SUNDERLAND Flames are still searching for their first win in the Women’s National Challenge North 1 after a 20-5 defeat away to Chester Devas.
The match started tightly, with Flames managing to keep the ball in hand more and competing well at the breakdown against a Chester side who had beaten the Wearsiders’ previous opponents, Liverpool, by more than 30 points.
The Flames were very close to taking the lead, only for a try-saving tackle to stop Becky Robson in her tracks.
Finally, the first points of the game were put on the board, with the home side edging ahead after 25 hard-fought minutes, the only score of the half.
However, Chester went over again early in the second half, while some controversial refereeing decisions in open play threatened to fray a few tempers on Flames’ side.
A loss of concentration allowed a third Chester try as their prop went over after an unchallenged run down the wing.
Flames regained some composure and their efforts were rewarded as the ball made its way to centre Lorraine Johnson, who found a gap to sprint in for her debut try.
Chester soon hit back with another try to regain their 15-point lead.
Sunderland had regained their focus though and they continued to press for another score. Revitalised scrums and much-improved line-outs ensured they kept their share of the ball, but, unfortunately, the finish was missing.
Their best chance fell to second row Kim Fraser, who looked certain to score, only to be held up by the Devas’ defence.
The Wearsiders now have a four-week break from league fixtures to work in training and prepare for the trip to Kendal on November 17.