Newcastle end Saints' play-off hopes
PREMIERSHIP WRAP: Newcastle Falcons mounted a second-half surge to claim back-to-back Premiership victories at Kingston Park Stadium on Monday.
On his 250th appearance for the club Will Welch led out the side to raucous cheers from the sell-out crowd of 1 750 – the first time since their 41-0 win over Bedford on March 13, 2020, that Newcastle had played in front of a crowd.
The side marched to a 18-10 win over Northampton Saints.
Trademark jackal work from Mark Wilson earned the home side an early penalty, the Falcons kicking penalties to the corner on three occasions during the opening ten minutes but frustratingly failing to convert the pressure into points.
Field position was proving no problem as they camped themselves in the Saints’ half, but they were down to 14 men for ten minutes on the quarter mark when Callum Chick was sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on.
A quick tap penalty five metres out failed to yield the first points as Newcastle amended their attacking strategy, but their defence was on-point on the half-hour when Northampton kicked a penalty to the left corner without return.
The Falcons’ offensive frustrations continued to grow when a five-metre scrum saw no points registered, the home side running the ball wide and finding themselves isolated as the Saints earned a relieving jackal penalty.
It was Northampton who eventually broke the deadlock after 37 minutes, flyhalf James Grayson sending over a well-struck penalty from 42 metres out in front following some midfield crossing by Newcastle’s centres.
But the Falcons managed to level things up with the final kick of the half, a sustained period of red-zone attack ending with Brett Connon sending over a simple penalty from in front for a 3-3 interval scoreline.
Newcastle began the second half having to defend their own territory, a task they took to with relish as their visitors kicked a penalty to the right corner without impacting the scoreboard.
Their resistance finally broke on 52 minutes when Saints tight-head Paul Hill collected an offload five metres out to score, James Grayson adding the conversion in a game with no shortage of aggression from either side.
A committed Falcons side drew level on 56 minutes when a scrum-five saw Adam Radwan diving in at the right corner, the winger having collected a blind-side pop from a close-range ruck.
Connon’s touchline conversion in front of the jubilant South Stand added to the growing sense of belief, and they surged into the lead on 63 minutes.
That was when Northampton were shoved off their own scrum ball, the Falcons working the ball left where Matias Orlando fed Chidera Obonna for a dart to the left corner.
The Saints missed a chance to eat into that deficit when Grayson’s 40-metre penalty from in front was fired wide of the posts – Connon, too, missing the target with a 75th-minute penalty from just inside the left touchline.
Connon regained hs composure with a much simpler penalty 10 metres in front to remove all doubt over the result – the capacity crowd saving their loudest cheer for the final whistle.
Newcastle Falcons 18-10 Northampton Saints
For Newcastle Falcons
Tries: Radwan, Obonna
Pens: Connon 2
For Northampton Saints:
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George Wacokecoke, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Louis Schreuder, 8 Callum Chick, 7 Mark Wilson (captain), 6 Will Welch, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Trevor Davison, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Adam Brocklebank.
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Kyle Cooper, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Philip van der Walt, 20 Carl Fearns, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Chidera Obonna.
Northampton Saints: 15 George Furbank, 14 Ollie Sleightholme, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Tommy Freeman, 10 James Grayson, 9 Tom James, 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Api Ratuniyarawa, 4 David Ribbans, 3 Paul Hill, 2 Sam Matavesi, 1 Alex Waller.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Nick Auterac, 18 Ehren Painter, 19 Alex Coles, 20 Shaun Adendorff, 21 Henry Taylor, 22 Fraser Dingwall, 23 Tom Collins.
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Karl Dickson & Wayne Falla.
TMO: Jack Makepeace.
Bristol Bears 39-7 Gloucester
For Bristol Bears:
Tries: Malins, C Piutau, Earl, Hughes, Radradra Cons: Sheedy 4
Pens: Sheedy 2
Bristol Bears: 15 Charles Piutau, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Semi Radradra, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 Max Malins, 10 Callum Sheedy, 9 Andy Uren, 8 Nathan Hughes, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Steven Luatua (captain), 5 Chris Vui, 4 Dave Attwood, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jake Kerr, 1 Yann Thomas.
Replacements: 16 Will Capon, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 John Afoa, 19 Ed Holmes, 20 Jake Heenan, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Ioan Lloyd, 23 Alapati Leiua.
Gloucester: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Giorgi Kveseladze, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Santiago Carreras, 10 Billy Twelvetrees, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin.
Replacements: 16 Henry Walker, 17 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 18 Jack Stanley, 19 Ben Morgan, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 Lloyd Evans, 23 Ollie Thorley.
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant Referees: Anthony Woodthorpe & Gareth Holsgrove.
TMO: Rowan Kitt.