A fiery encounter between Sunderland RFC and South Shields RFC saw the home side victorious with a 41-10 win on Saturday afternoon.
The home side came into the match on the back of a crushing 40-0 defeat to Whitby, but were soon back to their best, racking up a 17-0 lead entering half-time with three tries in quick succession.
South Shields’ frustration was evident throughout the game, and were soon down to 14 men when their fly-half was sin binned for a nasty tackle shortly before half-time.
Shields were made to pay for their lack of men with the hosts securing the first points of the second-half after a sensational offload from the scrum was run in for the score.
A comeback seemed unlikely from the visitors despite a penalty conversion and try early on in the second period, perhaps offering some encouragement.
However, the away side struggled to deal with Sunderland’s width on the flanks throughout the match and soon conceded again following some quick hands from the Sunderland team.
The geography of the teams perhaps played a part in its ferocity, and the last five minutes saw a messy brawl occur, in which a Sunderland player was on the receiving end of a punch from a Shields man.
The Shields man should possibly have been sent off, but the referee chose to be lenient in speaking with both players.
Sunderland coach Clive Fish praised the hosts’ ability to succeed while suffering a number of injuries:
“It was a pleasing turnaround in form considering the injuries sustained at Whitby away.
“We showed strength in depth by having to cover some back positions after loosing a fullback and winger within 10 minutes of the kickoff.
“It was a very good team effort.”
Sunderland will travel to Bishop Auckland next in a tricky top of the table clash.