Mowden march on - now for crunch

Darlington and Stockton Times: HEADING HOME: Callum McKenzie surges for the line for Mowden against Leicester Lions duiring their comprehensive victory HEADING HOME: Callum McKenzie surges for the line for Mowden against Leicester Lions duiring their comprehensive victory

ON A day when the Lions were easily tamed, the biggest roar from the 720 Mowden fans came when coach Danny Brown almost scored in the final minute.

He gave himself a ten-minute refresher just in case he is needed at any stage of Mowden's countdown to promotion in National Two North.

Brown hasn't played for two years, but was on the bench because no reserve props were available. Ben Simpson has a long-term knee injury, picked up while playing for Durham Under 20s, but it is hoped Henry Sandys will be fit for this week's crunch match at Stourbridge.

Talite Vaioleti will also lend his valuable experience to the pack after a four-week lay-off since dislocating a shoulder and centre Callum McKenzie should be available after being summoned from the pitch immediately after scoring the seventh try.

Someone was looking after his mobile phone on the touchline and when the call came that his wife had gone into labour McKenzie made a swift exit.

Although there were 17 minutes left, Mowden added only one try at the death, when scrum half Zylon McGaffin broke on halfway and found Brown in support 15 metres from the line.

The cheers reached a crescendo as he galloped for the whitewash, but he was pulled down a metre short, with flanker Ollie Hodgson following up to ensure the half-century was reached.

With Henry Robinson back to his jinking best at full back and skipper Cameron Mitchell excelling in midfield, the backs regained their potency and they can go to Stourbridge confident of scoring tries if they can win enough ball.

Initially they relied on the driving maul to get them off the mark, No 8 Guy Van Den Dries finishing off a catch-and-drive after five minutes.

But then came 13 minutes of fluent rugby, which produced three more tries and with the bonus point in the bag Mowden stepped off the gas for half an hour.

They came back to life after conceding a try five minutes into the second half and quickly put the game to bed with another burst of scoring.

But the best of the eight tries was the second as the move started with Mitchell breaking from just outside his own 22. He evaded several tackles on a 40-metre run before moving the ball right to McGaffin, who found Chris McTurk with a long pass. The winger's trademark chip and chase earned him the try.

For the third Max Connon broke from a ruck and passed inside to hooker Ross Doneghan, who side-stepped the full back to go under the posts.

Connon added the third of his six conversions and it became 26-0 when lock Chris Campbell was on hand to finish a move begun on halfway by Robinson.

The full back scored the fifth following the lull, taking an inside pass from McTurk, who was put away by an excellent pass from Connon.

Then the fly half made a cheeky break and was tackled after chipping to the line, resulting in a penalty try.

Will McCauley went on at open side for the last half hour and showed what Mowden are missing when Yarm School duties render him unavailable.

McKenzie ignored an overlap on the right to storm through for his try before the changes stemmed Mowden's momentum and allowed the visitors to score again.

As McCauley had replaced the impressive Jack Allcock, the chance of having Allcock and Brown on the pitch together had gone.

Mowden were flying anyway and Brown almost had his moment of glory, but will pray he isn't needed this week.

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