DARLINGTON Mowden Park will want to get back to their free-scoring ways when they begin the countdown to promotion at home to Leicester Lions tomorrow.
Mowden lie third in National Two North, a point behind next week’s hosts Stourbridge with a game in hand.
After next Saturday’s trip to the West Midlands they will have four games left and will be anxious to earn the four-try bonus point in as many as possible, starting tomorrow.
The bonus points proved elusive during the wet spell, but with the pitch at The Northern Echo Arena now firm and dry Mowden will be looking for a repeat of the 62-17 win enjoyed at Leicester in November.
The visitors will be without their prolific goal-kicker Jon Boden, who is suspended.
Mowden had no game last Saturday, while Darlington won their rearranged home match against Bishop Auckland 38-13, scrum half Mark Baldwin scoring two of the five tries.
Two former Darlington juniors were prominent for Bishops in No 8 Mike Ross and fly half Tim Tombling, who gave his side a deserved early lead with a penalty from just inside halfway.
He later scored an individual try to make the score 8-8 before Darlington pulled away, having opened their account through a Nick Baldwin penalty and a try by hooker Rob Goddard.
Mark Baldwin’s first was set up by a superb run from Sam Hardy and there was also an excellent try from centre Adam Gardner before halftime.
Bishops again started strongly after the interval, but after withstanding ten minutes of pressure Darlington scored their fourth try through prop Dan Miller.
Bishops grabbed a breakaway try before Baldwin finished off a forward drive and his brother, Nick, converted.
Darlington visit Novos tomorrow, where a victory would do a favour for Stockton who are just above the Tynesiders in fourth bottom place.
With a patched-up side Stockton lost 39-24 at home to Consett after trailing by only three points with ten minutes left. Jeremy Good kicked four penalties and a conversion for Stockton, while their tries were scored by Jonny Cheetham and Steve Tampin.
Middlesbrough climbed out of the bottom three in North One East, leapfrogging their visitors with a 17-8 win against Morpeth. With four difficult games left another home win against fourthplaced Rochdale tomorrow would be very useful.
Boro were generally on top but lacked a cutting edge and trailed 8-0 with 25 minutes left before prop Richard Lonsdale finally burrowed over.
His fellow ex-Northallerton player, winger Rhys Kilbride, finished an excellent move featuring centres Rob Bellerby and Richard Metcalfe, then Bellerby nipped under the posts for Matthew Todd to convert.
Northallerton staged an impressive comeback from 15-5 down at half-time to win 17-15 in their Yorkshire Shield quarter- final at Halifax.
After two last-minute withdrawals North travelled with only two of the permitted five substitutes and struggled to get to grips with the strong cross wind.
Halifax scored two catchand- drive tries before North produced a well-worked backs move involving Steven Lister and Dougie Mullholland before Sam Hopkins finished it off.
Halifax dominated the rest of the half but only had one more unconverted try to show for their efforts.
North had the slight benefit of the wind in the second half and Mulholland and Joe Terry began to use it effectively.
Martin Dennison and Lee Peake became more involved and with Halifax forced to defend in their 22 for long periods they began to tire, resulting in two late tries.
Dave Baker got the first then Dennison crowned his man of the match performance and Greg Aspin converted to clinch victory.
North resume league action at Aireborough tomorrow, while the seconds visit Wetherby hoping to improve on an 11-10 home defeat by Middlesbrough thirds.
They were hoping to complete the double to move top of the merit league, but produced one of their poorest displays of the season and lost to a last-minute try.
North were very disjointed in the first 30 minutes and trailed 6-0 before introducing the powerful Jason Simmons.
One of his surging runs resulted in a try for Adam Massey out wide.
North continued to have much of the possession in the second half and were rewarded with a try for Chris Macaneany 15 minutes from time. But when Boro brought on ex-Northallerton stalwart Mike Evans he set up the match-winning try.
The thirds sent a severely depleted team to Hartlepool and lost 49-7, the try coming from vice-captain Gareth Essex.