Darlington Mowden Park 42 Blackheath 27

Photos courtesy of Andy Hall.

An improved performance from Blackheath, and one which, for an hour, kept them within range of claiming reward for their long trip to County Durham.

However, failure to grasp opportunities that might have put the Club in control of this contest, only succeeded in releasing pressure on the opposition, resulting in defeat and an increasingly precarious position in National League One.

‘We dominated large periods, but weren’t clinical enough in scoring, while when other teams are having their moments, they’re coming away with points’ said Director of Rugby James Shanahan.

‘We probably should have been ten or more points up at half-time, but instead were playing catch-up.’

‘I knew DMP would have a strong period in the match, and that came around 65-75 minutes which took the game away.’

‘We lost too many lineouts in the red zone, didn’t take our chances in the red zone, while they took all theirs, and consequently we came unstuck.’

‘So, yes. Better than the last two home games, but not good enough, and next week is a huge game now at Cinderford.’

Blackheath did take an early lead with a successful penalty strike for Matt Dalrymple, but the visitors were soon on the back-foot, as DMP centre Harry Yates crashed through tackles to score under the posts.

Yates was on hand five minutes later, making the inside pass to wing Obi Ene, as DMP cut down the right flank, scrum-half Callum Pascoe adding the conversion for a 14-3 lead.

However, Billy Harding’s burst away from a maul saw Markus Burcham take play towards the left corner, before Jack Daly flung a pass out wide for Alex Noot coming up from full-back to score, and with Dalrymple adding a decent conversion, and exchanging penalties with Pascoe, the visitors were within range with the score 17-13 at the break.

Pascoe added another three points to his side’s advantage after the restart, but Blackheath’s best period came in the third quarter.

Despite DMP still successfully disrupting their lineout ball, the Club kept up the pressure in the opposition twenty-two, and as the goal-line was probed, Tom Stradwick drove over for the try which, with Dalrymple’s conversion, levelled the scores with 29 minutes remaining.

A scrum penalty could have given Blackheath the lead, but the ball slipped wide, while Pascoe successfully nudged the hosts ahead with three points, and as back-row Yaree Fantini smashed through the midfield, Pascoe’s box-kick was met perfectly by Ene who had the pace to score.

With the momentum shifted firmly in the north-easterners’ favour, Yates crossed out wide, and then completed his hat-trick with a move off a close-range scrum.

Blackheath rallied in the closing stages to send Matt Armstrong over, but with less than a minute remaining, the visitors couldn’t find that all-important fourth try.

Blackheath’s match against Cinderford at Dockham Road next Saturday is a 2.30 pm kick-off.

Darlington Mowden Park

Tries: Yates 10, 71, 78, Ene 16, 64
Conv: Pascoe 10, 16, 71, 78
Pens: Pascoe 36, 42, 62


Tries: Noot 20, Stradwick 51, Armstrong 79
Conv: Dalrymple 20, 51, 79
Pens: Dalrymple 8, 32

Attendance: 555

Blackheath Team

15 . Alex Noot
14 . Matt Armstrong
13 . Leo Fielding
12 . Markus Burcham
11 . Shae Tucker
10 . Matt Dalrymple
9 . Jack Daly

1 . Archie Holland
2 . Billy Harding
3 . Andrew Boye
4 . Tom Everard
5 . Ed Taylor (Capt)
6 . Tom Stradwick
7 . Paul Schroter
8 . Tom Baldwin

16 . Ollie Walliker
17 . Will Davis
18 . Stevie Clark-Leonard
19 . George Daly
20 . Jake Lloyd

Graham Cox