DARLINGTON MOWDEN PARK continued their perfect start to the National One season despite a late Caldy comeback at The Northern Echo Arena.

After an entertaining 32-26 win that contained eight tries, Mowden sit one point clear of second-placed Coventry after five games. 

Mowden scored the first try of Saturday’s game through winger Shaun McCartney, who crossed in the corner, with the conversion coming courtesy of the returning Garry Law.

Loading article content

Caldy responded through full-back Mark Dixon who was lively all game, with Ben Jones’ conversion levelling the scores.

The hosts dominated the remainder of the first half, and Callum Mackenzie restored Mowden's lead in the 27th minute.

Mowden’s back three combined again to produce a second of the game for McCartney, as the home side looked to pull away from their newly-promoted opponents. A Law penalty took the half time score to 22-7, and Mowden looked to be on the verge of another five-point win.

The second period started with Caldy on the front foot, and winger Nick Royle reduced the arrears to ten points with a well-taken try.

Law continued his impressive day off the tee with a penalty shortly after, before Caldy struck again through half-time replacement Ransford Otutaha.

Law crossed from Mowden’s fourth try and the bonus point, with his own conversion restoring his side’s lead to 13 points.

A second try for Caldy's Dixon set up a grandstand finish, before a yellow card for the visitors on 70 minutes halted their momentum. Mowden’s defence held firm in a nervy final ten minutes to secure a fifth straight bonus-point win.

Mowden director of rugby Danny Brown said: “We're really pleased that we started well, it’s something we have looked at over the last couple of weeks, how we begin games.

“Some of the attacking play was the best we have seen from the lads this season. The second half got a bit scrappy and credit to Caldy, they have some very dangerous players and caused us problems. Our defence wasn't great, but I think that was due to the way Caldy played and they liked to open it up from anywhere.

“It's been a great September by the whole squad and they deserve the plaudits. We now look forward to what is a tough October.”

In the women’s game that followed, Darlington Mowden Park Sharks went down 32-28 to Wasps despite a spirited second-half comeback.

The Sharks trailed 29-0 at the interval after two tries from England prop Rochelle Clark and further scores from Wasps skipper Katie Adler, Abby Dow and Heather Millar-Mills.

Mowden looked to their own Red Roses in the second half, with Tamara Taylor and Katy McLean coming off the bench to make an instant impact.

The comeback started on 43 minutes with a well-worked try from winger Claudia Macdonald, and the tide continued to turn as Kat Hobson crossed in the corner.

A yellow card for the visitors set up a nervy final ten minutes, with a Georgina Roberts try narrowing Wasps’ lead to just eight points.

Wasps appeared to put the game to bed on 77 minutes through a Hannah Edwards penalty, but a late try from Hobson secured two bonus points for the Sharks.