DARLINGTON Mowden Park needed a penalty and a try in the last four minutes to seal the 28-21 win at Birmingham- Solihull which lifted them into third place in National Two North.
The lead changed hands six times in a thrilling second half with Mowden finally pulling clear through a penalty by Gavin Painter and a try by replacement hooker Ross Doneghan.
They had been guilty of switching off after early domination produced a 12-0 lead, with winger Tom Kill continuing his habit of scoring an early try following a good break by Painter.
Full back Henry Robinson then supported a good drive from the forwards to score his tenth try of the season. The conversion was added by Tom Hodgson, who returned at centre after injury.
The home side were allowed back into the game, scoring a penalty and a converted try before another penalty just after the break put them ahead.
As lock Pierce Phillips had been sin-binned for conceding the penalty, which came after a blatant knock-on was missed, Mowden were now up against it.
But they responded through prop Ralph Appleby finishing a series of pick and drives, only for Birmingham to reply with a try.
Painter took over the kicking duties and penalties were exchanged as the lead kept changing hands. But Mowden made sure when Doneghan burrowed over from a driving maul.
Blaydon pulled clear of the basement in National One when they won 30-5 at Hull Ionians, who have one point from six games.
Student Harry Bate was handed a start in the back row and proved Blaydon’s best player, while former Consett player Jon Hames impressed when he went on for his debut at No 8.
Andrew Baggett kicked two penalties either side of Blaydon’s superior backs creating a try for winger Tom Jeffery, who cut back inside to score.
The 11-0 half-time lead was stretched when a forward drive was finished by Bate handing on for Keith Laughlin to score. Ionians managed a try before Blaydon finished strongly with Bate galloping over from ten metres then making a break for centre Tom Banks to score.
Tynedale came back from 31-20 down at home to Worthing to win 37-21 with Durham School product Craig Willis starring at fly half.
He snatched the lead with a try three minutes from time and replacement Nick Cairns added another in injury time as the south coast visitors ran out of steam after travelling by coach the previous night.
Scrum half Matty Outson scored two tries and Tynedale were also awarded a penalty to stay in touch at 26-17 at the interval. Willis kicked a penalty and added the conversion when full back Jack Harrison set up a try for winger Dan Rundle to spark the late surge.
Billingham suffered a third successive defeat in National Three North, losing 16-13 at home to Sandal, despite winning the try-count 2-1 through Craig Shepherd and Will Turnbull.
West Hartlepool won 29-0 at home to Driffield, defying tricky conditions to produce a good all-round display, highlighted by robust defence.
After 15 minutes a defender slid over the top of the ball following Luke Mallinson’s kick towards the corner and Greg Edwards was left with a simple touch down.
Three minutes before the break Davy Tighe took a quick penalty and found Liam Bailey, who stepped inside to score under the posts.
Driffield started the second half brightly but were repelled and after seven minutes Ryan Painter made a sniping break to score.
Mallinson again converted then after 54 minutes he scythed through the Driffield defence and when the ball was recycled Tighe expertly sent Peter Youll over in the left corner. Finally, Bailey supported a move to stretch over for his second.
Middlesbrough are now bottom of North One East after losing 28-13 at Old Crossleyans, although there were signs of improvement after they trailed 21-3 just before half-time.
The front five more than held their own, but the hosts always looked more dangerous on the attack and scored three converted tries.
Centre Matthew Todd landed two penalties for Boro, who had the driving rain behind them in the second half but conceded a fourth try when they were pressing and dropped the ball.
They were on top for the last half hour but their only reward was a converted try by prop Isa Warsama ten minutes from time.
In Durham and Northumberland One Darlington won 27-14 at Ponteland and are one of three teams six points adrift of unbeaten leaders Blyth, who visit Blackwell Meadows this week.
Ex-captain David Glendenning survived the full game on his comeback, as did coach Sean Richardson. Tries were scored by full back Nick Baldwin, winger Andy Robinson, lock Chris Anderson and back row man Colin Rogers. Baldwin added two conversions and a penalty before Ponteland scored two late converted tries.
Stockton won their home derby against Guisborough 15-7 after leading only 3-0 at the interval through a penalty by Jeremy Good.
The defence had held firm under heavy pressure, but ten minutes into the second half a Guisborough lock powered through to score by the posts.
Stockton, now playing into the elements, dug deep and after having what appeared a good try disallowed they were awarded a five-metre scrum and flanker Tom Nelson was driven over. Craig Slaughter added an excellent conversion.
Guisborough tried to hit back but with their scrum coming under pressure Good made a tremendous break and moved the ball right before lock Todd Highfield showed pace and power to score from 40 metres.