Draw for DMP in First Trip to Silver Leys
Mowden take 3 points home from their encounter with newly-promoted Bishop's Stortford
With the score at 7 - 22 in favour of DMPRFC on 50 minutes, the visitors deservedly had the try bonus point in the bag, but not the game as it transpired, as they squandered a 15-point advantage, allowing Bishop Strortford RFC to claw their way back into the game and have a kick to win it with the last play.
Unluckily for the home side and their audible fans, the conversion attempt from home fly half George Cullen drifted agonisingly wide, leaving he score tied at full time.
To be fair to the visitors, 3-points was perhaps less than they deserved, but the home side certainly deserved their 2-points on the basis of their creditable fightback in the last quarter of the game.
In the early stages of the game, honours were pretty even for the first ten minutes, with perhaps the home side edging possession and opportunities.
However, early indications of what was to follow were signalled by the visitors, as DMPRFC threatened to unleash their strike runners with regularity and the openings inevitably came.
Powerful DMPRFC winger Shaun McCartney, leaving his right wing berth to score in the left corner after some good penetration through the home defence by visitors backs. (0 - 5)
Bishop Strortford replied after ten minutes, when centre Matt Riddington found a gap in a retreating visitors defence to score under the posts (5 - 5) and with the simple conversion from Cullen, the home side took the lead for the first and ultimately the last time. (7 - 5)
The home side were unlucky to concede the next DMPRFC as the were on the attack, however an intercepted pass allowed predetory centre Ben Frankland to cruise in from 60 metres (7 - 10). DMPRFC fly half Warren Seals added the conversion. (7 - 12)
A searing run from DMPRFC full back Grant Connon accounted for the visitors next try, with his pace and power taking him to the try line, (7 - 17) giving them a 10-point lead going into oranges.
The game seemed to be eluding the home side as within nine minutes of the restart, as some incisive running from the DMPRFC, which was the feature of the game, allowed winger Shaun McCartney in for the bonus point try. (7 - 22)
With a powerful bench to come for DMPRFC, all augured well for the visitors, however, when the bench emptied with the additions of hooker Jorda POOLE, prop Jack Payne, flanker Simon Uzokwe and lock Talite Vaioleti, the anticipated impact did not materialise and conversely heralded the home fightback, spurred on by an excited home crowd.
First home No. 8 Stephen Ball crossed the visitors line (12 - 22) and with a conversion (14 - 22) and a penalty from Cullen (16 - 22) to follow, Bishop Strortford were within a converted try of winning the game.
DMPRFC exhibited some brave defence, but with a minute to go, stalwart prop Ralph Appleby was yellow carded for a scrum infringement and from a reset scrum, the home side spun the ball out in the final act, scoring through replacement Nick Hankin (22 - 22) setting up the tense final kick which was unsuccessful.
So honours even at Silver Leys and a return North for DMPRFC, who with their 3-points maintained their second place standing in National League One.
Next week - Ampthill and District RFC at the Northern Echo Arena.