John Butler takes a look at Saturday’s hosts, Darlington Mowden Park
COVENTRY undertake one of their longer ventures away from Butts Park this weekend, travelling to the north east and the large Northern Echo Arena, home of Darlington Mowden Park.
Can Coventry at last find some real form and confidence on their travels? It is something which has largely eluded them so far, other than the hard-fought win at Hull Ionians.
Up until a few weeks ago, those aspirations looked promising. If reports are truly to be believed, Darlington MP have been experiencing financial difficulties through the cost of maintaining, and reaping rewards from, such a big arena. Apparently that is proving to be very problematical.
The sale of former Coventry utility back, Caolan Ryan to Rotherham Titans for a reported £5,000 certainly added fuel to the situation. Ryan, at the time, had already notched 86 points in his first season at the club.
A run of six consecutive defeats also suggested all was not right, but in the last fortnight there certainly seems to have been something of a playing turn round, a point Cov need to be very wary of. First came a 48-31 home win over unpredictable Esher, which was followed last weekend by a tight 25-31 defeat at Fylde.
Having finished last season in sixth place, Darlington MP also oversaw a large turn round of players during the summer. One to remain was tight head prop Ignas Darkintis, known to Cov fans having made 21 appearances in a Blue & White jersey in season 2013/14.
Conversely, as part of Rowland Winter’s recruitment, Rob Conquest, Tom Jubb and Ali Bone all made the journey south.
0ne reported departure during the summer was that of fly-half Warren Seals to Yorkshire Carnegie. However, following the departure of Ryan, Seals is now back at the Northern Echo Arena.
Hooker Santiago Socino, dual registered with Newcastle Falcons, is currently top try scorer with five, followed by centre James Fitzpatrick on four.
Darlington MP first arrived in National League One in season 2014/15 and thus far in the four matches played between our clubs, the home side has succeeded each time.
The origins of the club can be traced back to Darlington Grammar School Old Boys. They subsequently became Mowden Park when the club went open, before in more recent times the name of Darlington was added in acknowledgement of their link with the town.
So, Cov will not only be seeking their first win on the ground, they really too will be looking to be far more in control and authoritative than they were at home to Old Albanian.
A positive performance and, hopefully, also a win in advance of the pre-Christmas visit of Birmingham Moseley would be perfect boost.