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Mowden deserving of a bigger stage
IT may not be guaranteed to fill a 25,000-seater stadium, but the rugby played by Mowden Park is worthy of a bigger crowd that Saturday’s 350.
While the proposed move to the former home of the Quakers will generate interest, the talented young players should also command attention.
Among them as Mowden opened their National Two North account were Jack Neville and Ross Burton, who are not the first-choice wingers but seized their chance remarkably well.
Neville grabbed the first two tries of the second half as Mowden surged into a 38-12 lead before their substitutions robbed them of momentum.
At least Westoe had a couple of tries to show for their late domination, which was not the case when their early onslaught was repelled by heroic defence.
When a pack of forwards throw the kitchen sink at their opponents for 15 minutes and come away with nothing the game tends to take a different course.
Westoe didn’t appear to have a plan B and once Mowden had weathered the storm they began to play the better rugby, prompted by their willo’- the-wisp scrum half Zylon McGaffin.
Tom Hodgson also showed he’s a worthy challenger to first choice fly half, Grant Connon, who could be ready to resume next week, while Chris Peace was always a threat at inside centre.
Westoe do have some talent behind the scrum but kin glorious weather they seemed reluctant to use it, with ex-Mowden flier Jamie Clark having no opportunity to show his pace.
The came to batter and intimidate - there were a number of flare-ups - and spurned several opportunities to kick penalties in their opening salvo, preferring to kick to touch and go for catch-anddrives.
Ex-Stockton No 8 Scott Powell did get over the line but was unable to ground the ball and on another occasion he was knocked back by a furious hit from the pocket battleship, Luke Wishnowsky.
Mowden were rarely out of their own 22 during the first 15 minutes, but then McGaffin broke out from a quicklytaken penalty and after several promising attacks they took the lead.
When centre Sean McCartney tried to go outside his marker on the 22 he was taken out round the neck. The referee adjudged that as an illegal tackle had prevented an otherwise certain score a penalty try was the correct reward.
Westoe finally got over from a catch-and-drive to level the scores, but Mowden began their march to victory with two tries in the last five minutes of the first half.
A strong break by Neville led to McCartney crossing, only to be injured and replaced by ex-Yarm School boy Josh Hall, who supplied the final pass for flanker Will Mc- Cauley to go under the post following a break by Peace.
Hodgson’s three conversions made it 21-7 at the break and ten minutes later the four-try bonus was in the bag when Burton skilfully chipped ahead and touched down.
Westoe came back with a rare handling movement for replacement centre Jordan Carey to score, but quick penalties produced the next two tries for Neville.
For the first Hodgson floated a long pass for full back Richie Young to send the winger over, then replacement hooker Andrew Tonkin made ground from the next tap-and-go before Hodgson popped the ball up for Neville to go under the posts.
Having replaced McGaffin and impressive No 8 Guy Van Den Dries a little prematurely, Mowden went off the boil and Westoe were awarded a penalty try when Mowden infringed at a maul near the posts.
The visitors completed the scoring with their second catch-and-drive, touched down by prop Raymie Elliott to earn their first point of the season.