A HUGELY disappointing day for Sunderland saw them outclassed and out-thought as they fell 34-9 to table-toppers Darlington at Ashbrooke.
However, Sunderland actually started the game well, controlling the pace of the game and taking a deserved early lead through the boot of Greg Littlewood.
However, Sunderland’s efforts were undone in a five-minute spell, which saw the visitors score twice just before half-time, making the score 3-12.
Sunderland’s early confidence seemed to be shattered after not taking control of having the wind behind them in the first half and they found themselves even further adrift when Darlington scored early in the second half.
This rattled the home side and they responded instantly with another Littlewood penalty after good spell of possession.
It gave Sunderland a brief confidence lift as they found themselves back in Darlington’s half straight from kick-off with another penalty chance, which Littlewood converted to bring the score to 9-17.
These would be the last points of the day for Sunderland, but Darlington were not finished proving themselves as worthy table-toppers yet.
They took advantage of the home side’s lack of concentration and organisation from a penalty in their 22 to score an easy try.
Sunderland’s heads dropped after conceding their fourth try, which led to Darlington scoring a further two easy tries, one being converted, to see out the remainder of the game in control.
It was a bad day all round for the Sunderland’s senior teams as both Sunderland II and III also lost.
Sunderland II lost out 35-45 to a determined Horden side in a high-scoring game and Sunderland III lost to Wallsend II 21-7.