Darlington will be hoping for a home tie when the fourth round draw for the Powergen National Trophy is made today after winning 23-8 at New Brighton.

They entertain the same side in National Three North next Saturday, when another win would see them riding high in the table.

Darlington have rarely made progress in this event because of their habit of starting a season poorly, and after arriving later than intended they were slow out of the blocks on Saturday.

"We gave them a rollicking at half-time and they played well after that," said player-coach Craig Lee, who sat out the match with an arm injury.

"The strong wind meant it wasn't a day for goal-kicking and we didn't pass the ball out much, but Lee Davies did well enough at centre and Phil Dawson played well at open side."

There was also a good performance from full back Apenai Kororua, who was strong in attack and defence.

There were two tries for Rob Stewart, the first from his usual position of scrum half and the second after he switched to the wing late in the game.

Winger Adam Kibirige beat two men to score the opening try, but Darlington struggled against the wind and led only 5-3 until Stewart scored just before half-time after Alan Brown tackled his opposing No 8 and turned the ball over.

Flanker Del Lewis scored soon after the interval, driving over from seven metres after a series of pick-and-drives.

Kororua broke up the middle to give Stewart the space to beat the full back for Darlington's fourth try.

Ben Snook added a penalty and New Brighton managed a late try, which stemmed from a Darlington mistake.

Tynedale and Westoe are also in today's draw, the Corbridge club coming away from Nuneaton with an excellent 19-14 win, despite trailing 8-0 after playing with the wind.

Ed Holmes scored straight after the break, then winger Hamish Smales beat four men to touch down and centre Ben Duncan added a third, with Will Massey converting two.

Westoe won 33-12 at Penrith after leading 27-0 at half-time through tries by centre Graeme Haswell and back row men Jamie Rennie and Graeme Smith. Fly half Dave Haswell converted all the tries and landed two penalties in each half.

Middlesbrough opened their account in North One with a 36-21 home win against Birkenhead Park after producing their best rugby of the season to lead 25-0.

Fly half Simon Moore dropped a goal after two minutes, then good, fluent rugby produced tries for winger Tom Bivens, full back Neil Baggett and centre Dave Richardson.

The visitors were awarded a penalty try when Boro were adjudged to have pulled a maul down, making it 25-7 at half-time.

The lead was stretched by a superb try from a move starting in Boro's own 22, with Baggett making most of the running before the forwards drove on and scrum half Peter Wright nipped over on the blind side. Moore added two penalties either side of two tries by the opposition.

Durham City suffered their first defeat in North Two East when they overhauled a 13-0 half-time deficit at Morpeth, only to give the lead away and lose 20-17.

The hosts went ahead with a first minute penalty by Mattie Jinks and their three tries all stemmed from City losing the ball in midfield.

Two were scored by the right winger, the crucial one coming when City led 14-13 and he picked up the loose ball and ran in from 50 metres.

Turning round with the wind behind them, City scored straight after half-time through a good attack from a line-out. Full back Ralph Smith came into the line and sent winger James Walker under the posts.

Despite struggling in the scrums, City were otherwise well on top and from a ruck 40 metres out Smith again came into the line and smuggled the ball to winger Chris Mattison, who ran round behind the posts for Walker to convert again.

But after Morpeth regained the lead, City's only response was a penalty by Walker with 15 minutes left.

Hartlepool Rovers moved into second place when Andy Foreman scored four of the nine tries and his brother, Gareth, three in a 61-3 home win against Alnwick.

Stockton, like Alnwick, are without a point after three games following a 14-3 defeat away to leaders Sheffield, while West Hartlepool broke their duck with a 15-7 home win against Sandal.

Sandal led 7-0 after ten minutes, but West then dominated while struggling to turn possession into points, with all kicks at goal failing.

Two tries by centre Peter Hodgson put them ahead, his second coming just before half-time when he burst through from 20 metres.

The excellent clinching try came when scrum half Paul Williamson broke from a ruck and lock Paul Rudd galloped 50 metres to score.

Horden maintained their 100 per cent record in Durham and Northumberland One with a 56-13 home win against bottom club Acklam.

Redcar, relegated along with Horden, got off the mark when an injury time drop goal by Kieran McMahon gave them an 18-17 win at home to Ryton.

Redcar had led 12-0 through tries by Greg Unthank and Paul Barker.