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Mowden are too strong for Grasshoppers
1:38pm Friday 1st November 2013 in Sport
DARLINGTON Mowden Park underlined how forward strength has boosted their promotion credentials with a 34-10 win at Preston Grasshoppers on Saturday.
Now only two points behind second- placed Stourbridge in National Two North, Mowden will be confident of an eighth successive win when they entertain struggling Sheffield Tigers tomorrow.
In picking up a four-try bonus point for the seventh time in eight games, they enjoyed the unusual luxury of being awarded two penalty tries.
The first came when Grant Connon weaved his way through and gave what would have been a scoring pass to Josh Bayford, only for the prop to be tackled before receiving the ball.
The second was for illegally pulling down a driving maul, which Mowden again used to good effect, also producing a try for flanker Jack Allcock.
Mowden initially fell behind to a penalty, but Connon quickly equalised and they forged into a 27-3 lead at the break.
Shortly after converting the first penalty try Connon was sin-binned for tackling without using his arms but the home hooker quickly followed.
Full back Henry Robinson took over the kicking duties, landing a penalty then converting Allcock’s try.
Skipper Cameron Mitchell glided round the home full back to score and Connon converted to complete the first half tally.
Preston tried to step up their game and managed a converted try, but Mowden defended stoutly, especially when Allcock was sin-binned, and were awarded the final penalty try with five minutes left.
The lively hosts swept into a 13-0 lead before the Darlington forwards took control after 30 minutes and levelled the scores at half-time.
After a bright start following last season’s promotion, the deduction of five points for fielding an unregistered player has seen Bishops slip to third from the bottom.
But they showed they can compete, with their young backs revealing their paces.
Tom Burn and Lawrence Oliver made the running for 18- year-old winger Kieran Canovan to score by the posts.
Fly half Tim Tombling converted and added two penalties before Darlington hit back through two Nick Baldwin penalties and a try by No 8 Colin Rogers.
Having discovered that Bishops had no answer to the driving maul, Darlington dominated the second half.
Scrum half Mark Baldwin nipped over twice and Rogers scored his second, with Nick Baldwin adding two more conversions.
Bishops ran everything in the last five minutes and were rewarded with a try by Oliver, converted by Tombling.
Middlesbrough will be desperate to win at home to North One East’s bottom club, Sheffield, tomorrow after losing 30-12 at Morpeth. They trailed only 8-0 until they lost both half backs around halftime.
Connor Foley picked up a leg injury and Peter Wright a badly-swollen foot.
Matthew Todd, who had switched from full back to scrum half, darted over from a scrum after 61 minutes, but Morpeth stretched their lead to 30-5 before No 8 Iain Bradford drove over from a scrum.
Replacement fly half Simon Moore converted.
Stockton’s player-coach Paul Lee lasted less than five minutes on his comeback from a hamstring injury. He had to go to hospital for stitches in a calf wound and missed seeing his team slide to a 49-6 home defeat by Horden.
Northallerton moved into mid-table in Yorkshire Three after winning 7-6 at Harrogate Pythons.
The only first half score came through a dubious penalty awarded to Harrogate for a minor infringement.
North’s fly half Joe Terry was sin binned five minutes before half-time for not rolling away after a tackle and the Pythons were again awarded a penalty just after the break to increase their lead to 6-0.
Terry’s return sparked North into life as they started to look dangerous through backs Greg Aspin and Steven Lister. But it was young prop Phil Swall who was the unlikely match-winner.
North drove a line-out 20 metres before the maul was illegally pulled down and Swall took a quick penalty to go over from five metres. Dan Luck added the conversion and for the last 20 minutes North defended heroically in midfield.
Again Martin Dennison and Canadian Marc Waldon proved their worth.
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