Sunderland hope to bloom after Rose loss

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SUNDERLAND firsts will look to get back to winning ways in their first home match of 2012 on Saturday.

Beaten 3-1 at high-flying Lincoln Roses in the North League Division Two East last weekend, Matt Dench’s side return to their home base at the Raich Carter Centre, with Huddersfield Dragons the visitors (1.45pm).

Sunderland seconds remain at the bottom of the North East League’s Premier Division, going down 10-1 at home to third-placed Richmond firsts.

It gets no easier this Saturday, away to second-placed Marton Furness firsts

Sunderland thirds succumbed 13-0 at ruthless Marton Furness seconds in Intermediate 2.

The bottom club were shown no mercy by the league leaders, though keeper Danny Greenwood maintained his outstanding form with a series of top-class saves to prevent an even bigger drubbing.

Mark Moore worked hard on his return, while Niall Plunkett and Robin Wilson did well with foraging runs down the right flank.

Club stalwart Stewart Douglas said: “Despite clearly struggling in this league, Sunderland thirds really need to improve their basic skills by learning from these games by working far harder for each other off the ball, passing much simpler balls and becoming physically stronger and lower in the tackle.”

The thirds visit Billingham on Saturday (2pm).

H Durham University return to England Hockey League action after their extensive winter break on Saturday.

Conference North leaders Brooklands MU visit Maiden Castle (noon), with the fourth-placed students six points adrift of their opponents.