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
Founded 1945; 72 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
2015–16 6th
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 1000, 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]

2016–17 National League 1 Table watch · edit · discuss
Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Losing bonus Points
1 Hartpury College 22 22 0 0 1076 347 729 21 0 109
2 Plymouth Albion 22 16 0 6 613 418 195 12 5 81
3 Ampthill 22 16 0 6 589 436 153 11 2 77
4 Birmingham Moseley 21 16 0 5 613 453 160 10 2 76
5 Rosslyn Park 22 13 1 8 642 461 181 9 5 68
6 Blackheath 22 13 1 8 543 449 94 11 2 67
7 Coventry 21 12 1 8 638 524 114 10 2 62
8 Loughborough Students 22 9 1 12 683 706 -23 12 4 54
9 Darlington Mowden Park 22 10 1 11 438 551 -113 5 4 51
10 Old Albanian 22 9 0 13 532 615 -83 10 5 51
11 Cambridge 22 7 1 14 555 700 -145 13 4 47
12 Fylde 22 8 0 14 523 743 -220 11 3 46
13 Esher 22 7 0 15 547 637 -90 10 5 43
14 Blaydon 21 5 1 15 440 752 -312 7 4 33
15 Hull Ionians 21 5 0 16 413 685 -272 4 7 31
16 Macclesfield 21 2 1 18 400 759 -359 6 3 19
  • Points system: 4 points for a win; 2 points for a draw; 1 point if a team loses by seven points or less (losing bonus); 1 point if the team scores four or more tries in a match (try bonus)
  • 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: 4 February 2017
Source: "National League 1". NCA Rugby. 

Current squad[edit]

2016-17 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
Santi Socino (D/R) Hooker Argentina Argentina
Simon Uzokwe Hooker England England
Ralph Appleby Prop England England
Ignas Darkintis Prop Lithuania Lithuania
Darren Fearn Prop England England
Gareth Nesbit Prop England England
Andy Wilson Lock England England
Myles Tucker Lock South Africa South Africa
Joe Craggs Flanker England England
Rory Duff Flanker England England
Ollie Hodgson Flanker England England
Liam Riley Flanker England England
Talite Vaioleti Number 8 Tonga Tonga
Player Position Union
Dominic Shaw Scrum-half England England
Grant Connon Fly-half Ireland Ireland
Garry Law Fly-half Scotland Scotland
Chris Auld Centre Scotland Scotland
Ben Frankland Wing England England
Pete Homan Wing England England
Tom Kill Wing England England
Callum McKenzie Wing England England
Jamie Barnard Fullback England England

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.

The New Zealand All Blacks used 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. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "Table". UBS CANDY League. Archived from the original on 7 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  7. ^ "Women's Premiership League Table". Rugby Football Union. 22 December 2013. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 

External links[edit]