WHEN your team bus breaks down on the way to the first game of the season and you lose three players to injury inside 15 minutes including your first choice fly-half, the only way is up.
And Darlington Mowden Park players’ manager Kevin Robinson is convinced that is the case after his side put their disappointing opening day defeat to Macclesfield behind them to bounce back and beat Hull 39-12 on Saturday.
An improved performance by the forwards and a hat-trick for full-back Henry Robinson were the highlights, with Gavin Painter stepping in at No.10 to deputise admirably for the injured Tom Hodgson.
And Robinson is calling for more of the same when Mowden host struggling Bromsgrove tomorrow, the visitors having lost both their SSE National League 2 fixtures so far and endured a difficult preseason.
Mowden beat Bromsgrove home and away last season including a 62-7 thrashing at The Northern Echo Arena.
“In our first game we had a few injuries and things went against us, although Macclesfield were worth the win,” said Robinson.
“This week was a lot better, the forwards got stuck in and we scored five tries.
“Gavin Painter is a utility back who can play in a variety of positions and certainly provide cover at No.10 and he did a good job and kicked well with the boot on Saturday and pushed us ahead when we needed to be.
“Henry Robinson is a very quick individual, very elusive, and linked up very well for his tries and its nice for him to start the season well.
“Bromsgrove haven’t made a good start to the season but it isn’t like they haven’t scored tries.
“They will be looking for revenge, partly for last season and partly to get some points on the board.”
Mowden finished third last season – their first at this level since promotion from National League 3 North – albeit 19 points behind champions Hull Ionians and second-placed Stourbridge.
Robinson is demanding more of the same from his squad, with another top three finish the minimum requirement after a successful summer in which only stalwart tighthead prop Dan Miller left to play at a lower level.
Mowden have also brought Newcastle Falcons academy hooker David Nelson, lock Glen Young and flanker Oli Hodgson on board for the season.
“We want to finish higher than we did last season,” confirmed Robinson. “We did fairly well but lost a few key games that meant we ended third and we want to go at least one better.
“We recruited particularly well in the forwards with a number of new additions including three from the Newcastle Falcons who have integrated into the squad but haven’t made their debut yet.”