11:58am Monday 21st October 2013
By Tim Wellock
AS they look beyond this season to the possibility of life in National One, Mowden unveiled their growing forward power on Saturday.
There is little doubt their backs could live at the higher level, but a young pack needs some steel and on this evidence they are developing nicely.
High-speed rugby against token opposition produced most of the 14 tries in the previous home match, but against combative Caldy the first two came from catchand- drives.
Even more impressive than their driving of the mauls was Mowden’s scrummaging as the men from the Wirral wilted under the onslaught and finally capsized when they had a prop sin-binned.
There will be plenty more one-sided contests at The Northern Echo Arena, but the forwards have to be ready for the crucial games against the other top sides. The next two away games, at Preston Grasshoppers and Sedgley Park, will be tough, then there’s the key visit of Stourbridge on November 30.
The experienced Taiote Violeti will soon be ready to return at No 8, not that Guy Van Den Dries deserves to be displaced.
His versatility will come in handy as he moved into the second row when Pierce Phillips retired at halftime with damaged ribs and the other lock, Chris Campbell, had also departed before the end.
Returning fly half Grant Connon was substituted ten minutes from time but had looked very assured in contributing 16 points. He landed four conversions, jinking over for the fourth try himself, and kicked a penalty on the stroke of half-time for a 17-0 lead.
A few marginal decisions went against Mowden as a bright start faded and they had to defend well when Caldy mounted two minutes of pressure.
It took 16 minutes before the first catch-and-drive try was touched down by hooker Ross Doneghan then the second was credited to flanker Liam Riley.
Inbetween a maul was driven 20 metres before skipper Cameron Mitchell almost put Henry Robinson over in the corner, but that was the closest the full back came to adding to his ten tries in the previous five games.
Caldy enjoyed a brief period of pressure after half-time, but after taking a quick penalty five metres out they failed to drive over then dropped the ball when they let it out.
Any remote chance they had of getting back into the game ended when a prop was yellow-carded for a high tackle.
Mowden scored two converted tries while their visitors were depleted.
Caldy conceded the first by over-throwing at a line-out on their 22, allowing Mowden to move the ball left for winger Lewis Johnston to scoop up a loose pass and cross in the corner.
Connon followed his excellent conversion by jinking over from ten metres to finish the next attack.
Caldy ran a penalty to score in the left corner with two minutes left, but Mowden came back with a fifth try featuring three replacements.
Gavin Painter followed up a kick out of defence to retrieve the ball, which was moved left for Will Macauley to send hooker David Nelson over. Another replacement, Tom Hodgson, added the conversion.
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