Missed opportunities cost Ashington in defeat at Sunderland

Missed opportunities cost Ashington’s first XV a game they should have won away to Sunderland on Saturday.

The visitors started strongly and a good run from full-back Ryan Dodds set up an attacking lineout deep in the Sunderland 22. A great take from man of the match Karl Anderson saw Chris Johnson driven over in a driving maul for Ashington’s first try.

From the restart Ashington were straight back on the attack only to be penalised when deep in the Sunderland 22.

The home side then had their best spell. In a 25-minute period they scored three tries from Ashington mistakes and missed tackles.

The visitors dominated the final five minutes of the half but were twice penalised in good attacking positions and Sunderland held on to their 17-5 half-time lead.

Ashington dominated long periods of the second half but missed four clear scoring chances, on three occasions blowing an overlap.

A great early run from centre Nathan Whitworth resulted in a knock on five metres from the line with a two-man overlap. They then knocked on three metres out with the line beckoning after a quickly taken tap penalty.

Eight minutes in, Ashington hooker Karl Pritchard broke blind and a perfectly timed pass sent winger Josh Weeks over for a try, Jarvis converting.

Ashington continued to be the stronger team, with Sunderland looking dangerous when they had the ball. Dodds and Pritchard combined well to make good ground. A lovely dummy and break by Arkle again saw Ashington knock on 15 metres out when a try seemed certain.

Ashington continued to press, Rutherford, Brown, Newman, Harrigan and Johnson all carrying strongly before fly-half Jarvis broke down the blind-side, beating three tacklers to score a try the pressure deserved.

Towards the end, Sunderland fought their way back and kicked a penalty to extend their lead with three minutes to go to make it 22-17.

Ashington continue to show promise and were unlucky to only come away with a losing bonus point from a game they should have won.

On Saturday, November 26, Ashington are at home to Winlaton, kick-off 2.15pm.