MATCH REPORT: Darlington Mowden Park vs Rosslyn Park

DARLINGTON MOWDEN PARK 30-36 ROSSLYN PARK

SATURDAY 16 MARCH 2024

By RHYS STRATTON

The 1st XV ran in 6 tries on Saturday in a thrilling win over Darlington Mowden Park in the Northeast

The hosts opened the scoring early through Callum Pascoe as the scrumhalf cheekily stuck a leg out as the ball was being passed from the back of a Park scrum on the 5m line, before being the quickest to react to the loose ball and touching it down.

The 1st XV responded in the most effective way they know how, squeezing a penalty and heading into the corner before setting up a monstrous driving maul which culminated in an Isaac Miller try.

However, DMP quickly re-established their lead through fly-half Louie Johnson as he finished off a simple but effective set-piece move from a scrum on the Park 22. Johnson followed this up by slotting a penalty in front of posts to make it 17-5.

A huge Archie Hosking carry pulled one back for Park before half time as the blindside powered his way over the line following a succession of pick-and-go’s on the DMP line.

In the second half, the 1st XV took the lead thanks to a lovely set piece move which resulted in Charlie Walker and Luc Smith combining for the score. Off the back of a scrum in the DMP final third, the ball was pulled back to Walker behind a Matt Gordon hard line and the effervescent winger drew in a defender before offloading the ball to Smith who accelerated across the whitewash.

The lead quickly changed hands twice more as a second Johnson penalty was soon followed by a Matt Gordon try. Walker had his hand in creating another try here as, following some powerful carries in midfield, the ball was switched to the blindside and the winger combined with Gordon to send the big inside centre barrelling over the line.

A third Johnson penalty from distance then narrowed the lead to 1, but again Park responded with a try. After buffeting a weary DMP defence with some dynamic carries, Tom Stanton spotted a gap down the blindside, called for the ball and beat his man with ease before dotting down.

Despite the 5-tries-to-2 advantage for the 1st XV at this stage, DMP remained within touching distance and again reduced the lead to just 1-point with less than 10 minutes left to play as a looping miss-pass under a penalty advantage found Nathan Greenwood on the right wing and the substitute touched down.

The comeback was not to be for the hosts, however and Benji Marfo sealed the victory for Park just minutes later, as the lightning-quick winger got on the end of a superb Gordon cross-field kick before skinning his opposite number and diving over.

Referee: Owen Taylor

DARLINGTON MOWDEN PARK

Tries: Pascoe (10’), Johnson (19’), Greenwood (72’)
Conversions: Johnson (10’, 19′, 72’)
Penalties: Johnson (30’, 52’, 62’)
Yellow Cards: Fantini (34’), Kyle-Clay (57’)

Team: Barron, Fletcher, Kyle-Clay, Usher, Scott, Smith, Craggs, Fantini, Pascoe, Johnson, Hadfield, Greenlaw, Frankland, Mackenzie, Greenwood

Replacements: Fraine, Harrison, Vaioleti, Ollivent, Law

ROSSLYN PARK

Tries: Miller (16’), Hosking (35’), Smith (48’), Gordon (58’), Stanton (68’), Marfo (76’)
Conversions: Smith (35’, 48’, 68’)
Penalties: N/A
Yellow Cards: Stevenson (69’)

Team: Pieterse, Miller, Hay, Stevenson, Gillanders, Hosking, Ellis, Bolwell, Fenley, L. Smith, Marfo, Gordon, Stanton, Walker, J. Smith

Replacements: Cameron, Wade, Cilia, Spencer, Glover

AROUND THE LEAGUE

Blackheath 36 – 12 Birmingham Moseley
Chinnor 80 – 10 Bishop’s Stortford
Cinderford 14 – 38 Rams
Leicester Lions 29 – 21 Taunton Titans
Plymouth Albion 18 – 10 Richmond
Sale FC 35 – 24 Sedgley Park

This week in National One saw Rams join Park as the only sides to pick up wins away from home as they turned over Cinderford. Elsewhere, Blackheath, Chinnor, Leicester, Plymouth and Sale all won at home with the league leaders putting up a whopping 80 points against Bishop’s Stortford whilst Blackheath’s victory over Birmingham Moseley sees Park leapfrog the Midlands outfit into 3rd.

Up Next for Park is a home stand against a resurgent Sale side at The Rock. Tickets are on sale here.