MOWDEN had to contend with a referee who hails from the Cornish gentry in keeping their promotion bid on track.
It turned out well in the end as Mowden gained the crucial four-try bonus point with five minutes left. But it looked like eluding them as they somehow fell foul of 26-year-old Veryan Boscawen. Perhaps someone questioned his lineage.
At half-time they must have felt it was 13 against 16 as they had been in total control at 17- 3 yet suddenly had two men sin-binned just before the break.
Boscawen is the surname of the Viscounts Falmouth.
Veryan is a product of Eton and took up refereeing while at Durham University. He is now a member of the London Society and works in the city.
A lack of playing experience is usually obvious among young referees as they have little feel for the game, even if they do know the laws inside out. That appeared to be the case here and any decision in Mowden’s favour was met by a huge cheer in a second half which was not allowed to flow.
When Mr Boscawen suddenly penalised Mowden five times in the last five minutes of the first half they lost their momentum and were unable to regain it as the whistle kept intervening.
Hooker Ross Doneghan and No 8 Guy Van Den Dries both looked surprised to be sinbinned for infringements at the breakdown. The resulting penalties were both kickable, but the second was missed to leave the score at 17-6 at halftime.
Sensing their chance, the Grasshoppers began the second half full of purpose, but the 13 men held out comfortably enough, only to find they could not regain the initiative when back up to full strength.
There was cause for concern when a catch-and-drive try made it 17-11 with 15 minutes left, but Mowden replied in kind and Max Connon drilled a low conversion under the wind.
Conditions were again not conducive to the fast, flowing game to which the young and athletic side are suited. On the heavier grounds they were never going to be able to maintain their 50-point sprees, but the maturing forwards dominated their visitors in the first half hour.
They made light of the absence of star lock Pierce Phillips through illness, but the loss of first-choice open side Jack Allcock to his second injury of the season proved disruptive, especially as it was swiftly followed by the two yellow cards.
Mowden scored two tries in the left corner in the first 15 minutes.
Concerted pressure on the line ended with Van Den Dries charging over, Connon adding an excellent conversion.
Then a penalty to the corner produced a catch-anddrive try for Allcock after the visitors buckled in a scrum.
Preston kicked a penalty but when they were driven off their own scrum ball it was moved left and Cameron Mitchell passed inside for winger Shaun McCartney to continue his prolific form by bursting through a tackle.
He is going to be difficult to leave out when full back Henry Robinson returns shortly and Chris McTurk reverts to the wing.
Mowden sent on Zylon Mc- Gaffin at scrum half for the last half hour. His first impact came when Preston were penalised after their best attack of the match took them almost to the line.
Shaun McCartney bursts through a tackle and dives over in the corner
McGaffin’s attempt to take a quick tap was prevented by an opponent who was sinbinned.
The spate of yellow cards did not continue but the whistling did and the referee was in danger of losing control as the players became frustrated.
It was looking ominous when Preston scored, but Mowden finally mounted a foray to the visitors’ 22 and won a scrum against the head.
McGaffin put in a sniping run then got the touchdown after a penalty was kicked to the corner and the maul was driven over.
It widened Mowden’s lead at the top to three points as Stourbridge failed to gain the bonus point in a 14-0 win at home to Chester.