Darlington Mowden Park 41 Bishop's Stortford 35

DARLINGTON MOWDEN PARK came from behind to secure their 12th home win of the season and bolster their chances of finishing in second position in National One.

An action-packed encounter at The Northern Echo Arena ended with Mowden celebrating a 41-35 win over Bishop’s Stortford as they moved six points clear of third-placed Ampthill & District in the table.

Danny Brown’s side made an ideal start after just four minutes with Grant Connon breaking a tackle before off-loading to scrum-half Maia Gibbs, who crossed for his first try of the season.

Garry Law converted to give the home side a 7-0 lead, and added a penalty two minutes later to extend the lead to ten.

However, the next 20 minutes saw the visitors gain the upper hand as they ran in three unanswered tries.

Scrum-half Thomas Banks claimed the first, racing over after some sharp footwork from Stortford centre Sam Winter, and centre Matt Riddington quickly followed as he chipped ahead to cross under the posts.

Stortford’s third try saw Ryan Hutler intercept a pass on his own five-metre line before racing the length of the pitch to score.

George Cullen converted all three tries to leave Mowden trailing 21-10, but Shaun McCartney closed the gap after a well-worked backs move.

Law converted from the touchline to narrow the gap to four points, but it was the visitors who had the final say before the interval as Cullen collected his own chip to score under the posts.

The try handed Stortford a four-try bonus point as well as a 28-17 half-time lead, but the second period started in identical fashion to the first with Gibbs crossing for his second try.

Tight-head prop Ralph Appleby sliced through the Stortford defence before finding Law, who in turn found Gibbs who dived over for his brace. Law converted well, and as he did in the first half, added a penalty minutes later.

That narrowed the visitors’ lead to a point, and Mowden regained the advantage soon after through winger Chris McTurk.

Jack Blakeney-Edwards hoisted a cross-field kick to the right wing, with McTurk gathering under pressure to dot down in the corner.

That gave Mowden their four-try bonus point, with Law adding another touchline conversion to take the lead to six.

Connon put the game to bed five minutes from time, finishing well in the corner, before Bishop’s Stortford ran in a late try to secure a losing bonus point.

Mowden player-coach Garry Law said: “In a high-scoring game, it was good to finish on the right side of the scoreboard.

“It was a mixed performance from our lads in terms of some great attacking stuff along with some average play and defensive errors. To go in 11 points down at half-time, we spoke about cutting these errors out and keeping hold of the ball. We did this and managed to convert chances that we missed in the first half.”

Mowden will continue their fight for second spot when they entertain Esher at The Northern Echo Arena on Saturday.