Rugby club urges fans: 'Keep giving us your support'

CHEERS TO SUCCESS: Mowden players Shaun McCartney, centre, and Grant Connon join brewer Pete Fenwick to raise a glass of Mowden Mauler

CHEERS TO SUCCESS: Mowden players Shaun McCartney, centre, and Grant Connon join brewer Pete Fenwick to raise a glass of Mowden Mauler

First published in News
Last updated
The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Chief Reporter (Darlington)

BOSSES at a North-East rugby club which has breathed new life into a former football stadium have urged the public to show their support again this weekend.

Having opened their account at The Northern Echo Arena with a thumping 62-7 win over Bromsgrove, Darlington Mowden Park take on Hull Ionians on Saturday (February 9), hoping to narrow the gap on their Yorkshire promotion rivals.

Club officials now estimate that up to 2,000 supporters attended last weekend’s showpiece inaugural game.

Although the attendance is not expected to remain at that level for the forthcoming game, the club is still hopeful of a healthy turnout.

Mowden bought the stadium earlier this year, following the departure of Darlington FC last year in the wake of a fans’ takeover.

The club has plans to develop a 17-acre plot of land adjoining the stadium into training pitches, while space within the stadium itself if being let to businesses.

Mowden coach Danny Brown said: “We have had meetings to discuss what we would like to tweak going forward, but it is difficult because the turnaround between the two games is very short.

“It is not as if we have been in the stadium for three years.

“It looks as if the numbers from last Saturday were in the region of 1,800 to 2,000 as opposed to the 1,300 that was first thought.

“We do not expect the same turnout this week, but we would be happy with a crowd of 600 to 700.

“Hopefully people will buy into what we are trying to do here.”

Crowds at Mowden’s former Yiewsley Drive ground averaged in the region of 300, with the club hoping to maintain gates of about 500 once the initial interest in the move subsides.

A pale ale – Mowden Mauler – produced by Mithril Ales, proved popular at last weekend’s opening match.

Pete Fenwick, who runs the microbrewery at Aldborough St John, near Darlington, said a 72-pint cask sold out quickly.

He was at the stadium on Thursday (February 7) to deliver a consignment of signature Route A66 brew for Saturday’s game.

Mowden Mauler met with approval from supporters and club officials alike, including Mr Brown.

He said: “I am not normally a real ale man, but it was very good.”

  • Admission for this weekend’s game costs £6 for adults, payable at the turnstile. Under 16s go free.

Comments (3)

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5:25pm Thu 7 Feb 13

the-big-yin says...

give it 2 years and it will be in the same boat as darlo f.c.
give it 2 years and it will be in the same boat as darlo f.c. the-big-yin
  • Score: -6

10:46pm Thu 7 Feb 13

doonhamer says...

I'm not a rugby fan but I wish Mowden all the best and can't understand why anybody should be negative towards them. One observation I would like to make though. Both clubs seem to attract crowds of 1200 - 1800. The football club, playing at Heritage Park, with the crowd near the pitch, has a tremendous atmosphere at it's games. While at the Arena that sort of attendance gave a 'Pea in a drum' sort of scenario. No doubt Mowden had a passionate support at their old ground but I fear they will also become lost in the Arena. George Reynolds built the Arena to bring the best to Darlington. If the rugby club reaches the Premiership, playing the likes of Wasps, Leicester and Harlequins, then the Arena will see large attendances plus added revenue from the Sky TV cameras. The onus is on Mowden to attain that level. Everything is in place. It was there for the football club but the people of Darlington didn't want it. Lets hope they get behind the rugby club. The facility and structure within the club are in situ, now do the townsfolk want a sporting outfit to put the name of Darlington back on the map. Lets hope so.
I'm not a rugby fan but I wish Mowden all the best and can't understand why anybody should be negative towards them. One observation I would like to make though. Both clubs seem to attract crowds of 1200 - 1800. The football club, playing at Heritage Park, with the crowd near the pitch, has a tremendous atmosphere at it's games. While at the Arena that sort of attendance gave a 'Pea in a drum' sort of scenario. No doubt Mowden had a passionate support at their old ground but I fear they will also become lost in the Arena. George Reynolds built the Arena to bring the best to Darlington. If the rugby club reaches the Premiership, playing the likes of Wasps, Leicester and Harlequins, then the Arena will see large attendances plus added revenue from the Sky TV cameras. The onus is on Mowden to attain that level. Everything is in place. It was there for the football club but the people of Darlington didn't want it. Lets hope they get behind the rugby club. The facility and structure within the club are in situ, now do the townsfolk want a sporting outfit to put the name of Darlington back on the map. Lets hope so. doonhamer
  • Score: 6

11:42am Fri 8 Feb 13

No06 says...

Do not worry – it is negativity from the usual crowd. Yes the ground is a risk, but the business models for DMP and DFC are different. Without seeing both of models in black and white it is hard to judge what is feasible and what is not? Previous owners of DFC weren’t very forthcoming with the accounts! As long as the council does what any good council should do and take a step back and let the club get on with it without imposing silly regulations and costs then I think it will work. For example there is no need for “security” at a Rugby match! History dictates this. I think the council have recognised this and that DMP are the only (and last) hope of turning this white elephant into a real asset for the people of Darlington. For example, did the Chairmen of DFC past ever make any effort to open up the ground for local businesses – I think not? DMP seem to be trying to create a sport and business hub, and I note that they have plenty of ideal rooms for start up/ small businesses – which is great for the town!
Looking forward to this promotion play off decider v Hull. Whether it is 2000 or 500 – Rugby club atmospheres are always welcoming, well priced and great fun!
Do not worry – it is negativity from the usual crowd. Yes the ground is a risk, but the business models for DMP and DFC are different. Without seeing both of models in black and white it is hard to judge what is feasible and what is not? Previous owners of DFC weren’t very forthcoming with the accounts! As long as the council does what any good council should do and take a step back and let the club get on with it without imposing silly regulations and costs then I think it will work. For example there is no need for “security” at a Rugby match! History dictates this. I think the council have recognised this and that DMP are the only (and last) hope of turning this white elephant into a real asset for the people of Darlington. For example, did the Chairmen of DFC past ever make any effort to open up the ground for local businesses – I think not? DMP seem to be trying to create a sport and business hub, and I note that they have plenty of ideal rooms for start up/ small businesses – which is great for the town! Looking forward to this promotion play off decider v Hull. Whether it is 2000 or 500 – Rugby club atmospheres are always welcoming, well priced and great fun! No06
  • Score: 1

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