Elthamians travel to the North East this Saturday for a first ever meeting with Darlington Mowden Park (kick-off 2pm).
Who are you?
On the 27th June 1950, the club received a letter from the Rugby Football Union which read ‘I am pleased to inform you that my Committee has accepted the Darlington Grammar School Old Boys RFC as a member of the Rugby Football Union from 1st September 1950.’
This was the first milestone along the road which started in 1946 when the Old Boys of Darlington Queen Elizabeth Grammar School played some scratch games and began the l946/47 season as a properly constituted club. Thanks to the headmaster they changed at the school and played games on the school field.
In 1970–71, the Old Boys, with growing numbers of players and supporters, decided to buy land and build their own clubhouse and pitches. Yiewsley Drive in Mowden was chosen to be the new official home of the rapidly growing 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. This always had the disadvantage of not being obviously connected to the town of Darlington, so more recently they became Darlington Mowden Park RFC.
In the 1990s and 2000s, the club experienced great success, moving rapidly up the league pyramid until they reached National Three North in which they spent many years.
The club relocated to the Darlington Arena in 2013, a 25,000 seater stadium in the town, known as Northern Echo Arena. 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. They went on to beat Ampthill in the National Two play-off after extra time to secure their place in National One for the first time in 2014/15.
DMP finished 10th in National One with 13 wins from their 30 games.
The club are riding high in National One with five wins from their opening six games to lie in third place. Their only defeat came last weekend in a surprising 33-31 reverse at Old Albanians.
Former Newcastle Falcon Danny Brown is the club’s Director of Rugby and has set his side a top six target in National One this season. He told the Northern Echo before the start of new campaign: “We all agreed that this year, we want to finish in the top six if we can. And then beyond that, we want to be pushing the sides that are going to be challenging for the title, and proving we can compete at that level.”
Well known players to have graced Yiewsley Drive and worn the Mowden shirt include Toby Flood (England and Leicester Tigers) and Craig Newby (New Zealand and Leicester Tigers), Alex Tait (Newcastle Falcons), Phil Dowson (Northampton) and Tim Visser (Harlequins and Scotland).
HOW TO GET THERE
(with thanks to Barry Colegate for supplying the information)
The Northern Echo Arena,
Tel: 01325 350267
Nearest Station: Darlington
Updated 11:40 - 16 Oct 2017 by Jon Edwards
Train Company: Virgin Trains East Coast
Train from Kings Cross to Darlington: 2h 20 mins
Train from Chislehurst to Darlington (via London Bridge and Northern line to Kings Cross): 4 hours
Train from Bromley South to Darlington (via Victoria and Victoria Line to Kings Cross): 3hr 45mins
Darlington Station to the ground: 1.2 miles
Driving distance: 256 miles via M11 and A1(M)