SUNDERLAND suffered yet more disappointment as they fell 34-28 at relegation-haunted Ashington.
With four losses on the bounce, Sunderland’s season is in danger of going into freefall and with promotion-chasing Alnwick next up, things will not be getting any easier for the Ashbrooke side.
A losing bonus point and a try scoing bonus point wasn’t enough to placate angry coach Fraser Kennedy.
“We got bullied up front and pushed around in the scrum,” he said.
“We did look good when we managed to ship the ball wide, but we made far too many mistakes”.
Two tries from Greg Littlewood and one each from Martin Watt and Tom Townend secured a bonus point, but Sunderland were unable to turn a 21-19 half-time lead into victory.
There was better news for Sunderlands second string who swept aside Ashington’s second-string 59-0.
An early Micheal Heffernan try opened the floodgates, with Tolley Matthews and Brace adding further first-half tries.
With Ashington visibly tiring, Sunderland cut loose in the second half with a further seven touchdowns and only the lack of a goalkicker prevented a much heftier score than the 59-0 final outcome, with only two conversions kicked from 11 attempts.
Heffernan claimed his hat-trick and Evans and Wayman crossed over before Paul Hands chipped in with the try of the day.
Picking up the ball just inside his own half, he beat a couple of defenders before a deft chip over the advancing full-back. Hands caught the ball on the full and raced clear of the covering defenders to score.
Brad Fish bamboozled the Ashington defence with an outrageous sidestep to score Sunderlands 10th try before Danny Hinder finished things off, having tripped over his own feet with nobody from either side within 20 metres of him.
The third team cemented their place at the top of their league with a 31-19 victory over West End.
Sunderland’s points came from Wallace, Swann, Hogg and Grainger. Grainger added four conversions and a penalty as Sunderland picked up a second half bonus point.