GARRY LAW feels Darlington Mowden Park’s new-look squad is progressing nicely – and expects them to become even stronger in the future.

Mowden were involved in an entertaining game with Rosslyn Park at the Darlington Arena at the weekend, dominating the early stages before eventually succumbing to a 36-30 defeat.

As has been the case for much of this season, Mowden fielded an extremely young side, with the average age of Saturday’s starting XV coming in at just 23.

The current campaign has seen the club hand debuts to a number of youngsters, including Oscar Usher, Charlie Smith and Nathan Greenwood, who all appeared in the first team before their 20th birthdays. Following the retirements of key players Dave Fisher and Chris McTurk, a new wave of younger players has come through this season, making the step up to National One level.

“This season we have largely had a new squad of players,” said Mowden director of rugby Law. “That did take a little time to get up to speed, but we have shown with some outstanding results that we are more than capable and a match for any team in the league.”

While proud of the overall progression of his team, Law was nevertheless disappointed to have finished on the wrong end of Saturday’s result.

“It was disappointing not to get the victory against Rosslyn,” he said. “We were in near full control and playing the majority of the rugby in the first half so it was a shame to allow Rosslyn to score two tries on their two genuine chances. This is ultimately what has cost us in the end.”

Mowden led 17-12 at the break, with first-half tries from Callum Pascoe and Louie Johnson. Rosslyn Park scored either side of the break, and two yellow cards for DMP were punished by the visitors who scored tries at key moments to take the game away from the hosts.

“The contact area was a mess for most of the game and again an area that cost us badly,” said Law. “There were a few changes due to injuries etc, which will probably be the same this coming week, but this aside we have a focus to finish the season as strong as we can.”

Saturday saw Joe Craggs make his 200th Mowden appearance, having been introduced to National One at a young age when making his club debut back in 2015. The 27 year-old has gone on to become an integral part of the first XV squad, and Law was full of praise for his second row.

“It’s a great achievement from still a relatively young lad,” he said. “Joe's availability and accountability has been absolutely incredible over his 200 games. I'm very glad to have been involved in every one of these games, he plays with his heart on his sleeve and is a credit to the club as a whole. I'm sure there's a good chance he could double this milestone in years to come.”

Mowden now head into the final four games of the National One season sitting in sixth position in the table. Saturday sees them make the long trip to Taunton Titans, a side currently sat bottom of the table and in desperate need of a win to maintain their place in the third tier next season.

“We will be looking to push on with the next run of games,” said Law. “We start with Taunton away, a place we haven’t won before.”