THE Under-14s knew they would be in for a tough match against Northern when they travelled to McCracken Park for an away match on Sunday.

The Mowden team played well and some good defence work kept Northern at bay for the first 20 minutes but eventually Northern scored the first try though were unable to convert.

The second half started with Northern leading 5-0, but the Mowden team refused to give up and despite having a player sin binned for a controversial stamping offence. Mowden continued to defend against a very strong Northern side before conceding a second try just before the final whistle.

Still not prepared to lie down, Mowden continued fighting till the final whistle. The final score of 10-0 did not show the dedication and commitment the team gave.

Mowden now look forward to a return match against Northern at home, but hope that the result will be in there favour.


Darlington Under-13s toured with their whole squad to Edinburgh and the borders of Scotland last weekend.

A 10am kick-off at Knox Academy in Haddington some 17 miles East of Edinburgh meant the club had an early start. Breakfast at 7am and all on the bus and ready to go by 8.30pm. Our host Grant McKelvie was there to meet the club. Grant is an ex-professional who played for Edinburgh Reivers and had two caps as hooker for Scotland. He is presently the rugby development officer for Edinburgh and East Lothian but he also went to school at Knox Academy.

Having 32 players meant that Darlington played two 25 minute halves changing the entire team at the mid-point. Unfortunately a strong and determined Knox Academy walked all over us for the first 30 minutes before we wised up a little and dug deep pressing the home side further back into their own half until eventually we got the ball down for our only try of the game.

Back at the school hall we were fed and watered, courtesy of some of the parents and we appreciated the hospitality we got from a very friendly school.

On Sunday morning the team headed south to Peebles. It was difficult for the coaches to decide how best to play this match but Peebles helped by allowing Darlington to play three 20 minute sessions. The first 20 twenty was a little one-sided with some very strong Peebles runners penetrating the defence. The second 20 however, produced some rugby of real character strength and skill. Up against a Peebles side, that were on average six months older than Darlington, the tourers produced some passionate rugby. Whilst they lost the period to a single try Peebles knew they were in a game. Pressure around the scrums and rucks forced error upon error from the home side. Despite all the effort Darlington couldn't manage to cross the line as they battled against a very strong wind. The third 20 continued as the second but with the wind advantage Darlington forced Peebles back and scored two tries. All that were there knew who scored but never had rugby been played as a team game more than this match and it would be wrong to single out the try scorers. It was a team performance in every way, each Darlington player knew they had to dig as deep as they ever had before to restore real pride after the previous day's performance. And restore that pride they did, from the forwards that out scrummaged a much larger opposition through the half backs and backs that had to suffer some crunching tackles, they all performed admirably.