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Home > News > Sunderland 3XV 25 - Seaham 2XV 10
Your News Sunderland 3XV 25 - Seaham 2XV 10

With so many of the bigger names declaring themselves unavailable due to the game being a friendly, and player-coach Jon Dye having to cancel late due to working commitments, coach John Whitehead decided to field an experimental team with numerous players tried out in new positions.

Chris Bland and Joey Jones formed a new centre partnership whilst youngster Richard Bacon was tried on the left wing. Andy Hogwood and Stuart Fowler beefed up the second row and Graham Aldus enjoyed a run-out in the back row with Mark Wilson and Ben Bell.

Sunderlands ranks boasted a wealth of youth and experience, with plenty of replacements, so a fast and exciting game was on the cards. However, the extremely blustery conditions at Hill View looked capable of stifling any plans for a fast-flowing contest.

The opening quarter of the game was played at a hectic pace with Seahams young side looking to run everything and Sunderlands grizzled veterans keen to keep it tight. However, the visitors efforts were hampered slightly by the loss of sprightly young scrum half Brad Green with a dead leg. He was taken off as a precaution and replaced by Henry Brace.

Both sides continued to tackle well and ensure that their lines were clear up until the 21st minute. Seaham broke into the Sunderland half at pace and demonstrated excellent interplay between their backs and forwards. Brace fed Jack McCallum and he found a gap before popping to Chris Bland. He broke through two tackles before offloading to Joey Jones; who drew defenders in before providing a scoring pass for Ryan Giblin. Andy Hogwood had rather less success with his conversion attempt so the lead remained 5-0.

Seaham had a chance to extend their narrow lead three minutes later when they launched another promising attack from their own half. Unfortunately, their progress was stifled in the Sunderland 22 when hooker Dean Armstrong was unable to collect a poor pass and knocked on.

Another promising feature of the game was the return of prop Gary Lynn, when he came on as a rolling substitute for Matty Jackson on the half-hour. After a long spell on the sidelines with a knee injury, the popular front rower soon made his presence felt and fetched some much-needed experience and stability in the set pieces.

Sunderland levelled matters five minutes before the interval following a long spell in Seahams half. By this stage of the game, the hosts pack had begun to dominate the close play and their rolling mauls were earning significant territorial gain. After working the phases well, Sunderlands scrum half fed his backs and a missed tackle led to a try to the right of the posts. Fortunately for Seaham, the opposition fly half missed the conversion so the scores remained tied at 5-5.

The hosts grabbed the lead with the final play of the half when their fly half finished off an excellent handling move by selling an outrageous dummy then falling over the line for a well-deserved try. The conversion was slotted this time for a seven-point advantage.

Half Time: Sunderland III (12) SEAHAM II (5)

Seaham made a substitution at the interval with Barry Siddle replacing Steve Meir in the front row. Sunderland made ten changes to inject fresh legs and give every one of their squad members a run-out. This didnt appear to cause any major disruptions to the pattern of play and made for a great game.

Sunderlands pack appeared to maintain the ascendancy and their rolling maul continued to cause significant problems for the Harbour defence. Their set piece was also rock solid and this led to them extending their lead on 47 minutes. They were awarded a scrum five metres from Seahams line and drove forward. The scrum came to a halt but the Sunderland number 8 picked and drove over the line for his sides third try of the game. The conversion was added for a 19-5 lead.

Seaham continued to attack well but were often penalised when they looked to be at their most threatening. By this stage of the game, quite a few of the referees decisions were causing them great consternation and took the shine off their game. With many of the hosts indiscretions going unpunished, their frustrations took over and scrum half Henry Brace was yellow-carded on the hour for stamping on a player who was lying over the ball and preventing fair release.

Rather than crumble under the ensuing pressure, Seaham dug their heels in for the following ten minutes and actually registered the next score. Dave Davison broke loose and fed full back Glen Hardie. The flame-haired flier then found a gap in the opposition midfield and tore upfield before being tackled. He then offloaded to John Dixon, who drew in the defence before looping a fine pass to Jack McCallum. The fly half then raced 50 metres before touching down in the left corner to narrow the deficit to 19-10. Dave Davison fluffed the conversion attempt but Seaham were buoyed by the try and felt that they had 17 minutes to salvage the game.

Following harsh words from their skipper, Sunderland stormed back from the restart and forced Seaham into transgressing on 66 minutes. Their fly half nominated for posts and stretched the lead to 22-10 with the ensuing penalty.

A further penalty eight minutes later appeared to kill the game as a contest but the last six minutes were played out at a hard pace with both sides unable to register any further scores.

Full Time: Sunderland III (25) SEAHAM II (10)

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