ZYLON McGAFFIN is not the kind of name you forget in a hurry – especially after the South African scrum half scored a quick-fire hat-trick of tries in 13 minutes as Darlington Mowden Park deservedly took the honours in Caldy’s tussle between two free flowing sides.
Both sides tried to play expansive rugby with kicking at a premium and it was the finish power of Darlington that decided the game.
Caldy threw away a half time advantage as the north eastern outfit took the spoils 27-21.
Caldy’s head coach Stuart Turner said: “Two injuries without question changed the game with Derek Salisbury and Andrew Soutar leaving the pitch early and we simply didn’t look after the ball at all in the second half.
“We had a great first half, everything seemed to be going well.
“In the second half, three or four instances changed the game.
“It is great to have Harry Broadbent back in the team, we have missed his pace and athleticism.
“Darlington stuck at it well throughout the first half despite our pressure and were always in the game and played some good rugby in the second half with their scrum half benefiting from their side being on the front foot.”
Caldy had the better of the first half exchanges and scored a try after only four minutes when hooker Christian Jones forced his way over the line. Vasey converted to make it 7-0.
Grant Connon hit back for Darlington with a penalty before Ben Eaves found room out wide to touch down for Caldy’s second try with only 17 minutes on the clock.
Connon kicked another penalty for the visitors on 19 minutes before two penalties from the boot of Vasey on 36 minutes and the stroke of half time saw Caldy go in at the break 18-6 to the good.
But after the restart, Darlington took the game to Caldy.
Soutar left the field with a hip injury on 43 minutes, which seemed to affect Caldy’s organisation.
Connon kicked a penalty for Darlington on 46 minutes which was cancelled out by one from the boot of Vasey on 49 minutes.
Then McGaffin took over the scoring. All three of the tries were gifted to the talented nine as Caldy made uncharacteristic errors in their own 22 and he capitalised in style.
The scrum half was undoubtedly man of the match although the Darlington open side flanker Wishnowsky ran him close with a tremendous performance with numerous turnovers and several bone crunching tackles.