By Claire Cameron
MANAGER Geoff Roberts was delighted with his side’s hard fought 23-21 victory over third-placed Darlington Mowden Park on Saturday.
The Tigers have now won five out of their last six matches in National League Division Two North and are hot on the heels of the top three. Roberts said: “I’m chuffed with the performance. I felt it was again a week of everyone doing a good job – a true team performance. “We did have a bit of an injury scare in the build up to the game when we feared Chris Parrott had broken a bone in his foot, but luckily he was okay and got through the match with an injection – which was a real bonus for us.
“It was only in the dying five or six minutes – when we had a player in the sin bin – that overlaps were created, so they were able to score a couple of late tries. “That did lead to it being a bit of a nail-biter at the end, but before that we had a commanding lead.”
The Tigers put in a good performance in poor conditions as they dominated much of the game against DMP, who at the start of play were nine points ahead of them in the league. From the start Park put pressure on the Tigers defence but, as the half wore on, it was the Tigers pack which began to dominate and attack the visiting defence at every opportunity. It was only a matter of time before the Tigers took the lead, and it was Steve Collins who punished Park’s ill-discipline by knocking over two penalties in the 11th and 22nd minutes. DMP’s Grant Connon replied with two penalties, to level the scores, but it was Matt Riley’s drop goal on 28 minutes which separated the sides at half-time. The Tigers had the bit between their teeth in the second period as Matt Lamprey powered over for the first try of the game in the 43rd minute after some good forward play. Steve Collins added the conversion to give the hosts a healthy lead. DMP reduced the arrears as Connon kicked another three points but the Tigers were still very much in the ascendancy. The pressure paid off with hooker Johnny Matthews going over for the Tigers’ second try on the hour, with Collins adding the extras. In the final seven minutes, the visitors took the initiative as Collins was sin-binned. Cameron Mitchell went over for Darlington’s first try in the 73rd minute but Connon missed the conversion. Replacement Andy Smith added a second just five minutes later, with Connon this time adding the extras to take the score to 23-21 and set up a nail-biting finish.
On Saturday, Sedgley Park are away at Hull, kick off 3pm.