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; 70 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.


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 R.F.C.|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,[1] they qualified for the promotion playoff against 2013–14 National League 2 South runners-up, Ampthill.[2] 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.[3]


Mowden are part of the rich fabric of rugbyuUnion 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]

2014–15 National League 1 Table watch · edit · discuss
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points For Points Against Points Difference Try Bonus Losing Bonus Points
1 Ealing Trailfinders (P) 30 27 0 3 1099 518 581 25 3 136
2 Rosslyn Park 30 26 0 4 909 508 401 20 3 127
3 Coventry 30 22 1 7 1011 694 317 16 6 112
4 Fylde 30 16 2 12 844 738 106 18 4 90
5 Hartpury College 30 19 0 11 784 685 99 10 3 89
6 Blackheath 30 16 1 13 758 731 27 16 4 86
7 Richmond 30 14 2 14 837 866 –29 15 5 80
8 Blaydon 30 13 0 17 666 693 –27 13 8 73
9 Darlington Mowden Park 30 13 1 16 782 732 50 14 6 69[n 1]
10 Esher 30 12 1 17 720 738 –18 11 7 68
11 Wharfedale 30 12 1 17 595 801 –206 11 4 65
12 Loughborough Students 30 11 0 19 681 709 –28 12 7 63
13 Cinderford 30 11 0 19 606 686 –80 10 5 59
14 Old Albanian (R) 30 12 1 17 688 771 –83 9 4 58[n 2]
15 Tynedale (R) 30 8 0 22 593 999 –406 6 5 43
16 Macclesfield (R) 30 3 0 27 481 1185 –704 6 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
  1. ^ Darlington Mowden Park deducted 5 points after selecting an unregistered player on 13 September 2014 against Wharfedale.[4]
  2. ^ Old Albanian deducted 5 points after selecting two unregistered players on 31 January 2015 against Fylde[5]
Green background is the promotion place. Pink background are relegation places.
Updated: 25 April, 2015
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[6] 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.

Mens 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[7]
  • 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.[8] 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. ^ "SSE National League 2 North". RFU. 28 April 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "SSE National League 2 South". RFU. 26 April 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Craggs, Andy (3 May 2014). "DMPRFC 30 - Ampthill RFC 28". DMP. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "DMP drop five points". The RUGBYPaper (317). 12 October 2014. p. 43. 
  5. ^ Edwards, Michael (18 March 2015). "Five points deducted from Old Albanian". The Herts Advertiser. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  6. ^ "Location". Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Table". UBS CANDY League. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  8. ^ "Women's Premiership League Table". Rugby Football Union. 22 December 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 

External links[edit]