DARLINGTON MOWDEN PARK make the long journey to Blackheath this afternoon as their testing start to the National One season continues.

Danny Brown’s side suffered their first defeat of the campaign at Old Elthamians last weekend, and will anticipate another difficult afternoon at Blackheath’s Well Hall ground.

Last season, Mowden suffered a 39-24 defeat in the corresponding fixture, although a losing bonus point made the long trip home slightly more bearable.

Brown will be targeting a more positive result this afternoon, and having been hit by a succession of injury problems in the opening weeks of the season, the director of rugby is finally beginning to see his absentee list shrink.

Hooker Jordan Poole returns to the starting XV today, joining Ralph Appleby and Ignas Darkintis in the front row. The rest of the pack is unchanged, with Jake Brady continuing to captain the side at lock.

In the backline, there are returns for Brandon Asher-Wood and Garry Law, who are handed starts at 11 and 12 respectively. Matt Dudman has also shaken off his injury issues to return to the replacements’ bench.