Numbers up for Ashbrooke

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SUNDERLAND, having beaten Ryton in the first round of the County Cup, have been brought down to earth with a bump with subsequent league defeats at the hands of Gosforth and Gateshead.

Manager Fraser Kennedy has had a difficult time selecting players for the first two matches in Durham and Northumberland Division One, with numbers depleted due to other commitments.

With players now returning to action, the Ashbrooke club will be fielding three senior men’s teams.

The squad is currently 95 per cent homegrown talent and proves Sunderland’s player pathway is working, with eight colt players playing for the thirds last week, and 13 of the first team coming through the junior and mini section.

Sunderland also received some good news this week, with Richard Arrowsmith making his way back to the club.

The Wearsiders visit Hollow Drift to take on old rivals Durham City on Saturday.

Sunderland I (away to Durham City, meet 1.15pm, KO 3pm): T Hirst, P Harrison, A Ross, J Belfield, A Wordsworth, J Arrowsmith, J Drummond, M Watt, M Brace, T Townend, P Hands, I Dobson, S Bellon, D Arkley, B Fish. Reps: C Geehan, Henry McNally, J Hanson.

Second and third mixed team (home to Gosforth, meet 1.45pm, KO 3pm): A Turnbull, G Edmundson, A Stewart, C Fish, P Carter, A Reay, Gerard, A Wayman, N Foster, J Grainger, D Abraham, L Dow, C Wallace, M Jones, D Ditchburn. Reps: J.Smith, C O’Donovan, B Green, George, J Cowans, A Clinton, T Harrison, P Bremner, G Jackson.

H The women and girls side of the Ashbrooke club is growing in numbers, with more interest shown since England Women’s recent World Cup win.

Sunderland Flames, the club’s senior women, got their season off to a win against Nottinghamshire club Ashfield, winning 28-0.

Helen Jones, Laura Envy, Kirsty Paterson and Becky Robson all touched down, with fly-half Ency kicking all four conversions.

The Sparks, the club’s youngsters, kicked off their season with a game against Horden Girls last night, going down 15-5 despite a brave performance.

The Sparks now head into the county trials at Ashbrooke on Sunday, with the county selectors looking to select Under-18 and Under-15 county teams.

After the trials, the Flames take on Halifax Ladies in their first home league game (2.30pm kick-off).