Sunderland had another gruelling away draw but performed admirably.

Sunderland’s Northern Conference Cup run came to an end on Wednesday with a 10-7 loss away to the University of Central Lancashire.

Mario Hadjinicola and Adam Gittings were resilient, earning two points each against a dominant UCLan team. However, Matt Fields, who didn’t drop a single set, led the home side with a full four points to help secure a place in the final.

Sunderland will now turn their attention to the BUCS Northern 2B league, where they are currently fifth with two games remaining.

UCLan are set to face either Keele or Durham in the final in two weeks time.

While Sunderland debutant David Barwise was able to prove a distraction for Damir Drjlaca, the Serb was too much and took the first game in straight sets. Captain Firdaus Nazeri followed suit, losing to Fields.

Gittings eased past Sam Bernstein three-to-nothing to claim Sunderland’s first point, but a flurry of matches went the way of UCLan – seeing the home side go 5-1 up.

Hadjinicola was able to frustrate Bernstein and edged ahead in a tight game, while Gittings earned his second point of the day on the other table.

However the home side displayed their class, winning the next three matches in straight sets. Bright Folashade, who has represented Togo at U18 level, claimed the decisive point for his side by recovering from a one set deficit to overcome Nazeri and take his side to an unsurpassable nine points.

UCLan’s final point came as Fields capped off an unblemished performance with a win against Gittings to go 10-3.

Sunderland gained the remaining four points as Nazeri played solidly, forcing Bernstein into mistakes and coming out on top in his final match. Player absence granted Barwise and Hadjinicola a point apiece, and UCLan conceded the doubles game with the score finishing 10-7