam Errington, who added one conversion.
Promoted Bishop Auckland won 51-15 at home to Stockton.
Fly half Tim Tombling converted all six tries and added three penalties. Full back Zach Hole scored two tries and in the last move of the game winger Josh Pagan seized on a Stockton fumble on his own line and ran almost the length of the field. He was stopped five metres short, but lock Luke Bryan-Victory followed up to finish off.
Northallerton travelled to Old Modernians with a muchchanged squad and lost 26-12 after conceding two early penalties.
Once they found their feet they strung some good play together and a 20-yard catchand- drive was finished off by prop Phil Swall – his second try in consecutive weeks.
It remained 6-5 until halftime then North made an early breakthrough following a charging run from No 8 Adam Massey, who brushed aside tacklers before off-loading for centre Jamie Hopkins to score under the posts.
Dan Luck converted and with North in the lead Old Mods brought on two replacement forwards who changed the game.
They seemed to galvanise the team and they produced their best rugby of the day to score three unanswered tries and a penalty.
North sent on new prop Martin Court and returning scrum half Paul Smith, but could never get into a scoring position. Their man of the match was the ever-improving Patrick Joyce.
North seconds lost 23-10 at home to Whitby, despite Jeff Foster being robustly involved in his first game for more than three years. He had to be replaced due to fatigue late in the game.
North led 10-5 at half-time through tries by Foster and centre Jason Simmonds, but as with the first team, they did not have the quality replacements to match the opposition.
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