GARRY LAW claims the quality of Darlington Mowden Park’s defending has been the key to their rise up the National One table.

Mowden rose to joint fourth in the standings as a 37-17 victory over Old Elthamians secured their first home success of the season at the weekend.

Law’s side ran in four tries as they claimed a bonus-point win, but the head coach was most impressed by his players’ defensive efforts, which restricted their opponents to just two successful scores.

“There were some outstanding individual performances, not just in attack, but in defence also,” said the Mowden head coach. “This is currently probably the strongest part to our game, and something the squad have really bought in to and are driving from within.

“Across the board, we are stressing if we can do the small things really well, the rest will come, which is just what Saturday turned out to be.

“It was a very good squad performance in what turned into very difficult conditions. We had a game plan going into the match, and to the lads’ credit, they stuck to it for near enough the full 80 minutes and got the rewards at the end.”

Mowden trailed by ten points in the early stages, but tries from Max Davies, Ralph Appleby (2) and Euan McKirdy ensured they ultimately ran out comfortable winners.

Appleby’s two tries came after he came off the replacements’ bench, underlining the depth of talent within the Mowden squad.

With their opening home victory under their belt, Law’s players will be looking for more success on the road this weekend when they travel to a newly-promoted Canterbury side that are still searching for their first win of the season.

“Now that we have got the monkey off our back with the first home win, we are not looking to change any mindset and try to get ourselves on a little roll of wins,” said Law.

Mowden’s women’s side, Darlington Mowden Park Sharks, were also celebrating at the weekend as tries from Beth Blacklock, Lisa Thomson, Evie Tonkin and Lois Brown secured a 26-5 win at Richmond.