Otley 5 Darlington Mowden Park 31

High-flying Darlington soon recognised where their advantage lay as they made their weight advantage pay to get the better of Otley.

The hosts opened well but Park capitalised on their pack strength, making progress slowly but surely via the rolling maul.

It was the precursor to most of their tries, setting up the opportunities for their strong-running and extremely well-organised back line.

The home defence was severely tested as Darling-ton got into their stride.

On 14 minutes, a quick throw-in saw them break away to press the Otley line, No 6 Ollie Hodgson being driven over for fly half Gavin Painter to convert.

Five minutes later he was to the fore again when Otley were steam-rollered.

Park, with scrum half Andrew Smith quick with free-kicks and forever prompting, were buzzing but faced a defence who chased and tackled with enthusiasm.

Otley were contributing with some elegant football but, inevitably it appeared, they lost possession when looking dangerous.

From a scrum, Darlington swept upfield for Smith to slip over at the posts and, just before the break, a penalty five metres out set them up for a drive. No 8 Guy Van Den Dries grounded, with Painter converting both tries.

Eleven minutes after the break it was Smith again who touched down when Otley, at a scrum on their line, were put under pressure.

The ball spurted out under the scrum half’s nose but Painter missed the easy conversion.

As they were on top, Darlington began to expand their game but could make no further headway.

Instead it was Otley getting some reward in the final minute when sub winger Nazir Karim was put away to race 40 metres to the line.