SUNDERLAND’S first game since November produced a magnificent hard fought win.
You would never have guessed Sunderland hadn’t been able to play since November as they got off to a flying start with early tries from Martin Watt and Matt Francis.
Watt was the beneficiary of a great effort from the pack to drive over the try line.
Shortly after Francis broke a number of half tackles before ghosting over for his maiden first team try.
Sunderland then let Novos back into the game, conceding an unconverted try and penalty to be pegged back to 10-8.
Pete Harrison drove over the line to re-establish a seven point cushion for the home side.
John Drummond secured a try scoring bonus point for Sunderland when he hit a great line to crash over for Sunderland’s fourth try. This time David Bains kicked the conversion.
Ian Dobson added to Sunderland’s lead on the stroke of half time and the conversion by Bains gave Sunderland a comfortable half time lead of 29-13.
Sunderland’s pack had been dominant in the first half but they repeatedly conceded penalties in the second half as they struggled to get out of their own half.
With the amount of possession Novo’s had, it was only a matter of time before they scored and a penalty was added before Tom Townend was shown the yellow card with fifteen minutes to go thanks to Sunderland’s repeated infringements.
Down to fourteen men Sunderland eventually succumbed to the pressure as Novo’s scored their third try.
The game finished 32-35 but Novo’s last gasp try meant they collected two bonus points from the game while Sunderland collected the maximum 5.
Captain Martin Watt was left disappointed at the sides second half performance insisting that his side must improve over the coming weeks if they want to continue their winning run.
Coach Fraser Kennedy was a little more philosophical about the performance saying “The players were a bit rusty after such a long layoff and our concentration seem to switch off at times but in the end it was a good result”.
Sunderland seconds had their game called off as Mowden Park were unable to raise a side, so a combined seconds/third side took on Bishop Auckland seconds.