Mowden play-off bid looks tall order

11:16am Monday 8th April 2013

MOWDEN Park shrugged off their own lethargy to overcome one Hull club, only for the other one to spoil the day.

Hull Ionians were trailing 13-7 at half-time at home to Stourbridge, but scraped home 24-23, which means the play-off spot is now all but beyond Mowden.

They didn’t look like promotion candidates in Saturday’s first half as they lacked a spark with skipper Junior Fagalilo and scrum half Zylon McGaffin injured, and led only 7-6.

On a well-sanded surface with the sun on their backs they should have been inclined to play high-speed beach rugby. Instead they allowed themselves to be drawn into a mauling contest against a bigger pack.

They improved in the second half, but it was not until the final move of the match that winger Chris McTurk’s second try earned them the bonus point.

McTurk now has 21 for the season and is second in the division’s try-scoring charts.

His first on Saturday came early in the second half and relieved the pressure as Mowden led by only one point and were down to 14 men.

McTurk is a master of chip and chase and this was a perfect example of his expertise as there appeared to be nothing on when he received the ball 30 metres out, despite good work in the build-up by prop Ben Simpson and Rory Duff.

Having come across to the left wing, McTurk chipped over his marker, stepped inside him then veered left as the ball bounced that way, running away from the covering defender who had looked likely to snuff out the danger.

The try stretched the lead at a time when Mowden could have fallen behind and they still might have done when Hull drove a maul from the 22 to the line but were unable to ground the ball.

They battered away for two minutes but were kept out, then fly half Grant Connon broke from under the posts to halfway and with Guy Van Den Dries returning from the sin bin the danger period had been weathered.

It’s a steep learning curve for Mowden’s young forwards and Simpson was also sinbinned for lying on the wrong side of the ball, although it was difficult to see how he could have rolled away within the time allowed by the referee.

Simpson’s selection relegated Dan Miller to the bench, but he was sent on early in the second half for hooker Andrew Tonkin, whose line-out throwing was off beam.

He had to go back on, however, when Miller suffered an eye injury and Mowden will not want to take risks with any of their injured players at home to Sheffield Tigers this week as they visit Hull Ionians the week after.

The first half try came after 20 minutes when Connon chipped through for full back Henry Robinson to touch down. But Hull’s driving mauls kept them going forward and they slotted their second penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Mowden began to dominate with 30 minutes left and after Connon kicked two penalties the ball was moved right from a ruck in midfield and centre Cameron Mitchell glided past his marker then stepped inside on a 30-metre run to the posts.

Hull hit back when a superb pass put the left winger away and when he was stopped five metres short the ball came back across for the No 8 to score.

A good conversion kept them in touch at 25-13 and they applied more pressure.

But Robinson broke from his own 22 and sent McTurk on a 40-metre run to the line, replacement Tom Hodgson adding the conversion with the final kick.

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