Vital bonus point for Old Albanian despite big win for Darlington Mowden Park

Ross Hamilton got Old Albanian's first try at Darlington Mowden Park. Picture: KEVIN LINES

Ross Hamilton got Old Albanian's first try at Darlington Mowden Park. Picture: KEVIN LINES - Credit: Archant

Darlington Mowden Park showed the gulf between the top and bottom of National One with a convincing 52-24 win over Old Albanian.

Both sides came into the game second in the table, although for Park it was second top and for Albanian it was second from bottom.

Albanian did go into the game at the Northern Echo Arena with hope after beating DMP earlier in the season at Woollams, one of just three defeats suffered by the north-east club so far this year.

But five tries in the first half plus three more in the second were enough to banish those memories.

Albanian did rally in the second half, however, and when Joe Bridger, Morgan Thompson and Matthew Deane went over, adding to Ross Hamilton’s seventh-minute score in the first period, the St Albans club had a vital bonus point.

While the defeat may have shown the difference between the opposite ends of the table, Albanian were partly responsible for their own downfall.

Far too often they were brushed aside with relative ease by a Mowden side determined to run the ball wide at every opportunity.

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The hosts opened the score inside two minutes, converting a simple two-on-one, and although Hamilton went over shortly after in a good response by OAs, the blue tide kept coming.

Albanian were having to work extremely hard in defence and to clear their lines when there were turnovers.

But they were punished and punished severely when the hosts had the ball.

The last try of the half was a case in point. Having lost the ball, Albanian had two chances to stop Joe Craggs, but twice he bounced through a challenge before slipping it inside to Matt Dudman for an easy score.

It seemed to be a similar story in the second half when Brett Connon got his second try, a quick break and two kicks forward putting him over, but suddenly Albanian found a bit of rhythm and two tries in five minutes, while not bringing them back into the game, certainly lifted their spirits.

Bridger got the first with an interception 30 metres out and Thompson finished a good set of phase play when he gratefully received Tom Bednall’s inside pass.

Park responded but for the visitors there was only one thing on their mind, the bonus point.

And after five minutes right at the very end of banging on the door, Deane eventually found a gap and spun over.

It could be a vital point in their battle to avoid the drop but if they can cut out the mistakes around the tackle area they could well pick up a few more in the coming months.

Darlington MP: Barron, Wood, Sarkintis, Brady, Vaioleti, Fisher, Craggs, Hodgson, Dudman, B.Connon, Mackenzie, Seals, Frankland, McTurk, G.Connon

Replacements: Fearn, Preston-Routledge, Duff, McCartney, Cowell

Tries: Dudman 2, 40 Mackenzie 13, 64 B.Connon 18, 46, Barron 34, Frankland 72

Conversions: Seals 2, 13, 34, 40, 46, 72

Old Albanian: Reed, Post, Smith, Hamilton, T.Bond, Hartwell, Billows, Lunnon, Thompson, Bednall, Bridger, White, Deane, Aremu, Davies

Replacements: Walliker, M.Bond, Edwards-Bailey, Parsons, Evans

Tries: Hamilton 7, Bridger 51, Thompson 56, Deane 80

Conversions: Bednall 51, 56

HT: Darlington Mowden Park 33 Old Albanian 5

Referee: Finlay Brown