Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C.

DMPRFC 27 v PENRITH RFC 13

by David Parfitt

Four tries and another five points towards the league total was a very successful outcome against a team who themselves are trying to avoid the drop and who are historically very difficult opponents.

Despite their league position, Penrith RFC have always proved to be tough opposition, with big forwards and a useful set of backs, containing the league’s top try scorer. Added to the fact that they are fighting the dreaded drop, they arrived at Yiewsley Drive determined to take something from the game.

In the early stages of the game, DMPRFC initially struggled to stamp their usual authority, despite dominating possession. The usual pace in the game was there for all to see and Penrith found this difficult to handle, constantly falling foul of the official for persistent infringements, in their attempts to stifle attacks and ease the pressure.

Somewhat against the run of play, Penrith broke the deadlock with an interception try from just outside their own 22 metre line, as an outrageous long pass found a defender, who raced in under the posts for the score (0 – 5). The conversion was easy (0 – 7).

DMPRFC resumed proceedings and Todd HARRISON obliged with a sweetly struck penalty, to get DMPRFC off and running (3 – 7).

Although Penrith had their own top try scorer in their side, DMPRFC’s very own ‘Billy Whiz’ was next to bother the scorers, when a trademark run saw him squeeze in the corner (8 – 7).

With all that has been written about the dreaded spear tackle, it was no surprise when a Penrith back received his marching orders prior to oranges, being yellow carded for the offence.

Penrith pressed forward and were rewarded with a penalty, which was well taken, putting then ahead (10 – 8).

There was still time for DMPRFC to respond, as Danny DIXON galloped down the wing, brushing off would be tacklers for a score in the corner (13 – 10) on the stroke of oranges.

DMPRFC started where they left off prior to the break, when prop Dan MILLER borrowed over for a try (18 – 10) with Todd HARRISON successful with the afters (20 – 10).

Replacement Chris Strong had an early, but unexpected introduction to the game, as lock Pierce Phillips took a blow to the nose and was temporarily sidelined, which at the time was unfortunate, as he had produced up until then, one of his best performances for the team.

DMPRFC continued to seek the valuable bonus point try, but Penrith did have a say in proceedings, when again successful with a penalty (20 – 13). Penrith did try to press for more rewards, but were repelled by a home defence determined not to concede the try.

On the return of Pierce Phillips, it was skipper Junior FAGALILO who tactically made way, allowing the robust Chris Strong to remain. Chris PEACE was replaced by Will GOUGH and Zylon McGaffin entered the fray for his debut, as Todd HARRISON made way.

Powerful winger Shaun McCartney, who had been looking dangerous all game, secured the bonus point, when he cut a line through the visiting defence to score near the posts (25 – 13), allowing an easy conversion to Will GOUGH (27 – 13).

All in all, a satisfactory performance from the league leaders, who travel to Altrincham Kersal next Saturday, in an attempt to get the game played at the third time of asking.

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