Veteran back rower Martin Watt rolled back the years to give a man-of-the-match performance as Sunderland claimed a vital league winagainst promotion hopefuls Gosforth.
Returning from a long injury lay-off, the player-coach grabbed two tries in the bonus point 36-25 win on Tyneside, which saw the Ashbrooke side leapfrog Gosforth into fourth place in Durham and Northumberland Two.
Sunderland chairman Paul Geehan hailed Watt’s performance among a series of outstanding displays from key players, that saw the Wearsiders four tries up in the first 20 minutes.
“We we’re unplayable in that opening 20,” he admitted.
“We just pinned them back and the defence was outstanding as well as our work on the ball.
“Watt was outstanding, his knowledge of the game was pivotal.
“He covered the entire back row for the whole game and made his own breaks. For his first try, he was 30 metres out to finish, while the other - just before half time - saw him throw a couple of dummies, before kicking to the corner. He was the outstanding player of the day.”
Returning from a week out, scrum half Ben Hutchinson partnered Marc Edmundson in the half backs, with Edmundson notching a brace of tries.
Geehan continued: “Our scrummage and line out were slick. Luke Victory played an important role while having Ben back, made a difference.
“His passing was outstanding while, outside him, Marc was exceptional - he ran the show. People are starting to notice the kids coming through.”
Hooker Pete Harrison and full back Leon Ryan added to the try scorers, with Ryan adding a penalty and one conversion.
Geehan said: “Gosforth were very complimentary about the way we played. It was a really good team performance and it was important we got that win.”