MIDDLESBROUGH FC could play some of next season's development matches at The Northern Echo Arena following Darlington Mowden Park's successful acquisition of the venue.

Mowden made their debut in the Arena last weekend and return for today's National Two North promotion clash with Hull Ionians.

They are keen to develop the Arena and its surrounding land into a multi-purpose sports venue, and have received an expression of interest from Middlesbrough officials.

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Boro currently play the majority of their development-team matches at Rockliffe Park in Hurworth, with a handful of more high-profile games staged at the Riverside.

They are keen to add The Northern Echo Arena to their home roster, with rugby club officials equally enthusiastic about the tie-up.

Mowden are due to hold talks with the Rugby Football Union that could lead to England Women and England Saxons staging matches in Darlington.

And The Insider understands there have also been discussions with the England Table Tennis Association about the possible redevelopment of some of the indoor facilities at the Arena.

The ETTA recently staged a women's international match at Gateshead Leisure Centre and are keen to establish a more permanent base in the North-East.


DARREN Gough's days of starring for England might be over, but his son, Liam, has taken a major step towards emulating his father by securing a place on the MCC Young Cricketers programme for 2013.

Gough, who is a top-order batsman, is joined by another famous sporting son - bowling all-rounder Jamie Hoddle, who is the son of former England international Glenn.

Durham batsman Graham Clark has also been selected for the squad after impressing MCC head coach Mark Alleyne with his performances for Durham seconds last season.

The MCC Young Cricketers kick-off their 2013 programme by attending a world-class pre-season training camp alongside a combined MCC Universities team in Abu Dhabi next month.

They will then spend the rest of the summer making the most of the training facilities and expert coaching available at Lord's, while playing for the YCs in the North Division of the ECB Second Eleven competitions.


NOVA International, the organisers of the Great Run series of mass participation events that includes the Great North Run, have appointed Ian Stewart as a consultant to work with the elite athlete management team.

Stewart recently left his post at UK Athletics after 20 years of running the governing body's flagship indoor and outdoor athletics meetings, including the UK's two IAAF Diamond League events. He was also head of endurance at UKA for the last four years.

Stewart, who will take up his new role within the next few weeks, said: "Having collaborated with Brendan Foster on a number of projects in the past, I'm looking forward to this change in career direction and working with the talented and knowledgeable team at Nova."


FRIDAY'S all-North-East title fight between Jon-Lewis Dickinson and David Dolan will be screened live on Loaded TV.

The duo will fight for the British cruiserweight title at Rainton Meadows Arena, and promoter Frank Maloney has signed a television deal that will see the fight shown live on Loaded TV, which is available on Sky channel 200.

Dickinson captured the British title last October with a commanding victory over Shane McPhilbin and is on a run of four consecutive victories, the first of which came over Dolan.