DUDLEY K'FORD 10
DARLINGTON MOWDEN PARK 53
National Division 2 North – Saturday 18th January
FOLLOWING the heavy reversals of the previous couple of weeks, as DK welcome the visit of league leaders Darlington Mowden Park the DK faithful had no reason to doubt that another thumping was on the cards. But was it?
Dudley Kingswinford: 15 Ben Brown; 14 James Jefferson, 13 Liam Marshall; 12 Harry Bayliss; 11 Ryan Smitheman;
10 Gareth Bown; 9 Connah Jones; 1 Al Francis; 2 Matt Humphries; 3 Dan Shakespeare; 4 Ed \Parry ©; 5 Joe Francis;
6 Danny Hawkins; 7 Luke Greenwoood; 8 Pete Knight: Reps: 16 Richard Hickman; 17 Matt Squire; 18; Jon Tideswell; 19 Joel Barrttt; 20 Kiaran Pinches.
The side selected showed only a few tactical changes from that which lost to Luctonians last week, notably Gareth Bown moved to outside half and Liam Marshall to outside centre. As Kieran Pinches moved to the bench & Ryan Smitheman to the wing.
High flying Darlington MP have high hopes of bringing National League One rugby to their impressive, newly acquired stadium next season. So this was considered a must win game for them. They are a club whose star is on a completely different course to DK's. They have a large well-resourced squad comprising the very best young players in the region and they had every reason to believe that this game would be a formality.
It began in dull, drizzly conditions made difficult by a gusting wind. There was no reason to suggest as the game began that this was to be any different from the previous couple of games. DK coughed up possession to DMP deep in their half and prop Appleby opened the scoring out wide after three minutes. A try converted by No. 10 Connon. Mistakes in defence were again the reason why a second try quickly followed from Mitchell after five minutes, again converted by Connon.
DK forced their way into the game from the kick-off and following sustained possession and the retreating DMP defence, committed three successive penalties allowing Bown an easy opportunity to put the home side on the board. This did not halt DMP's domination of the game and at this point they took the game away from DK with three efficiently taken tries all scored by the impressive No. 11 McCarthy. A try by inside centre Peace followed. Two of these were converted by Connon.
At this point DK gained and kept more possession of the ball and drove hard into DMP's 22 where after a series of penalties they kicked close to the DMP five metre line. Winning the line out DK peeled off the back, feeding Matt Humphries who barged over the opposition line for a well-deserved try, converted by Bown.
The second half began in the same vein as the first ended with DMP on the front foot as they scored another unconverted try by the prolific McCarthy. As the visitors continued to dominate their right wing crossed to touch down for a try only to be hauled back by a watchful ref's assistant who flagged for dangerous play.
The ensuing yellow card and penalty allowed DK to clear their lines and they gradually gained a foothold in the game. For much of the second half DMP were pinned in their 22 and whilst the home side did not add their score they caused the rampant DMP endless problems for the remainder of the match. The visitors managed only two more tries from scrum half Smith.
The result and score may have been expected – DMP quite correctly are amongst the favourites for promotion. They have a very competitive young squad and they are well drilled and organised both in defence and attack. Whilst they comprehensively won today's game, at times they were held by an extremely gritty DK performance.
Many of the DMP committee and supporters commented that our boys have much to be proud of as they refused to lie down, and never let their visitors settle with a stirring second half performance. At no time did they give up.
Next weekend sees the team make the long journey to Hull, a team themselves who are battling for league survival. Let's hope that the whole team are lifted by this and are able to replicate today's performance. This promises to be a really competitive game – the team deserve our support from those who are prepared to make the long journey north.
Next Saturday, 25th January, at Hull RFC – 2.15pm kick off.