JOE CRAGGS is hoping Darlington Mowden Park sign off for 2021 in style when they travel to local National One rivals Leeds Tykes for their final game of the year this weekend.

Mowden were in fine form as their made their final home outing of 2021 at the Darlington Arena on Saturday, seeing off second-placed Cinderford 26-7.

With their defence dominating against a side that are pushing for promotion, Mowden claimed their fifth win of the season, and second rower Craggs is hoping for more of the same in West Yorkshire this weekend.

“It’s important that we build on the performance from the Cinderford game,” said Craggs. “It’s the last game of the year and is against our most local side. It will be good to play against some old faces, and then enjoy our Christmas break.”

Mowden started Saturday’s game on the front foot, with a brace of Warren Seals penalties giving them an early 6-0 lead. Cinderford struck back with a try for Nathan Taylor, with the subsequent conversion giving the visitors a narrow advantage after the first quarter.

However, discipline played a key role in the remainder of the game as further penalties against the away side saw Seals add two more penalties to restore Mowden’s advantage.

Cinderford skipper Harry Hone was also sent to the bin after repeated infringements from his side, and Mowden came close to extending their lead further when Ben Frankland broke down the left wing, only for the centre to knock on just short of the line to leave the score at 12-7 at the break.

The second half saw Mowden dominate possession and territory, with the hosts frustrating the Cinderford attack. The breakthrough came on the hour mark when Freddie Lockwood powered over, before another try for top-scorer Euan McKirdy put the result beyond any doubt.

“I was happy with the overall performance,” said Craggs, who has started every game so far this season. “We looked decent in all areas and it was an impressive team performance, with some good individual performances as well.

“We defended as a team and not individuals, which is what we had spoken about wanting to do. And you can see that when we do that, we are a hard team to break down.”

Saturday’s win drew a line under the heavy 49-22 defeat at Plymouth that had come a weekend earlier, and Craggs was happy with his side’s reaction to their setback in the South-West.

“The Plymouth game was disappointing and bouncing back in the way we did was needed against a strong Cinderford team,” he said. “The performance showed what we are all about and what we should be striving for from now on.”

Meanwhile, Darlington Mowden Park Durham Sharks were also in action on Saturday. The women’s team were beaten 70-0 at Wasps’ Twyford Avenue in the eighth round of this season’s Allianz Premier 15s.