Stalwart Peter Carter bows out of Sunderland in style, with try and a win

Sunderland (red, yellow and black hoops) make a move against North Shields on Saturday. Picture by Tim Richardson
Sunderland (red, yellow and black hoops) make a move against North Shields on Saturday. Picture by Tim Richardson
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Veteran lock Peter Carter captained Sunderland to a 36-12 victory over North Shields in his final first-team appearance of his career.

Veteran lock Peter Carter captained Sunderland to a 36-12 victory over North Shields in his final first-team appearance of his career.

Wrapping up their season in Durham and Northumberland Two, the Ashbrooke side dominated in their match at Hill View, finishing their league campaign in seventh place.

From the kick-off, Sunderland seized the early impetus from a penalty Michael Heffernan kicked for touch and, from the resulting 10-metre catch and drive lineout, the ball was worked back to Carter to open the scoring on two minutes.

Within minutes, from a remarkably similar passage of play, Sunderland hooker Peter Harrison picked out Joe Arrowsmith with a long lineout ball and, as the pack gained momentum in the maul, tight head prop Ryan Buckley worked his way onto the ball and forced the score. The conversion from Harry Connell took the score to 12-0.

The ever-improving second row Anth Dodds fine run of form continued with great work in the lineout and a willingness to carry the ball and tackle his opposite numbers.

That workrate was matched by loose head Andrew Stewart, who made a brilliant line break to get behind Shields from the halfway line and, for a few glorious moments, the try line beckoned, but his pace could not outstrip Shields’ back three.

Sunderland continued to enjoy good phases of possession, but North Shields also attempted to exert pressure, beating tackles out wide on 26 minutes to score.

Eight minutes later, handled well to switch a pass to an inside runner to score under posts from 22 metres out.

Fly-half Marc Edmundson took a knock to his ear, missing part of the first half while he regained some hearing, and prop Ryan Buckley was replaced by James Fraser as he received treatment for hamstring injuries.

After regrouping under the direction of player-coach Martin Watt, Sunderland responded with Brad Fish kicking well to keep The home side going forward and force Shields onto the back foot deep in their half.

Pressured phased play saw benefits within three minutes as the centres worked space exploited by Jack Hope to score, converted by Connell.

Then, from a scrum, Watt linked with Fish, who set winger Scott Hughes away in space. As he was tackled, Hughes popped a nice pass to workhorse Joe Arrowsmith, who skirted the touchline to score in the corner converted by Connell.

With their tails up, Jack Hope thought he had scored a second but the referee had stopped play for an earlier infringement and, in the confusion, Harry Connell reacted from tap penalty to extend the score to 29-12.

With 10 minutes to go, Colt Dave Handley made his first-team debut comining into the pack at second row.

Watt capped off the scoring as a five-metre scrum was marched forward by the Sunderland side for him to touch down, converted by Connell.

With a minute to play, retiring club stalwart Carter was allowed to leave the pitch to receive a rousing round if applause as a sizeable Sunderland crowd showed their appreciation for his efforts in this game and over a long, hard career.

Sunderland player-coach Watt and his backroom team said they were impressed with the structure, control and skills displayed as they look to build for next season.