Darlington made certain of second place in North Division Two East with a 31-13 win at Redcar on Saturday.

With three league games left, one of which, against Alnwick, might not be played because of foot-and-mouth, Darlington's biggest concern is to stay active before the promotion play-off on May 19.

They have the Durham Cup final on April 7, which is likely to be played at Durham City against Blaydon, who entertain Westoe in the other semi-final tomorrow.

The final league game at Bridlington is the following Saturday, then Darlington hope that several of their players will be involved in three County Championship games.

It may be possible to bring the play-off forward once they know who their opponents are, but the likely visitors are Manchester-based Aldwinians and their match at Penrith last week was postponed.

It seems inevitable that foot-and-mouth will complicate matters, and neither Darlington nor Mowden Park will be in action tomorrow.

In a badly-disrupted season, Mowden have now had games postponed because of the fuel crisis, flooding, frost and foot-and-mouth.

At least they can console themselves that they have not had the problems experienced by last Saturday's hosts, Bradford and Bingley.

Their clubhouse remains closed and they have only recently started playing again on their relaid pitch, which was devastated by last autumn's floods, when three feet of water from the River Aire left all kinds of unwelcome deposits.

Bradford and Bingley provided tough opposition and in an excellent game Mowden were happy to preserve their 100pc league record with a 22-10 win.

Centre John Stewart began to show the benefit of a run of games as he capped a good performance with a fine try to stretch the 12-10 interval lead.

After their shaky start as a centre pairing in the cup defeat at Darlington, Stewart and Mark Bedworth showed encouraging signs of gelling as Mowden provided occasional signs that they are getting back to their best.

Mowden applied early pressure but fell behind after 20 minutes when the hosts broke away and the scrum half scored.

After that they rarely escaped their own half as they were pegged back by Mowden's forward drives, in which hooker Tasi Tuhana was prominent.

After one such drive the ball was moved right for Bedworth to score, then flanker Tony Irwin appeared in the backs and ignored a three-man overlap to cut inside.

He was grounded just short, but the referee judged that his momentum had carried him over.

Bradford kicked a penalty to stay in the game, but Stewart's try effectively sealed Mowden's 16th straight win in North Division One.

Mick Kent burst through the middle and passed inside to Stewart, who still had a lot to do from 30 metres out, but beat the full back to touch down.

Kevan Oliphant added his second conversion then kicked a penalty, awarded for punching, to secure victory.

Danny Brown went on as a replacement for prop Ian Keeligan and Will Mawby took over from No 8 Aaron Radaelli, who suffered a calf injury.

Darlington twice fell behind at Redcar, where they lost last season, but had no difficulty in stepping up a gear each time and cruised through the last half hour without addition to the score.

Redcar had tried to have the game postponed on the grounds that they were short of front row players, but in the light of all the other difficulties league officials told them to get on with it.

Their former Great Britain Rugby League international Garry Schofield put Redcar 3-0 ahead with a penalty before Darlington attacked from a scrum under the posts and David Glendenning came into the line to score out wide after 18 minutes.

Glendenning came into the line again from full back and added the conversion after sending flanker Martin Howe under the posts.

With Schofield kicking to the corners, Redcar tried to repeat last season's success from line-out drives. But Darlington are now better able to defend against such tactics and it was a grubber kick in the centre which led to a converted try for Redcar.

Schofield added a penalty to put them back in front at 13-12, but just before half-time Glendenning made a break with lock Sandy Fitzpatrick in support and Craig Lee finished it off for a 17-13 lead.

Shortly after the interval David Andrew, Darlington's captain and scrum half, broke from a line-out and when the ball was recycled Howe, standing off, burst through to score from 40 metres.

Another converted try followed from a free kick near the line. Dan Miller bounced off two tackles and handed on to fellow prop Joe Osleton, who bludgeoned through four opponents to score.

Struggling Northern cried off a second team match with Darlington, whose thirds beat Hartlepool BBOB 28-12.

Playing into the wind they fell 7-0 behind before the forwards overcame spoiling tactics to establish a 14-7 lead at half-time. Tries were scored by Tony Williams (2), Alex Holmes and Brian Alston, who converted them all.

Darlington fourths lost 24-0 to Redcar, while Bishop Auckland's match against Ponteland was a victim of foot-and-mouth restrictions.