Darlington Mowden Park 19 Blackheath 14

The Northern Echo Arena is never an easy place to conquer, but Blackheath have seldom had a better opportunity to claim a rare victory at this venue.

Indeed, after an indifferent start in this high-tempo contest, the visitors found themselves in the driving seat at the interval, having created a seven-point advantage in the final ten minutes of the opening period.

However, mistakes and ill-discipline after the re-start wrecked their chances and allowed Park a much-needed win to a ease their troubles in the lower reaches of National League One.

Park had the better of the first quarter, despite suffering an early yellow card for a deliberate knock-on, and it was while depleted that they opened their account, as Garry Law sent his centre partner Paul Jarvis gliding over from scrum ball for a converted score.

It wasn’t until the half-hour mark that Blackheath made any serious impression in Park territory, but when they did it counted. As they pressed close to the goal-line, the hosts infringed under their posts, Ollie Claxton was impeded as he took the quick-tap, and the penalty try awarded.

A few minutes later Park turned over Blackheath possession only to then let the ball fall loose, and as Daley Aremu made ground, and James Newey bamboozled the hosts’ defence with a fine mazy run through the midfield, Dom McGeekie was on hand to cross for a 14-7 half-time lead to the visitors.

The loss of Tom Stradwick to a knee injury just prior to the break, however, would prove a major blow as with their experienced second-row and pack leader went much of their cohesion and composure.

Incursions into opposition territory faltered with the concession of infringements, and kicks out on the full enabled Park to apply huge pressure. Stand-in captain, Markus Burcham, produced a wonderful try-saving tackle in the corner, and bodies got low to hold up ball across the try-line.

However, something had to eventually give and on 67 minutes, fly-half Warren Seals’ excellent touch was rewarded as open-side Joe Craggs crashed over on the short side from the lineout.

Blackheath still held a two-point advantage, but discipline was beginning to crumble. As first one man then another headed to the sin-bin, lineout ball went infield and, as the rain cascaded down from the night sky, centre Ollie Walker chipped and re-gathered before stepping inside to cross, putting Park ahead with eight minutes remaining.

Blackheath will look for better next Saturday as they travel to Cambridge. Kick-off at Grantchester Road is at 2 pm.

Darlington Mowden Park

Tries: Jarvis 14, Craggs 67, Walker 72
Conv: Seals 14, Law 72


Tries: Penalty 30, McGeekie 39
Conv: Hennessey 39

Attendance: 671

Blackheath Team

15 . Marcus Kershaw
14 . Jake Lloyd
13 . James Newey
12 . Markus Burcham (Capt)
11 . Daley Aremu
10 . Jake Hennessey
9 . Ollie Claxton

1 . Tom Williams
2 . Nathan Morris
3 . Matt Collins
4 . Dom McGeekie
5 . Tom Stradwick
6 . Harry Dugmore
7 . Freddie Owen
8 . Harry Holland

16 . Ollie Walliker
17 . Andrew Boye
18 . Jamie Ure
19 . Jack Daly
20 . George Spencer

Graham Cox