Sunderland’s Under-18s progressed from round three of the Northern group of the Colts National Cup with a comfortable 17-8 win over Northern.
It was Sunderland’s third consecutive win against Northern, whose senior XV play in North East One.
Sunderland had a clear edge in possession and territory throughout the game although they often fell foul to the referee’s interpretation of the game and at times struggled to maintain continuity in their game.
Northern battled hard despite a number of injuries and substitutions, although they only threatened at the very end with a hard-working consolation try with the last play of the match.
Sunderland opened the scoring after 15 minutes.
Fly-half Marc Edmundson cleverly switched play from a scrum to put scrum-half Harry Connell into space.
Connell showed tremendous pace to outstrip the covering defence and score a try from 30 metres out,and then kicked the conversion.
Northern put a number of phases together to score a penalty, but solid tackling from prop Ryan Gibson, centre Cameron Grimwood and Edmundson snaffled out any real threats.
The second half saw Sunderland increasingly move the ball wide.
Full-back Gabe Fearon and centre Ben Padget passed quickly to put U-17s winger Pears into space and only a last-gap tackle prevented a score.
Pears continued to play well and after a great offload by Edmundson, Pears and Padget exchanged passes and a score looked likely but Padget was unable to hold the return pass.
Aaron Stephenson increasingly made his presence felt from flanker and Jamie Bacherzewski made a number of good defensive tackles to increase pressure on Northern.
Edmundson took advantage of the pressure to intercept a poor pass and run in Sunderland’s second try. Connell converted this try and then effectively ended the match as a contest with an excellent penalty.
Jamie Sword at number 8 led Sunderland well despite taking a break in the final ten minutes at the referee’s request.
Sunderland Under-12s were outbattled in a double header at Durham City.
The reigning county champions walked in three unanswered tries, as the Ashbrooke youngsters were unable to get to grips with the foul weather conditions. Russell Chapman-Smith ran in a lone score for the Wearsiders, but City plundered three more tries to claim a deserved 30-5 win.
Facing Houghton, Sunderland handed debuts to three players - Jack Carroll, James Mitchell and Darren Weldon.
Houghton grabbed opportunities to attack out wide and were 5-0 up in the first five minutes.
Josh Jobling crossed for an equaliser for Sunderland, but in the closing seconds, Houghton charged down an Ashbrooke clearance kick, pouncing on the loose ball to claim the winning try.