Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C.

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Darlington Mowden Park
Darlington rfc logo.png
Full name Darlington Mowden Park Rugby Football Club
Union Rugby Football Union
Nickname(s) Park, DMP, Mowden
Founded 1945; 71 years ago (1945)
Location Darlington, England
Ground(s) Northern Echo Arena (Capacity: 25,000)
Chairman England M.Keeligan
Coach(es) England J.Newton
League(s) National League 1
2014–15 9th
Team kit
Official website

Darlington Mowden Park RFC are a rugby union club in Darlington, County Durham. They currently play in National League 1, the third level of the RFU's league pyramid. They achieved promotion on 3 May 2014 after beating Ampthill in a promotion play-off, the game went to extra time after finishing 25 – 25 in normal time. Promotion was confirmed when Zylon McGaffin on his final appearance for the club scored a try in the 3rd-minute of added time. Mowden Park's former name, Darlington Grammar School Old Boys, was changed when they moved to Yiewsley Drive in Mowden. DMP relocated to the Darlington Arena, a 25,000 seat stadium in the town, known as Northern Echo Arena for sponsorship reasons, along with 17 acres of adjacent land and an option on a further 20 acres. They played their first game at the new stadium on 2 February 2013, in front of a crowd of over 1,000, comprehensively defeating Bromsgrove 62 -7 in a National League 2 North league game.[1]


The club emerged in the post World War 2 period and was constituted in 1950 as Darlington Grammar School Old Boys.

In 1970–71 the Old Boys, with growing numbers of players and supporters, decided to buy land and build their own clubhouse and pitches. Mowden was chosen to be the new official home of the rapidly growing Old Boys club. It was deemed appropriate, not least because the club was no longer an "Old Boys Club", to change its name to Mowden Park RFC.

In the 1990s and 2000s Mowden Park (DMPRFC) experienced great success.[citation needed] Mowden rapidly went through the league system until they reached National Three North (now National league Two North), in which they spent many years. Mowden also had several years of excellent Tetley Bitter Cup runs. The Tetley Bitter Cup, the old LV Cup, included every English Rugby Union club. In 2000, while in the old North East 1, Mowden reached the 5th round (quarter-finals) of the Tetley Bitter cup after beating the prestigious London club Rosslyn Park in the 4th round in front of a home crowd of around 2,000+. In the fifth round they faced premiership opponents in the form of Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop. The following years also saw further adventures in the National Cup. In 2001 Mowden once again defied league position and reached the 4th round of cup, only to narrowly lose to Birmingham & Solihull who, at the time, were in Allied-Dunbar Premiership 2. In 2002 they, once again, managed to get to the 4th round, only to narrowly lose at home to Manchester, who were in the old Allied Dunbar Premiership 2. Mowden 'legends' of this era included the likes of Tuihana, Keeligan, Brown, Lowe, Irwin, Mckinnon, Sinclair, Oliphant, Mitchell, Sanderson, Kent and Mattison.

Players in the upper echelons of the game to have graced Yiewlsey Drive and worn the Mowden Shirt, if but for a few games, include Toby Flood (England) and Craig Newby (New Zealand All Blacks) (both Leicester Tigers RFC), Alex Tait (Newcastle Falcons RFC), Peter Browne (Harlequins RFC), Phil Dowson (Northampton Saints RFC), Tim Visser (Edinburgh RFC + Scotland)and Richard Arnold (Newcastle Falcons RFC). Epi Taione (Newcastle, Sale Sharks and Racing Metro) put in some social appearances for the club. The club has also had mini and juniors go on to play in the Guinness Premiership - Ross Batty (Bath Rugby), Tom Catterick (Newcastle Falcons, Alex Gray (London Irish) and Rory Duff (Leeds Carnegie). These lads also have represented England[citation needed] and will hopefully go on to gain full caps.

They played in National League 2 North in the 2013–14 season. Having finished as runners-up,[2] they qualified for the promotion playoff against 2013–14 National League 2 South runners-up, Ampthill.[3] The game was played on 3 May 2014 at the Northern Echo Area. The game finished 25–25 after normal time, so went to two 10-minute periods of extra time. The game was won with a try scored in the 3rd minute of added on time. As a result, they will play in National League One in the 2014–15 season, the highest league Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C. have reached in their history.[4]


Mowden are part of the rich fabric of rugby union in the North East. Rugby union is the North East's second sport, behind the round-ball code, with cricket also popular. Mowden have enjoyed many good local rivalries over the years. The club's traditional rivals are Darlington RFC. Another traditional rivalry was with Darlington Railway Athletic RUFC, however Darlington RA RUFC finished operations in the 1990s.

Current standings[edit]

2015–16 National League 1 Table watch · edit · discuss
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Losing bonus Points
1 Richmond 21 17 1 3 632 375 257 11 2 83
2 Hartpury College 21 16 0 5 659 322 337 10 3 77
3 Blackheath 20 16 1 3 521 315 206 5 2 73
4 Plymouth Albion 21 14 0 7 482 430 52 7 3 66
5 Esher 21 13 0 8 580 400 180 11 3 66
6 Ampthill 20 12 1 7 466 410 56 9 4 63
7 Darlington Mowden Park 20 13 0 7 527 440 87 8 2 62
8 Rosslyn Park 21 12 0 9 458 401 57 5 2 55
9 Fylde 20 8 1 11 526 514 12 9 7 50
10 Coventry 21 9 1 11 506 461 45 7 3 48
11 Hull Ionians 21 6 0 15 436 568 –132 6 8 38
12 Loughborough Students 20 6 0 14 418 479 –61 5 6 35
13 Wharfedale 21 5 1 15 414 610 –196 7 4 33
14 Blaydon 19 5 0 14 270 503 –233 3 5 28
15 Henley Hawks 20 5 1 14 307 630 –323 3 1 26
16 Cinderford 21 3 1 17 322 666 –344 4 3 21
  • If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background is the promotion place. Pink background are relegation places.
Updated: 6 February 2016
Source: "National League 1". NCA Rugby. 

Club honours[edit]


DMP play at The Darlington Arena, a 25,000 seat stadium in the town. The stadium is now called the Northern Echo Arena[5] as it sponsored by the Northern Echo news and media company.

In October 2015 they will host the New Zealand All Blacks who will use the stadium as a base during the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Club colours[edit]

Home: The traditional colours are a royal blue and white hoops shirt, royal blue shorts and royal blue socks with white.

Away: Pink and blue hooped shirt with white shorts and pink and blue socks.

Men's senior teams[edit]

DMPRFC currently have three senior teams and a sevens team:

  • the 1st XV operates on a semi-professional basis in National League 1
  • the Development XV play in the North Eastern CANDY League Division 1[6]
  • the 3rd XV also play in a local North Eastern league[citation needed]
  • NCMP7 (Newitts Centurians Mowden Park 7s). During the off season, Mowden enter several 7s competitions, having teamed up with Newitts Centurions, with 1st XV players and guests normally making up the teams.

Women seniors[edit]

Darlington Mowden Park Sharks are a successful women's team. They currently, 2013–14 season, play in the RFU Women's top-level Premiership against clubs such as Bristol, Wasps, Saracens and Richmond.[7] Several of the women are internationally capped such as Tamara Taylor and Katy McLean for England, and Lindsay Wheeler for Scotland. McLean was named captain of the England Elite squad on 18 January 2011, succeeding Catherine Spencer after she stepped down. DMP Sharks play on a Sunday and attract a good crowd due the women playing at the highest of club levels. They recently finished 3rd in the 2009/10 RFUW Premiership after promotion earlier that year.[citation needed]

Juniors and minis[edit]

DMPRFC provide rugby union at every level. DMPRFC have teams at every level from under-7s to under-12s. Boys and girls play together in these teams.


DMPRFC have a boys team at every level from under-13s to under-18s. Many of the boys go on to represent county and above at their respective age groups.[citation needed] Once junior level has finished most will move on to the colts or one of the senior teams.


DMPRFC also provides separate junior girls teams once mini rugby has finished. The under-18s and under-15s are very successful[citation needed] teams within the North. There is also the prospect of playing in the Women's Premiership with the Darlington Mowden Park Sharks.


  1. ^ "Darlington Mowden Park make dream start at Northern Echo Arena". The Northern Echo. 2 February 2013. 
  2. ^ "SSE National League 2 North". RFU. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "SSE National League 2 South". RFU. 26 April 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Craggs, Andy (3 May 2014). "DMPRFC 30 - Ampthill RFC 28". DMP. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Location". Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Table". UBS CANDY League. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Women's Premiership League Table". Rugby Football Union. 22 December 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 

External links[edit]