SUNDERLAND defied the wet conditions to secure a narrow 36-32 victory against Wallsend Eagles in the Conference’s North East Premier League.
The game was part of the North East Magic weekend, with all three matches played at Winlaton Vulcans’ ground.
Derek Pocklington barged over to score the first try, following a tap penalty five metres out, with Chris Laycock adding the goal.
Mark Wilson extended the lead with a fine score, racing in at an angle to give Laycock an easy kick for a 12-0 lead.
Wallsend responded strongly as Sunderland sat back, going 20-12 in front with a rush of tries, but the Wearsiders rallied before the break, with man-of-the-match Daniel Rundle capitalising on a mistake to touch down.
Sunderland levelled with an unconverted try from Jon Irving, who evaded a string of tackles, then Rundle sprinted the length of the Eagles half to score his second try after Wallsend knocked on.
Geordie Spencer added Sunderland’s sixth try after Raymie Elliott was tackled short of the line, then Johnny Urquhart made sure of victory with a fine try under the posts, with Irving adding the goal.
This Saturday, fourth-placed Sunderland host third-top Gateshead Spartans – who are only ahead on points difference – at South Tyneside College RFC’s Grosvenor Road ground in South Shields (2.30pm).