I was met by Paul Geehan who was keen to tell me about the various plans and projects that the club have at present. One of the plans involves renovating the stand which runs down one side of their pitch. They are unable to use the stand at present on safety ground, due its poor state of repair. Any work done will have to match in the current construction as this is a listed building.
Another plan involves obtaining a lease for the pitches at nearby Hillview School. Sunderland have only one pitch at Ashbrooke and with three men’s senior sides, two ladies sides, a full set of junior sides and their tie up with Sunderland university the extra pitches are badly needed.
One of Sunderland main successes in recent years has been the development of ladies rugby within the club and Paul was keen to tell me that they regularly have fifty plus out for ladies training nights.
As well as the regular training nights the club run social get fit rugby training for over 30 age group on a Wednesday evening and for fun touch rugby on a Monday evening.
The match saw Sunderland with a 7- 0 lead at half time but in the second half as the Sunderland players tiered the superior fitness and pace of Gateshead took control of the match.
Final score Sunderland 7 Gateshead 25.
On the touchline I was able to catch up with two former West players. On one touch supporting Sunderland was Charlie Bentley paying one of his flying visits from his home I Turkey. On the other side of the pitch with the Gateshead supporters was Bill Riddley.
Sunday I was At Horden and Peterlee Eden Lane ground for Durham u20 v Yorkshire U20.
Having lost narrowly to Northumberland in the previous match nothing but a win would see Durham progress to the Quarter finals of this year’s competition. This would be a tough task Yorkshire are the reigning U20 County Champions and unbeaten for three years.
However our boys triumphed 15-12 . Very well done!