Leeds Tykes were left to rue a lacklustre middle period either side of half time as they succumbed to a 29-20 loss at The Darlington Arena.
Leeds started full of energy, working a good position for Tighe Maxwell-Whiteley to open the scoring with a penalty on nine minutes.
Four minutes later, Mowden Park responded with the first try of the game. Matthew Minogue scored before converting his own score.
On 17 minutes, Kieran Davies took on an ambitious penalty attempt from distance to reduce the arrears, but his shot went wide despite having the legs.
The missed penalty sparked the Tykes into life as Ben Sugars forced his way over from a driving maul to edge the visitors in front.
Their lead was short lived as Minogue added a simple penalty to retake control.
Mowden’s second try came from Morgan Passman who ran a great support line through the middle to score under the posts. The try was awarded despite suspicions of a forward pass in the build-up. The on-form Minogue tagged on the easy conversion to stretch DMP’s half-time lead to 17-8.
The second half started in a similar fashion to how the first had ended. Leeds defended gallantly to repel their opponents however, a poor exit led to Minogue capitalising on a charge down to score in the corner. He expertly added the extras to put the north-east side in complete control.
Leeds made a flurry of changes to try and add some impetus, this made the game disjointed as Darlington sealed their try bonus point just before the hour; Max Davies scoring with the impeccable Minogue adding the extra two.
In the closing stages, Leeds fought hard to salvage some pride. On 64 minutes, they looked to have done so when Kieran Davies rounded off a free-flowing move to score. Jacob Mounsey broke downfield after a last gasp interception, with Tykes players rushing to support. The ball was quickly transferred from right to left before the Welshman touched down.
After that score Leeds’ spirits lifted as they sensed they could take something from the game. Charlie Venables crossed for another try with nine minutes remaining, converted by Maxwell-Whiteley, to give the Tykes genuine belief. However, despite their best efforts, they came up just short of a remarkable fightback.
Speaking on the touchline after the match, Tykes winger Harry Jukes said, “We left ourselves too much to do in the end. We need to stop waiting until the last 20 minutes to play our game. It’s difficult to know exactly what the problem is at the minute, if we knew that it would be fixed up straight away.
“We move forward to Rams at home next week which will be a good test as they’re flying at the moment. We stick together as a group, knowing that things will click into place soon.”
Final score 29 – 20