Buoyed by back-to-back league victories, Sunderland make the short journey to South Shields on Saturday hoping to continue their winning run.
Recent wins over Ashington and Whitby have given the youthful Ashbrooke first XV a real boost, alongside an encouraging County Cup showing against a higher league placed Gateshead.
Their last Durham and Northumberland League Two outing, an injury-time winner over Whitby at Ashbrooke last Saturday, has injected real belief into the mid-table side after a winless run which stretched back to the turn of the year, albeit many single score losses.
Club chairman Paul Geehan said: “This is a real local derby against a physical team who will test our young Sunderland side, who are already looking on this season as a learning curve.
“We have the speed and skills to beat any team, but we just need the experience, which this season has given us.”
Sunderland Under-16s have clinched a Durham County Plate final spot after demolishing Acklam 64-10 at Ashbrooke.
Acklam made a strong start and after sustained pressure they opened the scoring with a try out wide that went unconverted.
That seemed to rouse Sunderland who attacked straight from the restart and got back on level terms with an unconverted try.
The home side then took control of the game, scoring three more tries before Acklam replied.
Sunderland then went on to extend their lead to 31-10 at half time.
The second half saw no let up as Sunderland scored a further five tries without reply.
Sunderland tries came from Fletcher Jackson (4), Dean Edmundson (3), Matt Sanderson (2) and Brad Lindsay, with Ben Hutchinson adding seven conversions.
Coach Stuart Hutchinson said: “The players should be proud of their effort in a game where the pack worked hard to win lots of quality possession for the midfield trio of Jackson, Edmundson and Sanderson to run in tries at will. It was an excellent performance.”
The side face Gateshead in the final to be held at Consett on April 23.
At Acklam, Sunderland Under-13s took control from the off and ran in 15 tries against a host team, who were simply had no answer to the visitors’ dominance.
Zak Kennedy plundered six tries either side of half time, and he was backed by the powerful running of Josh Jobling, who scored four tries.
Marshalled by full-back Vincent Hessel, with Tom Howe and Jack Carroll at scrum half, Sunderland notched further tries through Adam Williams, Russell Chapman-Smith and Sam Watson.
Hessel added to the tally with a brace of tries, while James Marshall also got his name on the score sheet as the final score ended in an 80-5 victory for the Sunderland side.