Despite a much improved performance, Sunderland again fell short and were left to rue some basic errors which ultimately cost them the game at Medicals.
A great start for the Ashbrooke side saw them race into an early 10-0 lead through a David Bains penalty followed by a Greg Littlewood try. Littlewood broke between two tacklers just outside the Medicals 22 and raced clear to score. Bains added the conversion.
Sunderland looked to be the more dominant side early on and Medicals didn’t see too much of the ball.
But as has been characteristic of much of Sunderland’s season, just when they were looking like they were on top, a dropped ball on halfway was seized upon by the Medicals winger who showed the Sunderland defence a clean pair of heels and scored under the sticks.
With Sunderland still reeling from that sucker punch they went on to lose the lead shortly afterwards. Given a clear opportunity to clear the ball in their own 22, Sunderland decided to counter attack but were turned over on their own 22 and a slick backs move from Medicals carved open the Sunderland defence to give them a 14-10 lead.
A third try later in the half for Medicals extended their lead even further.
Martin Watt reduced the arrears before half-time, bagging his 18th try of the season with Bains adding another conversion. Watt could have added a second only for the ball to be dislodged from his grip as he crossed the line.
A sloppy start to the second half killed off any hope Sunderland had of claiming victory as Medicals added two further tries and a penalty.
Sunderland came back and dominated the later half of the game through their forwards and after a period of sustained pressure on the Medicals line the ball was spun wide for Greg Littlewood to again burst through the Medicals defence to score under the posts.
It all proved to be too little too late for Sunderland as the game finished 36-24 to Medicals.