Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C.

Darlington Mowden Park is a professional rugby union club, based in Darlington, County Durham, England. They currently compete in National League 1, the third division of the Rugby Football Union domestic league competition pyramid, having achieved promotion on 3 May 2014, after defeating Ampthill in the 2013–14 play-off. The club's former name, Darlington Grammar School Old Boys, was changed when they moved to Yiewsley Drive, which was located in Mowden. They relocated to The Darlington Arena, a 25,000 all-seater stadium in Darlington, purchasing the previously-vacated ground for £2 million; Yiewsley Drive had previously been sold to a housing estate company, and the Arena was previously owned by Darlington Football Club. They played their first game at the arena 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]

Darlington Mowden Park
Darlington rfc logo.png
Full nameDarlington Mowden Park Rugby Football Club
UnionDurham County RFU
Founded1945; 76 years ago (1945)
LocationDarlington, County Durham, England
Ground(s)The Darlington Arena (Capacity: 25,500)
Coach(es)Danny Brown
Mark Luffman
Garry Law
League(s)National League 1
Team kit
Official website


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. A newer cohort of legends include the Connon brothers, Zylon McGaffin, Alan 'Swags' Jones, Chris 'China' Peace, and Josh Waldin - who was later bestowed the honour of best looking man to ever play for the North East club.

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) and Alex Gray (London Irish). 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 1 in the 2014–15 season, the highest league Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C. have reached in their history.[4]]

Club informationEdit


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.

Women's teamEdit

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.[5] 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 to 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]

Development squadsEdit

DMPRFC currently have three senior teams and a sevens team:

  • the first team operates on a professional basis in National League 1
  • the second team play in the North Eastern CANDY League Division 1[6]
  • the third team 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.

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.

Club coloursEdit

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.


DMP play at The Darlington Arena, a 25,000-seat stadium in the town. The stadium is now called the Northern Echo Arena[7] 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.

Current standingsEdit

2019–20 National League 1 Table watch · edit · discuss
Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Losing bonus Points
1 Richmond (C) 25 20 0 5 741 347 394 12 5 97
2 Rosslyn Park 25 18 1 6 728 472 256 12 4 90
3 Rams 25 19 0 6 680 521 159 16 2 89[a]
4 Chinnor 25 16 2 7 631 502 129 13 4 85
5 Blackheath 25 16 1 8 621 511 110 12 4 82
6 Plymouth Albion 25 13 2 10 698 617 81 14 5 75
7 Darlington Mowden Park 25 13 1 11 796 517 279 14 6 74
8 Old Elthamians 25 13 1 11 574 501 73 10 4 68
9 Cambridge 25 12 2 11 571 560 11 11 4 67
10 Cinderford 23 13 0 10 526 452 74 7 6 65
11 Sale FC 25 12 0 13 621 602 19 10 6 64
12 Bishop's Stortford 24 9 2 13 599 595 4 12 9 61
13 Birmingham Moseley 25 8 0 17 505 649 −144 4 8 44
14 Rotherham Titans (R) 25 6 1 18 490 727 −237 7 7 40
15 Canterbury (R) 25 2 0 23 357 824 −467 2 6 16
16 Hull Ionians (R) 24 1 1 22 330 1071 -741 3 2 11
  • 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: 14 March 2020
Source: "National League 1". NCA Rugby.

Current squadEdit

2017–18 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

Chris Wood Hooker   England
Ralph Appleby Prop   England
Ignas Darkintis Prop   Lithuania
Darren Fearn Prop   England
Jack Payne Prop   Australia
Alfie Barron Prop   England
Jake Brady Lock   England
Talite Vaioleti Lock   Tonga
Joe Craggs Lock   England
Dan Preston-Routledge Lock   England
Rory Duff Flanker   England
Dave Fisher Flanker   South Africa
Matt Heaton Flanker   Canada
Franco Lamanna Flanker   Uruguay
Lewis Wilson Flanker   England
Simon Uzokwe Flanker   England
Elijah Joseph Number 8   England
Ollie Hodgson Number 8   England
Player Position Union
Euan McKirdy Scrum-half   Scotland
Maia Gibbs Scrum-half   New Zealand
Warren Seals Fly-half   South Africa
Garry Law Fly-half   Scotland
Chris Auld Centre   Scotland
Ben Frankland Centre   England
Chris McTurk Wing   England
Shaun McCartney Wing   England
Callum Mackenzie Wing   England
Brandon Asher-Wood Wing   South Africa
Adam Radwan Wing   England
Grant Connon Fullback   England
Jack Blakeney-Edwards Fullback   England



  1. ^ Rams deducted 5 points due to an issue with their Payment of Players declaration during the 2018–19 National League 2 South season.[8]


  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. Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  3. ^ "SSE National League 2 South". RFU. 26 April 2014. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  4. ^ Craggs, Andy (3 May 2014). "DMPRFC 30 – Ampthill RFC 28". DMP. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  5. ^ "Women's Premiership League Table". Rugby Football Union. 22 December 2013. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  6. ^ "Table". UBS CANDY League. Archived from the original on 7 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  7. ^ "Location". Darlington Mowden Park R.F.C. Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2013.
  8. ^ "RAMS DEDUCTED 5 POINTS". Rams RFC (Pitchero). 26 February 2020. Retrieved 27 February 2020.

External linksEdit