Rugby: Sunderland handed familiar first-day trip to Hartlepool, while Houghton get Winlaton opener

Sunderland (red and yellow hoops) will go into the new season with confidence after a fine end to last term.
Sunderland (red and yellow hoops) will go into the new season with confidence after a fine end to last term.

Sunderland have been handed a tough opening game in the new Durham/Northumberland Division Two campaign.

The Ashbrooke side finished seventh last term, thanks to an impressive surge in the second half of the season, when several youngsters were given the chance to shine.

The new season starts on Saturday, September 1 with a visit to Mayfield Park to take on Hartlepool, who were fourth in 2017-18.

Sunderland lost 26-20 at Hartlepool in their first match last season, but gained revenge with a 28-22 home triumph.

The campaign finishes with a home game against Hartlepool on April 13.

Sunderland will have to stage their first home match, against North Shields on September 8, away from Ashbrooke, because of cricket commitments.

The Ashbrooke men have two derbies against newly-promoted Houghton to look forward to.

The old rivals meet at Dairy Lane on November 17, with the return on March 9.

Houghton, who enjoyed an excellent Division Three campaign last season, start away to Winlaton Vulcans, before hosting Ryton on September 8.

Their annual home match during Houghton Feast celebrations come on October 13, with South Shields the visitors, Shields were champions of Division Three last term, finishing three wins better off than runners-up Houghton.

In Division Three, Seaham are at home to Seaton Carew on opening day, before visiting Blyth the following week.

They lost 61-12 at home to Seaton last season, but pushed hard in the away return, going down 12-8.

Durham City, pipped as runners-up in Division One last season, are away to Ponteland, who narrowly escaped the drop, on September 1.

City stormed to two big wins over Ponteland in 2017-18, running out 64-5 winners on home turf and 48-5 away.

Durham’s first match at Hollow Drift, the following weekend, sees Whitby head north.

Horden and Peterlee, who finished fifth last term, begin at home to Barnard Castle, who ended fourth, with seven more wins than the Colliers.

Barney won 29-17 away to Horden last season, and it was even closer in the second meeting, with the Colliers edged out 19-17.

The Eden Lane-based side are away to Northern in their second game.

Durham visit Horden on September 29 and host their county rivals on January 19.

2018-19 FIXTURES

SUNDERLAND

Durham/Northumberland Two

Sep 1 Hartlepool

Sep 8 NORTH SHIELDS

Sep 15 South Shields

Sep 22 ASHINGTON

Sep 29 Sedgefield

Oct 13 DARLINGTON

Oct 20 Whitley Bay Rockcliff

Oct 27 Gosforth

Nov 3 REDCAR

Nov 17 Houghton

Nov 24 WINLATON VULCANS

Dec 1 Ryton

Dec 8 BISHOP AUCKLAND

Dec 15 North Shields

Jan 5 SOUTH SHIELDS

Jan 12 Ashington

Jan 19 SEDGEFIELD

Jan 26 Darlington

Feb 9 WHITLEY BAY ROCKCLIFF

Feb 16 GOSFORTH

Mar 2 Redcar

Mar 9 HOUGHTON

Mar 23 Winlaton Vulcans

Mar 30 RYTON

Apr 6 Bishop Auckland

Apr 13 HARTLEPOOL

HOUGHTON

Durham/Northumberland Two

Sep 1 Winlaton Vulcans

Sep 8 RYTON

Sep 15 Bishop Auckland

Sep 22 HARTLEPOOL

Sep 29 North Shields

Oct 13 SOUTH SHIELDS

Oct 20 Ashington

Oct 27 SEDGEFIELD

Nov 3 Darlington

Nov 17 SUNDERLAND

Nov 24 Gosforth

Dec 1 REDCAR

Dec 8 Whitley Bay Rockcliff

Dec 15 Ryton

Jan 5 BISHOP AUCKLAND

Jan 12 Hartlepool

Jan 19 NORTH SHIELDS

Jan 26 South Shields

Feb 9 ASHINGTON

Feb 16 Sedgefield

Mar 2 DARLINGTON

Mar 9 Sunderland

Mar 23 GOSFORTH

Mar 30 Redcar

Apr 6 WHITLEY BAY ROCKCLIFF

Apr 13 WINLATON VULCANS

SEAHAM

Durham/Northumberland Three

Sep 1 SEATON CAREW

Sep 8 Blyth

Sep 22 WALLSEND

Sep 29 RICHMONDSHIRE

Oct 13 Seghill

Oct 20 YARM

Oct 27 Newton Aycliffe

Nov 3 JARROVIANS

Nov 17 Chester-le-Street

Dec 1 WEST HARTLEPOOL TDSOB

Dec 8 Prudhoe & Stocksfield

Dec 15 BLYTH

Jan 5 Wallsend

Jan 12 Richmondshire

Jan 26 SEGHILL

Feb 9 Yarm

Feb 16 NEWTON AYCLIFFE

Mar 2 Jarrovians

Mar 9 CHESTER-LE-STREET

Mar 23 West Hartlepool TDSOB

Apr 6 PRUDHOE & STOCKSFIELD

Apr 13 Seaton Carew

DURHAM CITY

Durham/Northumberland One

Sep 1 Ponteland

Sep 8 WHITBY

Sep 15 Barnard Castle

Sep 22 ACKLAM

Sep 29 Horden & Peterlee

Oct 13 Gateshead

Oct 20 NOVOCASTRIANS

Oct 27 South Shields Westoe

Nov 3 HARTLEPOOL ROVERS

Nov 17 Northern

Nov 24 MEDICALS

Dec 1 West Hartlepool

Dec 8 STOCKTON

Dec 15 Whitby

Jan 5 BARNARD CASTLE

Jan 12 Acklam

Jan 19 HORDEN & PETERLEE

Jan 26 GATESHEAD

Feb 9 Novocastrians

Feb 16 SOUTH SHIELDS WESTOE

Mar 2 Hartlepool Rovers

Mar 9 NORTHERN

Mar 23 Medicals

Mar 30 WEST HARTLEPOOL

Apr 6 Stockton

Apr 13 PONTELAND

HORDEN & PETERLEE

Durham/Northumberland One

Sep 1 BARNARD CASTLE

Sep 8 Northern

Sep 15 ACKLAM

Sep 22 Medicals

Sep 29 DURHAM CITY

Oct 13 West Hartlepool

Oct 20 GATESHEAD

Oct 27 Stockton

Nov 3 NOVOCASTRIANS

Nov 17 Ponteland

Nov 2 SOUTH SHIELDS WESTOE

Dec 1 Whitby

Dec 8 HARTLEPOOL ROVERS

Dec 15 NORTHERN

Jan 5 Acklam

Jan 12 MEDICALS

Jan 19 Durham City

Jan 26 WEST HARTLEPOOL

Feb 9 Gateshead

Feb 16 STOCKTON

Mar 2 Novocastrians

Mar 9 PONTELAND

Mar 23 South Shields Westoe

Mar 30 WHITBY

Apr 6 Hartlepool Rovers

Apr 13 Barnard Castle