As part of the promotion special at the end of the 2014-15 season when we won promotion from the EvoStik First Division North to the EvoStik Premier, Craig Stoddart put together an A to Z of the season.
Here’s the first part of the series.
A is for Amar Purewal. Amar Purewal missed the second half of the season due to injury, but not before scoring 13 goals and reaching a landmark. In his 100th game for the club, the 7-1 win over Harrogate RA in October, Amar netted a hat-trick, putting him on 50 goals since joining in 2012.
B is for Bamber Bridge. The season finale against Bamber Bridge, the play-off final, was Quakers’ third meeting and third win against the Lancashire opposition. Darlington beat them home and away in the league, having also done the double in 2013-14, making it five wins in a row with the results being: 3-0, 1-0, 2-1, 2-1, 2-0.
C is for clean sheets. Quakers kept 17 clean sheets in the league. Although it was two fewer than last season, Darlington’s defence was still the best in the league, conceding only 37 goals, precisely the same as last season.
D is for Danny Markham. The season started with an injury to referee Danny Markham leading to the opening game of the campaign being abandoned. He recovered and took charge of the March 21 encounter here with Prescot Cables.
E is for easy. The fourth game of the season saw Darlington enjoy an easy victory over nine-man Kendal Town due to the opposition having two players sent off inside the first 15 minutes. Quakers went on to score seven thanks to goals by Liam Hatch, Terry Galbraith (2), David Dowson, Graeme Armstrong, Leon Scott and Nathan Fisher.
F is for fundraising. March saw fans respond magnificently to a fundraising scheme to help fund the club’s return to the town at Blackwell Meadows. The sale of five-year season tickets raised £244,444, enough to fund upgrades to Darlington RFC’s Blackwell Meadows to meet the minimum category C ground grade for next season. A total of 287 ticket packages were sold. The club also received donations and equity injections.
G is for Graeme Armstrong. The striker joined just after the end of last season from Whitby Town for whom he’d been a regular scorer and he continued his goal-getting ways with Quakers. He netted 26 times in all including one in each of the play-off games, and he also scored winning goals in big league games against Spennymoor Town and Northwich Victoria. None of his goals were penalties.
H is for heading home. In April the club got the green light to return to the town after a three-year exile as planning permission was granted for a groundshare between Quakers and Darlington Rugby Club. Members of Darlington Borough Council’s planning applications committee gave the go-ahead, much to the delight and relief of all concerned.