SUNDERLAND Broom firsts face a crucial test in their battle for survival in the North League Division Two East on Saturday.
Andy Gayner’s men crashed 5-1 away to Leeds seconds last week, a third successive defeat for the Wearsiders, who are in third bottom spot.
Broom head to bottom club Leeds Adel Carnegie on Saturday determined to end their long wait for a victory – they have not won since beating Carnegie 2-0 at Sandhill View in mid-November.
Broom are three points better off than Carnegie, and only one ahead of second-bottom Huddersfield Dragons, although they do have a game in hand.
Sunderland seconds were sunk 9-2 at table-topping Jesmond Parish Church in the North East League’s Intermediate 1 last week and face another daunting task away to third-top Newcastle University thirds on Sunday (3pm).
Eric Matters and Neil Sparrowhawk grabbed two excellent breakaway goals for the Wearsiders, while Sparrowhawk also had a penalty flick well saved.
Glen Olsen impressed on his comeback after four months out, making a series of fine saves, while Ed Winship and Glen Pearson worked well in attack.
Meanwhile, Sunderland thirds have been withdrawn from Intermediate 2, along with bottom club Stockton fifths, because of problems fielding teams all season.
H Durham University consolidated third place in the England Hockey League’s Conference North when they cruised to a 6-0 win over Warwickshire outfit Khalsa, with Alex Czerniewski and Josh Barnes both striking twice – in either half.
Matthew Murphy’s penalty stroke and a Tony Wilson strike, in a storming five-minute spell which brought three goals, completed the scoring.
The students host eighth-placed Wakefield at Maiden Castle on Sunday (1.30pm).