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Rugby: Sunderland end long wait to land Durham County Junior Cup with stirring final win over Ryton

Sunderland RFC captain Joe Arrowsmith lifts the Durham County Junior Cup last night. Picture by Kevin Brady
Sunderland RFC captain Joe Arrowsmith lifts the Durham County Junior Cup last night. Picture by Kevin Brady
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Sunderland held out to claim their first Durham Junior Cup triumph in 14 years thanks to a 20-18 win over Ryton last night.

in the showpiece final at Durham City’s Hollow Drift ground, Sunderland lifted the cup, capping a wonderful night in front of a packed house.

Sunderland RFC celebrate winning the Junior Cup against Ryton at Hollow Drift, Durham last night. Picture by Kevin Brady

Sunderland RFC celebrate winning the Junior Cup against Ryton at Hollow Drift, Durham last night. Picture by Kevin Brady

Despite Ryton having finished one place ahead of the Ashbrooke outfit in Durham/Northumberland Division Two, the young Wearsiders claimed the honours in style, with Dean Edmundson claiming a try double.

Sunderland started the match on the front foot, exerting pressure from the interplay between backs and forwards.

From a midfield ruck, Sunderland’s teenage scrum half Ben Hutchinson put in a defence-splitting grubber kick, chased down by fellow colt Dean Edmundson from outside centre to touch down. Full-back Leon Ryan missed the conversion.

Ryton conceded a string of penalties as Sunderland’s dominance told, but both of Ryan’s attempts to extend the lead drifted wide.

From a 22 drop out, Ryton moved the ball wide and, in a rare foray into Sunderland’s half, their blindside flanker scored in the right hand corner to make it 5-5.

As half-time approached, Ryton’s tight head prop was sin-binned for not rolling away.

But, from the kick-off, Sunderland were penalised for not rolling away and Ryton fired over a penalty to go 8-5 ahead..

Ryton added three more points in the second period to stretch their lead to 11-5.

However, Sunderland’s forward domination paid dividends as their scrum and maul continued to wreak havoc.

Ryton conceded a string of penalties, leaving the referee with no choice but to award a penalty try to Sunderland on 48 minutes.

In the ascendancy, Sunderland set up a ruck on Ryton’s 22 and, with a penalty advantage, fly-half Marc Edmundson broke and offloaded to brother Dean, who scored his second try, taking the Ashbrooke side 17-11 up.

In the 75th minute, Ryan added a penalty to extend Sunderland’s advantage to nine points.

As the clock counted down, Ryton drove upfield to score a converted try, leading to a nervy finish, but Sunderland held on for the win and the cup.