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Darlington slip doesn't prove too costly
DARLINGTON switched off after securing the four-try bonus point which took them another step nearer to promotion and will need to perform better than this in North One East.
Coach Duncan Scarr acknowledged that and said: "We are already in the process of strengthening the squad for next season. We are looking forward to the challenge."
They will want to see more of former England Counties lock Richard Snowball, who has been injured for much of this season, and Scarr added: "He's very committed and it shouldn't be much of a problem to persuade him to play in the second row."
Snowball has preferred the back row this season, but Darlington are well served in that area with the return of Tom Wilkinson from Mowden Park and Colin Rogers from Australia, plus the emergence of Jim Carver and Matthew Higgins.
Another who has recently returned is prop Paul Shepherd, who played in National Three North before the club's three relegations.
The corner has been turned, but finding a goal-kicker should be a priority if the momentum is to gather force and take them beyond the reach of teams like Medicals.
Although anyone can join the Newcastle-based side, they are 70 per cent students and had several missing because of exams.
But they showed plenty of spirit and a refreshing willingness to keep the ball alive as they dominated the second half.
Darlington made a scrappy start and Medicals missed two penalties into the wind before a kick to the corner by home fly half Henry Carver bounced awkwardly and was scrambled into touch.
Hooker Rob Goddard finished off the resultant catch-and-drive to spark a 22-point spree in ten minutes, which effectively settled the game.
Winger David Mackfall and centre Andy Pugh were at their elusive best in scoring the next two tries, then the ball was moved along the line to the right wing for full back Daniel Carter to touch down.
Darlington dozed off and after kicking a penalty Medicals were denied a try by a forward pass on the stroke of half-time.
They continued on the attack after the break and an excellent move started in his own half by Richard Irving was finished by fellow centre Freddie Holmes.
Darlington briefly roused themselves through a scorching 40-metre break by Pugh, who sent Connor O'Leary over by the posts for Carver to add his second conversion.
Medicals dominated the last 25 minutes and even prop Jon Barclay, who is on the large side of rotund, showed impressive sleight of hand before winger Bertie Shaw scored in the right corner.
Darlington left the impression that they are not as good as last season, when they were pipped for promotion by Gateshead, who appear to be on their way back down. So Scarr is right to plan ahead in plenty of time.
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