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MATCH PREVIEW – Mowden Park v Old Elthamians

ByDave Stopher

Oct 26, 2019 #Sports

Darlington Mowden Park will be looking for back to back wins on Saturday when they welcome Old Elthamians to the Arena in Round 7 of the National One season. A win for either side could see them climb as high as third in the table in what is an important game so early in the season.

Saturday’s visitors come into the game on the back of an impressive 46-3 home win over Birmingham Moseley. Their previous wins had come over Plymouth Albion, Canterbury and Hull Ionians, with their only defeats being at the hands of Rosslyn Park and Sale FC. Their 4-2 record sees them sitting in 5th position in the league, 3 places and a single point ahead of DMP.

Mowden meanwhile be going in search of their first home win of the season, despite winning all of their fixtures on the road. Asked about their indifferent opening to the campaign, Mowden 1st XV captain Ollie Hodgson commented: “The season has been a mixed bag so far and we need to get ourselves on track. Last Saturday was a better all-round performance but we still lacked in some areas that we will work on as a group.”

Previous contests between the two sides have largely been high scoring affairs. Last season saw a total of 120 points scored across the two fixtures, including 18 tries. Mowden’s trip to College Meadow ended in a 31-22 win for OEs, while Mowden won the return leg on home soil in one of their highlights of the season. Mowden ran in 6 tries to run out 41-26 winners at the Arena in their first game of 2019.

Looking ahead to the return to home soil, Hodgson added: “This Saturday will be a challenge for us in the fact that we need to win at home but we are also up against a good opposition who have seemed to hit some form. The emotion of the boys after full time against Rotherham, it seems to me the boys are excited for Saturday afternoon to come around already. As a squad we feel we owe our supporters a home win and a big performance back at the Arena this weekend.”

Mowden will also be buoyed by the arrival of new singing James Douglas. The New Zealand born hooker joins from Australian side ACT Brumbies and will provide much needed depth in the front row after recent injuries to Brendan Asomua-Goodman and David Nelson. The 26 year-old is in line to make his DMP debut in Saturday’s game, having been named amongst the replacements after arriving on Monday.

The addition of Douglas is one of a handful of changes to the squad who beat Rotherham last week. A reshuffled front row sees Alfie Barron and Joe Duffy return to start alongside Ignas Darkintis, while the rest of the pack remains unchanged. The only change in the backs sees a first start for summer signing Joe Lane, who replaces Callum Irvine at fullback. New signing Douglas is joined on the bench by familiar names in Appleby, Vaioleti, Craggs and McTurk.

15 Joe LANE

14 Brandon ASHER-WOOD

13 Ollie WALKER

12 Ben DIXON

11 Callum MACKENZIE

10 Warren SEALS

9 Euan McKIRDY

1 Alfie BARRON

2 Joe DUFFY

3 Ignas DARKINTIS

4 Dave FISHER

5 Max DAVIES

6 Dan GRANGE

7 George STOKES

8 Ollie HODGSON (C)

16 James DOUGLAS

17 Ralph APPLEBY

18 Talite VAIOLETI

19 Joe CRAGGS

20 Chris McTURK

Tickets for Saturday’s game are available on the day priced at £10 for adults, £8 for club members and FREE for U16s.

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