SUNDERLAND’S woes continued on Saturday with a massively disappointing 17-10 defeat to Ryton.
On the balance of play it was a well-deserved victory for Ryton, with their big pack dominating possession and two well-worked second--half tries sealing their win.
With the advantage of both the slope and a strong wind to their backs, Sunderland were hoping to get off to a good start but struggled to cope with the Ryton pack, who competed and disrupted at every breakdown and never let Sunderland settle.
Despite Ryton’s domination of possession, neither side really threatened their opponents’ line in the first half with a penalty each the only score of the half.
Ryton were undoubtedly the happier side at half-time, having the benefit of the elements in the second half.
The second half started more evenly than the first but poor handling by both back lines meant that once again chances were few and far between. Ryton had one penalty drift wide of the posts before their backline finally took advantage of their forwards’ good work.
Poor Sunderland tackling aided their cause as their big centre strolled under the posts untouched.
Sunderland came back into the game and put together their best spell of play midway through the first half.
Jake Belfield did manage to cross the line for Sunderland but was adjudged to have been held up.
From the resulting scrum, Tom Townend was tackled by three Ryton defenders. Sunderland set up a maul but somehow Townend managed to free himself on the Ryton side of the maul and race the 10 metres to the Ryton line.
The game continued in a stop-start fashion with both sides struggling to create meaningful chances but good tactical kicking from Ryton meant most of the game was played in the Sunderland half.
Ryton had a player sin-binned for persistent fouling with 15 minutes to go but Sunderland were unable to take advantage.
Despite being down to 14 men, Ryton made their territorial advantage pay when once again their backline got their act together and some strong running, combined with slick handling, opened up Sunderlands defence. The conversion made the score 17-10.
Sunderland’s numerical advantage was short-lived when Jake Belfield was forced from the field injured and, having made all their substitutions, Sunderland had to play out the game with 14 men.
H Sunderland seconds and thirds both faced sides from Blyth, who were boosted by the lack of a first team fixture this week.
The second team put in a tremendous performance to run out 31-5 winners.
Sunderland’s scores came through tries from Wordsworth, Cogdon, Brace, Mackie and Padget and three Mick Walton conversions.
The third team found the going a little tougher, losing out 27-15.
All Sunderland’s points came through the boot of John Grainger.