Mowden Bounce Back With Bonus Point Win
5 tries for DMP secure a 4th straight home win at the Northern Echo Arena
In the very first game between the two clubs, Old Elthalmians RFC arrived at the Northern Echo Arena in their first venture into National League One, having won 4 out of the 6 games played and enjoying a great start to their campaign.
With 21 points in the bag, they had hoped to extend a run of four consecutive wins against Fylde RFC (A, 7 - 43), Loughborough Students RFC (H, 36 - 20), Cambridge RFC (A, 28 - 29) and the previous week against Caldy RFC (23 - 21).
Instead, the newcomers found DMPRFC in no mood to assist and ready to continue the 100% home record.
With a few changes from the narrow defeat down at Old Albanian RFC, DMPRFC took the field in front of a decent crowd, buoyed by the return of lock Joe Craggs and full back Grant Connon after injury, the latter having the opportunity to play a game with his younger brother Brett for the first time in their careers.
The first half was even at 14 – 14, but DMPRFC turned on the power after oranges to register another 5 point haul, adding to their already impressive total of points and retaining third place to date.
Early pressure from the home side failed to be cemented with any points and it was the visitors who opened the scoring after seven minutes and from a catch and drive lineout, Old Elthamians hooker Jay Rudland-Thomas dotted the ball down (0 - 5), with fly half White converting (0 - 7).
DMPRFC struggled to keep on the right side of the official early doors, conceding trivial penalties, whilst the visitors misdemeanours appeared to go unpunished.
When DMPRFC did mount a determined attack, the visitors were persistently penalised for a combination of offside and entering the ruck from the side. On one such occasion, visiting stalwart lock Adam Preocanin had to leave the field with a head injury and although replaced proved to be a big miss to Old Elthamians RFC, as was the loss of Carlisle in the pre-match warm up.
However, the [ressure eventually told and after a series of set scrums, home wing Callum Mackenzie borrowed over for the home sides first try (5 - 7), fly half Brett Connon converting (7 - 7) after twenty one minutes had elapsed.
The visitors were awarded their next try after some confusion on the field, where the home side stopped playing as the majority of Old Elthamians RFC ventured offside at a DMPRFC scrum. However, the official waved play on and prolific scorer and wing Dominic Lespierre gathered to run in unopposed, under the posts (7 - 12), White converting (7 - 14) to edge the visitors ahead.
DMPRFC drew level prior to the interval, when a perfect pass from his brother Brett was gathered by Grant Connon who dissected the visitors defence for a score under the posts (12 - 14), converted by Brett (14 - 14).
With the closeness of the game prior to oranges, it was important that DMPRFC took control of the game straight away on resumption of play and this they did with aplomb, scoring 3 tries in the process, with Old Elthalmians RFC only able to add a converted try.
Not long after the break, DMPRFC mounted a series of 'pick and drive' charges at the visitors line, culminating in further persistent infringements, but this time their influential No. 8 Harry Ledger was sent to 'the cooler' for a 10-minute sabbatical.
DMPRFC took full advantage of the numbers deficit and upped a level, with home winger Shaun McCartney cutting a fine line against the Old Elthamians defence, powering his way over with two tacklers in tow (19 - 14), Brett Connon converting (21 - 14) putting the home side into a lead that they never looked like relinquishing from then on.
Brett Connon added a penalty (24 - 14) as some desperate defence from the visitors turned into further infringements.
Home flanker Simon Uzokwe, who had been a force during the game then showed his power and persistency by forcing the ball over the line (29 - 14),securing the try bonus point.
It was the home teams turn to be reduced in numbers when wing Mackenzie was sin binned for preventing release of the ball after the tackle and as the entered the fourth quarter, Old Elthamians added a try via flanker Hamish Barton (29 - 19), converted by White (29 - 21).
However, not to be outdone and cementing their win, McCARTNEY scored his second try making a determined surge down his wing to carry over the last two defenders for the score (34 - 21). The conversion was from Garry Law (36 - 21), which was the last scoring of the game.
In the end Old Elthamians were well beaten, but competed all game and certainly look comfortable at this level.