DARLINGTON Mowden Park's Director of Rugby Danny Brown and head coach John Newton have become the latest to confirm they are staying with the club.

As they prepare to take on National One champions Hartpury College at the Northern Echo Arena today, the coaching pair continue to raise their sights.

“We have tried to bring the club on year on year, and now with the inclusion of Garry Law we think we can take the next step,” said Brown, who has been with the club since the age of 11.

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“We have an excellent group of players and backroom staff and the supporters are magnificent home and away. They are a big factor in us wanting to continue what has been an incredible journey.”

Newton, who has been at the club since 2007, added: “We’ve had some great times with successful promotions, player recognition, growing the minis and juniors, and the set up of the academy scheme. The squad and management have done a fantastic job. Now it's time to prepare for next season on and off the field.”

New chairman Mick Birch said: “I’m thrilled that we are able to retain Danny and John. They have been integral in our men’s team making the sustainable step up into National One.”

Canadian international Matt Heaton has become the tenth player to re-sign and is in an unchanged pack today, with another back row man, Ollie Hodgson, on the bench.

After starting the season as skipper, he was injured in the second match and only recently returned to action in the second team, scoring two tries in a 59-17 win against Harrogate.

Jamie Barnard returns at full back with Chris Auld reverting to inside centre as James Fitzpatrick drops to the bench.

With only five games left, Hartpury are 25 points clear after dropping only one point all season and Mowden will be determined to underline their improvement since losing 74-0 to the Gloucester club in November.

Blaydon face the trek to Plymouth, while relegation rivals Hull Ionians have almost as difficult a task away to Ampthill.

The only remaining home game for West Hartlepool is against North One East leaders Pocklington next week, and West will need to win that and the first of three away games, at Morpeth today, if they are to close the seven-point gap.

With Sam Miller still injured, Aaron Myers comes in at No 8, while scrum half Ryan Painter, winger Rob Thorn and lock Joe Rafferty also return.

With relegation looming, Durham City need to end their run of seven defeats by completing a double against Malton and Norton, where they won 22-17 in November.

In Durham and Northumberland One, leaders Northern are at home to Gateshead and Barnard Castle visit Novos looking to end a run of two defeats. Westoe, who are joint second, go to Medicals.

Stockton visit Ryton without back row man Martin Dixon and fly half Reece Cowley, who has damaged ankle ligaments. Charlie Doherty, Liam Healey and Tom Nelson return in the pack, and Steve Bartliff in the threequarters.

*Prop Lewis Boyce, the 20-year-old Middlesbrough product who has played for England Under 20s, has signed for Harlequins next season. He has been playing in the Championship for Yorkshire Carnegie.