10:59am Monday 14th April 2014
By Tim Wellock
SCRUM half Zylon McGaffin was Darlington Mowden Park’s hero when he scored the essential fourth try in their 26-18 win at Luctonians.
There were only two minutes left when the South African, who is to play for Rotherham next season, grabbed the bonus point which kept Mowden in the promotion frame in National Two North.
The only change in circumstances in the top three was that Stourbridge’s 78-6 home win against Bromsgrove made their points difference 25 better than Mowden’s.
If Mowden can overhaul that in their game in hand at Sheffield Tigers this week they will climb above Stourbridge with just the decider at home to leaders Macclesfield to come.
First, however, they must secure another win with four tries and will hope to be helped by the fact that Tigers were relegated on Saturday.
It wasn’t looking good for Mowden in Herefordshire when they trailed 13-12 with 11 minutes left. A try by winger Shaun McCartney was well converted by Max Connon, but an unconverted try by Luctonians cut the gap to one after 75 minutes.
Mowden secured possession from the restart and kept the pressure on until McGaffin squeezed over and Connon landed his third conversion.
First half tries were scored by flanker Jack Allcock following forward pressure and winger Tom Kill, but after playing downwind it began to look as though a 12-0 lead would not be enough until stamina and spirit prevailed.
If Mowden finish second it is still not clear whether they would be at home to Canterbury or Ampthill in the playoff.
The Bedfordshire club look favourites.
Tynedale will need two points from their final match at home to Henley on Saturday week to ensure survival in National One after losing 49- 21 at Richmond.
The try-count was 7-3 in an open game, but Tynedale were always behind, trailing 30-14 at half-time.
Skipper Jack Harrison scored two of their tries and Newcastle Academy lock Glen Young got the other, Gavin Beasley converting all three.
Blaydon came back from 14- 3 down early in the second half to win 15-14 at home to Fylde, who have never won at Crow Trees.
The visitors tried to run everything but often knocked on and the home forwards finally took charge. Lock Chris Wearmouth broke from a lineout 20 metres out and dummied his way past former Durham County winger Oliver Brennand to score.
Andrew Baggett added the conversion to an early penalty and the clinching try came from flanker Harry Bate.
He capped a man of the match performance by gaining 40 metres from broken play before a penalty was kicked to the corner and Bate finished the catch and drive.
Billingham look safe in National Three North after a three-try surge in the final seven minutes of their season earned them two points in a 34-28 home defeat by Huddersfield.
Only a shock win by Percy Park against title favourites Huddersfield could deny Billingham, for whom Danny Dixon, Anth Hindman and Craig Tennant were the late scorers. Peter Evans touched down in the first half and landed all four conversions.
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