Promising start continues

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Sunderland 12 Ponteland 32 Durham and Northumberland, Division One

PONTELAND maintained their promising start to the season with a win over Sunderland, but it was far from plain sailing against the league’s bottom side, writes Chris Morgan.

In a tight and scrappy first half, two errors from the home side gifted Pont the advantage in an opening period that struggled to flow and was held up due to the large amount of infringements committed by both sides.

The visitors took an early lead after five minutes with a well-taken penalty by Michael Mullins.

But the Wearsiders were soon back on level terms after Pont were penalised for offside and then the home side took the lead as Ponteland were continuously penalised by the referee at the breakdown.

Try-scoring opportunities were few and far between and it was always going to take a mistake to lead to the first five-point score of the match.

Richard Moller put through an innocuous kick which should have been easily dealt with but when the Sunderland prop forward tried to fall on the ball, it squirmed loose for Oli Lane to have the easiest of tasks of diving on the ball for a try.

Sunderland came back and set up a well-worked move which culminated in a nicely-executed drop goal to retain the lead after Mullins had failed to convert Ponteland’s try.

But then a testing kick by Jack Storey was chased down well by Philip Mundy and despite the opposing Sunderland winger seemingly having the situation under control, Mundy was able to sneak in to touch down just before the ball went dead. Mullins this time sent over a good kick to give Ponteland a 15-9 lead at the break.

The second half provided much the same pattern. Although Pont were on top, their game lacked the control that the coaching team would have asked for as they failed to create many openings and gave away too much possession.

Another penalty each was traded to take the score to 18-12 to the visitors. But then two moments of brilliance – one individual and one team – secured a bonus point win for Pont.

First, Moller produced a scintillating piece of work with a twinkle-toed run as he led the Sunderland defence a merry dance to score smartly by the posts.

This excellent try was converted.

And from a team point of view, the final try was even better. Mullins secured the ball well in the midfield and when it was flung out to Mundy, the darting winger produced a strong finish and sprung himself over the line.

Mullins finished off the game’s scoring with the conversion.

Ponteland will look to maintain their good run of form when they entertain Blyth on Saturday. Kick-off is 3pm.