DARLINGTON MOWDEN PARK bounced back from their first defeat of the season to record a five-point win over Old Elthamians.

Two second-half tries from Man of the Match Shaun McCartney ensured that Mowden maintained their 100 per cent home record in front of an enthusiastic Northern Echo Arena crowd.

The first half was a cagey affair, with both sides struggling to assert their dominance on the game. The visitors were the first team on the board, with hooker Jay Rudand-Thomas scoring from a powerful driving maul inside the first ten minutes.

Referee Matt Turvey punished both sides early for infringements at the lineout and the breakdown, but it was another 15 minutes before either side converted these penalties to points.

After a series of phases on the visitors' line, winger Callum Mackenzie burrowed over smartly to dot down, with Brett Connon's conversion levelling the scores.

Old Elthamians restored their advantage soon after, with winger Dominic Lespierre profiting from a misplaced Mowden pass, but minutes later, Mowden were level once more.

A strong carry from Brett Connon broke the OEs line, before a smart offload released brother Grant who raced away under the posts. Brett converted, and the sides went into half time level at 14-14. 

Mowden started the second period strongly, and went ahead for the first time on 48 minutes, as Shaun McCartney powered over. The winger picked a great line through the OE defence, before carrying two defenders over the line to dot down under the posts. Connon converted, and added a long-range penalty soon after to extend the advantage to ten.

Mowden’s replacements had a positive impact throughout the game, with youngster Jordon Poole impressing on his home debut.

Mowden looked to have the game tied up after 70 minutes as they extended their lead to 15 points. The hosts won a penalty ten metres out, and Simon Uzokwe bulldozed through two defenders to secure the four-try bonus point.

However, OEs set up a nervy final ten straight from the kick-off. Callum Mackenzie was sin-binned for killing the ball, before George Messum burrowed over.

Any nerves were settled soon after, though, as McCartney rounded off an impressive performance with a well-taken solo try. The winger broke clear on halfway, before stepping his way inside and out to dot down in emphatic fashion. Garry Law converted, taking the final score to 36-21.

Mowden fully merited their five-point return, with their lineout proving especially successful. The set-piece was a marked improvement from the narrow win over Caldy. OE’s were unfortunate to come away empty-handed, but Mowden’s defence held firm to prevent the visitors claiming a fourth try.

Mowden travel to Blackheath next week, before a home game against Plymouth on Saturday, October 28. The Plymouth game is followed by the club’s women’s side, the DMP Sharks, facing Loughborough Lightning. Tickets for both games are priced £10 for adults. Under-16s will be admitted free.