Ponteland 61 Sunderland 14 Durham and Northumberland Division One
PONTELAND put some much-needed breathing space between themselves and the relegation places with the thrashing of crisis-hit Sunderland.
Bright from the outset, Pete Newbigin set up the first try for the home side as he broke smartly before finding Craig Robinson with a neat inside pass to then score under the posts. Michael Mullins converted.
Skipper Richard Moller showed his own fleet of foot as he danced through the Sunderland defence to score with Mullins again converting.
Pont were picking the visitors apart at will and looked dangerous every time they had the ball in hand. Robinson showed excellent support to Chris Searle on the left wing and then when Mark Kelly picked the ball up at the breakdown, he off-loaded back to Searle for the winger to score what would be the first of three tries.
Within 20 minutes, the hosts were already 19-0 up.
Newbigin regularly made smart breaks forward, one of which resulted in a try of his own as he battered off the Sunderland defence.
Straight from the re-start and Ponteland were back again, with Searle making hay against his poor opposite number as he broke through some weak tackles to score under the posts.
The winger then completed an excellent first-half hat-trick as Pont continued to attack down the left and a successful conversion made it 40-0 at half time.
The second half turned out to be less manic than the first and some sloppy play from Ponteland allowed the visitors to register two tries of their own, alongside a further three from the home side.
Support play was once again excellent as replacement Jonny Bennett raced over to score Pont’s seventh try of the match and after Sunderland scored their first reply, Moller registered his own second and Ponteland’s eighth as he bounced through the Wearsiders’ defence.
Jack Storey was the last Ponteland player to get in on the act and he ran brilliantly through the defence for a superb individual try to round off the home side’s scoring.
Sunderland scored the final try of the game and they deserve credit for a spirited second half performance when they could have easily let their heads go down.