RUGBY posts have been hoisted in to position as preparations to bring competitive sport back to a North-East stadium continue apace.

Darlington Mowden Park rugby club plays its first game at the 25,000-seat Northern Echo Arena, the former home of Darlington FC, on February 2.

Although the recent wintry weather has left the pitch shivering under more than an inch of snow, players have been able to train on it and officials are confident everything will be in place for the big kick-off against Bromsgrove.

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The posts were delivered by York-based supplier Newitts on Wednesday (January 23) and youngsters from the club’s junior teams were invited to see the finishing touches put in place on Thursday, along with members of the first team squad.

Mowden bought the stadium in a seven-figure deal earlier this year, with ambitious plans to build training pitches on adjoining land.

The stadium has not hosted a competitive fixture since Quakers’ win over Kettering last April brought the curtain down on the football club’s tenure.

Mowden coach Danny Brown said seeing the rugby posts in position brought the venue’s impending renaissance into sharp focus.

He said preparations were continuing for the first game, but asked supporters to show patience in the event of teething problems.

Mr Brown said: “The posts are in place and putting them up was very straight-forward.

“Seeing the posts up makes it feel a little bit more real.

“Everything is going to plan, we have sold all of our corporate boxes for the first game, but we cannot predict the number of people that will turn up on the day, we are guessing.

“We are aware there could be some issues on the first game and all we ask is that people are patient.”

There will be no advance ticket sales for the first game, with cash turnstiles open ahead of the 2.15pm kick-off.

Admission costs £6 for adults and is free for under 16s.