THERE will be an opportunity for Darlington Mowden Park to climb closer to the pinnacle of National One when second-placed Plymouth Albion make the gruelling trip north on Saturday.

In arguably the game of the day, which sees Albion take on fourth-place Mowden, the North-East club is hoping for a big crowd at The Northern Echo Arena knowing victory will see them swap places.

Plymouth are an extremely strong and physical unit and are looking to go one better than last year’s runner-up spot finish when they racked up 24 wins and 118 points.

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That is the size of the challenge facing Mowden Park, sitting just a point behind their opponents before this meeting (kick-off 2pm), with the men from Devon defeated just once; although last weekend they could only draw to mid-table Old Elthamians at their Brickfields Recreation Ground home.

Both teams know victory is important in the battle to chase down leaders Coventry, who sit on 39 points and are six ahead of Plymouth whose fly half Dan Mugford has 89 points already.

Mowden, unbeaten at home, know they need to recover from last weekend’s defeat to Blackheath, a result that prevented them from climbing to second and one that saw Blackheath leapfrog them in the standings.

Mowden’s encounter with Plymouth will then be followed at 4pm by Mowden Sharks’ battle with Loughborough Lightning in the Women’s Tyrrell’s Premier 15s.