SUNDERLAND fought hard with an understrength team before succumbing 46-16 to high-flying Jarrow Vikings in their Rugby League Conference North East Premier Division clash.
The depleted Wearsiders were under the cosh from the start, but produced impressive defensive work, with James Pocklington, Raymie Elliott, Aiden Towers and James Tabard putting in tackle after tackle.
Vikings were ahead with two Crawford Matthews tries in the first 13 minutes and led 20-6 at the break, with star man Alex Ruff touching down for Sunderland, while Jon Irving added the conversion.
Jarrow brought on several replacements for the second half, making life tougher for the visitors, who only had 13 men available.
Anthony Bolton, Andy Pearson and Derek Pocklington put in great shifts to keep Sunderland competitive before they bagged two more tries, with centre Ruff and Elliott pouncing to score. Irving added another goal.
H Peterlee Pumas were depleted for their tough National Conference Division Three game against second-top Kells. Leigh Wheatley grabbed the Pumas’ consolation try in a 66-4 defeat to the Whitehaven side. Michael McDougal starred for Peterlee, who host third-top Underbank Rangers today.