Sunderland enjoyed an excellent bonus-point 31-5 win over Bishop Auckland in Durham/Northumberland Division Two on Saturday.
Sunderland got a boost before kick-off as Richard Arrowsmith joined the bench to provide front row cover after being out of action for nearly a year.
In front of a partially refurbished main stand, Dean Edmundson opened the scoring with his seventh senior try.
He benefited from player-coach Martin Watt’s powerful break through the centre.
Edmundson then took a short pass then slotted a well-placed grubber kick through advancing defenders to gather the ball and round the final defender to score. Leon Ryan converted for a 7-0 lead.
Young captain Joe Arrowsmith broke from a driving maul, taking on two defenders and rolling out of tackle to score a second try on 21 minutes.
A third try soon followed, with Watt’s influence felt again as he stopped a Bishop attacker and took the ball from him to set Dan Gray away.
He put Gerard Harford onto the ball out wide right and the winger turned on the gas, taking the outside line to score. Ryan’s conversion made it 19-0.
Sunderland’s defensive organisation was tested throughout pressing Bishop hard, typified by Watt charging down an attempted clearance kick inside of their dead ball area.
Sunderland secured the try scoring bonus point befoe the break as Edmundson bagged his second score, showing his pace in a central position, selling a dummy then looping around to score impressively under the posts. Ryan’s conversion made it 26-0 at the break.
With a reshuffle due to Martin Watt’s injury and a sin-binning for Chris Geehan, Sunderland struggled early in the second half, but Arrowsmith extended the home lead, crashing his way over the line after picking up at the back of a scrum.
Bishop pulled a final score back on 75 minutes, with more than a suggestion of leading with the elbow running at Reece Thompson to crash over the line.