DARLINGTON MOWDEN PARK have moved to the top of the National One table after claiming an impressive 35-18 win over Cambridge at The Northern Echo Arena.

But the club’s Mowden Park Sharks women’s team were unable to complete a double as they slipped to a 32-3 defeat to Gloucester-Hartpury in their opening game of the new Premier 15s season.

The men’s side triumphed as a brace of tries from both Warren Seals and Simon Uzokwe, as well as a score for Grant Connon, made it three bonus-point wins from three so far this season.

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Cambridge started brightly and stunned the Arena with a second-minute try from hooker Ean Griffiths via a driving maul.

Mowden replied swiftly with a well-worked score for fly-half Seals, with the South African crossing in the corner and converting his own try. Cambridge were reduced to 14 men shortly after, as captain Mike Ayrton was yellow carded for tackling Matt Dudman in the air, but the visitors still recorded the next points with Jack Green slotting a penalty to restore their lead.

Mowden finished the half with a vital try through full-back Connon, who made the most of some quick thinking from centre Ben Frankland, who played a quick tap-and-go penalty. Seals once again converted to give the home side a half-time lead after an error strewn first 40.

The second period started well for Mowden, with Uzokwe making a big impact from the bench. Uzokwe was on the end of a Jack Payne break, powering over for his second try in two weeks.

Seals converted, and the fly-half extended the lead further shortly after. Frankland intercepted a Cambridge pass in midfield, and the centre set up a try for the second time in the game by finding Seals who raced away under the posts.

Uzokwe bulldozed over for Mowden's fifth try to round off an impressive second-half display from the home side, but the final score went to Cambridge, with Ayrton crossing for a late consolation try.

The Sharks game followed immediately afterwards, and saw Gloucester-Hartpury make a winning start to the season with a bonus-point success.

The Northern Echo:

Mowden’s women’s team started brightly and dominated territory in the early exchanges, but it was the visitors who opened the scoring inside ten minutes through a Cerri Large try. Her central break was converted by Megan Goddard to give Gloucester-Hartpury a 7-0 lead.

A yellow card for the away side halted their momentum, with Hannah Morton narrowing the deficit to four points from the tee. The Sharks continued to enjoy lots of possession against 14, but a Gloucester-Hartpury penalty restored their advantage and a try just before half-time extended their lead.

Outside centre Rachel Lund broke clear to cross for Gloucester-Hartpury, taking the half-time score to 15-3.

The second period started as the first had finished. Some slick handling in the Gloucester-Hartpury midfield released winger Bethan Jones, who sprinted over in the corner.

The home side almost hit straight back through Kat Hobson. The full-back broke from her own half and was eventually hauled down five metres short of the visitors’ line.

Gloucester-Hartpury continued to be on the wrong end of the referee’s whistle, but stretched their lead further through Lund’s second try, converted once again by Goddard.

The Sharks defence held firm until a yellow card for collapsing a driving maul on 65 minutes. Milly Wallace scored from the resulting maul to take the score to 32-3. The Sharks enjoyed some late possession in the Gloucester-Hartpury half but were unable to convert their pressure into points.

There were some bright spots in the performance from the home side though, notably through Kat Hobson and Hannah Morton who looked lively throughout, and England international Heather Kerr who was making her return from the World Cup squad.

Darlington Mowden Park: Connon, Radwan, Frankland, Auld, Mackenzie, Seals, Dudman; Appleby, Wood, Payne, Vaioleti, Brady, Fisher, Duff, Hodgson.

Darlington Mowden Park Sharks: Hobson, Blount, Taylor, Morton, Merrin, Roberts, Sedgeworth; Cockburn, Bloor, Kerr, Bush, Cowan, Lewis, Nash, Brown.