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Darlington Mowden Park make dream start at Northern Echo Arena
Final Score: Darlington Mowden Park 62, Bromsgrove 7
DARLINGTON Mowden Park made a dream start to life at The Northern Echo Arena as they romped to a bonus-point victory over Bromsgrove.
Having left their previous home at Yiewsley Drive, Mowden have taken over at the Arena, which was formerly the home of Darlington Football Club.
They have ambitious plans to redevelop the land surrounding the stadium, and hope to attract new supporters to their new home.
And they could hardly have wished for a better start on the field as they maintained their push for a play-off place in National Two North by outscoring Bromsgrove by nine tries to one.
They opened the scoring within the first minute of their Arena debut with Lewis Johnson bursting through the heart of the Bromsgrove defence to score to the left of the posts.
Grant Connon converted the score, and went on to successfully add the extras to all four of Mowden's first-half tries.
Chris McTurk claimed the second, exploiting an overlap on the right, and both Craig Dominic and Shaun McCartney crossed the try-line as Mowden claimed a four-try bonus point within the opening 20 minutes.
Bromsgrove reduced the arrears with their only try of the game shortly before the break – prop Stephen Blackburn crashing over after sustained close-range pressure – but any hopes the visitors harboured of a fightback were quickly extinguished as Mowden cut loose again after the interval.
Connon scored two tries in the space of 14 second-half minutes to go with the penalty he landed shortly after the break, with the first rounding off an excellent passing move that also featured Cameron Mitchell and Lewis Johnson.
McCartney claimed his second try in the 59th minute, and rounded off his hat-trick with eight minutes left with the best try of the game.
Connon made a fantastic break in midfield and chipped an inch-perfect kick into the in-goal area, and McCartney out-paced the Bromsgrove cover to touch down.
The right winger wasn't finished there though, and he scored a fourth try with the final play of the game, profiting from an excellent break from scrum-half Zylon McGaffin.