Resurgent Falcons clinch victory over Bath Rugby

Newcastle Falcons 24 v Bath Rugby 22

A second-half brace from Semesa Rokoduguni wasn’t enough to prevent Newcastle Falcons clinching a 24-22 Aviva Premiership victory over Bath Rugby in the dying minutes at Kingston Park this evening.

The home side took the lead early in the contest, Vereniki Goneva latching on to quick ball and breaking through the defensive line to score under the posts. Joel Hodgson added the conversion to what was to be the only try of the first-half to put Newcastle 7-0 up after just three minutes.

It was a messy half from both sides – there were spilt balls and knock-ons a-plenty – and neither side really gained overall control. Instead the game ebbed and flowed, with first Newcastle and then the visitors trying to suss their opponents out and find a weakness to exploit.

Twice George Ford had penalty attempts drift agonisingly wide of the uprights, before he got Bath’s first points on the board from the tee on the stroke of half-time.

Half-time: Newcastle Falcons 7 – Bath Rugby 3

Bath had gained a slight momentum advantage as the first-half was drawing to a close, and it continued when the players returned to the pitch after the break.

Matt Garvey secured the lineout, and the forwards made in-roads in the home defence close to the try-line. First Max Lahiff and then Nathan Catt were inches from crossing the whitewash, before Darren Allinson spun the ball out wide and found Ford in space. The fly-half had the simple task of cantering over the line and touching down for the score. He converted his own try, giving Bath the lead for the first time in the game. 7-10.

Rokoduguni scored his first try of the night on the 52nd minute to extend the visitors’ lead. The winger latched on to an electric break from Anthony Watson, and stormed his way down the touchline under close attention from Goneva. The Newcastle wing thought he had done enough to prevent the try, but a superb finish by Rokoduguni was confirmed by the Television Match Official, and the score was awarded. Ford added an excellent touchline conversion. 7-17.

Newcastle weren’t going to let Bath have things all their own way though, and they fought back hard. Only a last-ditch tackle from Watson in the corner prevented Evan Olmstead from scoring on the 60th minute, and instead play was brought back for a penalty to the home side. Hodgson had the simple task of slotting the three points from in front of the posts. 10-17.

Rokoduguni’s second of the evening took him ahead of Iain Balshaw in Bath’s all-time scorer’s record, second only behind Matt Banahan. Aled Brew had taken the high ball on the opposite wing very well, and it was quickly passed through the hands. Watson was again the provider of the final pass, and it was a simple run-in for the winger. 10-22.

The resurgent Newcastle found their stride again with ten minutes to play, and after holes were punched by Goneva and Will Witty, Mark Wilson was bundled over the line from inches out to score. Hodgson converted, reducing the lead to five.

It was a nail-biting end to a game that had sparked into life in the second-half, and with a try from Ben Harris – again from a short-range pick and go - in the 77th minute, the scores were tied. Hodgson calmly slotted the conversion, and with it sealed the win for the home side.

Final score: Newcastle Falcons 24 – Bath Rugby 22

Match details

Kingston Park
Aviva Premiership
6 January 2017
KO 19:45

Referee: Greg Garner
Half Time score: 7-3

Falcons:
Tries: Goneva (2), Wilson (71), Harris (76)
Conversions: Hodgson (3, 72, 77)
Penalties: Hodgson (60)
Bath:
Tries: Ford (43), Rokoduguni (52, 61)
Conversions: Ford (43, 53)
Penalties: Ford (41)

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MATCH STARTS

Match underway between Falcons and Bath.

3'

Try for Falcons! Falcons 5 - 0 Bath

Vereniki Goneva scores for Falcons.

4'

Conversion! Falcons 7 - 0 Bath

Joel Hodgson with a conversion for Falcons.

9'

Substitution

Matt Garvey replaces Tom Ellis for Bath.

42'

Penalty Goal! Falcons 7 - 3 Bath

George Ford kicks a penalty goal for Bath.

42'

HALF TIME

Match score: Falcons 7 - 3 Bath.

SECOND HALF STARTS

We’re underway again.

44'

Try for Bath! Falcons 7 - 8 Bath

George Ford scores for Bath.

44'

Conversion! Falcons 7 - 10 Bath

George Ford with a conversion for Bath.

45'

Substitution

Sean Robinson replaces Opeti Fonua for Falcons.

53'

Try for Bath! Falcons 7 - 15 Bath

Semesa Rokoduguni scores for Bath.

54'

Conversion! Falcons 7 - 17 Bath

George Ford with a conversion for Bath.

55'

Substitution

Robbie Fruean replaces Ben Tapuai for Bath.

61'

Penalty Goal! Falcons 10 - 17 Bath

Joel Hodgson kicks a penalty goal for Falcons.

61'

Substitution

Chris Cook replaces Darren Allinson for Bath.

62'

Try for Bath! Falcons 10 - 22 Bath

Semesa Rokoduguni scores for Bath.

64'

Substitution

Will Witty replaces Evan Olmstead for Falcons.

64'

Substitution

Micky Young replaces Sonatane Takulua for Falcons.

64'

Substitution

Ben Sowrey replaces Scott Lawson for Falcons.

64'

Substitution

Paddy Ryan replaces Jon Welsh for Falcons.

64'

Substitution

Beno Obano replaces Nathan Catt for Bath.

66'

Substitution

Rhys Priestland replaces Robbie Fruean for Bath.

70'

Substitution

Ben Harris replaces Rob Vickers for Falcons.

70'

Substitution

Shaun Knight replaces Max Lahiff for Bath.

70'

Substitution

Paul Grant replaces Francois Louw for Bath.

72'

Try for Falcons! Falcons 15 - 22 Bath

Mark Wilson scores for Falcons.

73'

Conversion! Falcons 17 - 22 Bath

Joel Hodgson with a conversion for Falcons.

74'

Substitution

Robbie Fruean replaces Rhys Priestland for Bath.

77'

Try for Falcons! Falcons 22 - 22 Bath

Ben Harris scores for Falcons.

78'

Conversion! Falcons 24 - 22 Bath

Joel Hodgson with a conversion for Falcons.

78'

Substitution

Jack Walker replaces Matt Garvey for Bath.

81'

FULL TIME! It’s a win for Falcons.

Final score: Falcons 24 - 22 Bath.

Falcons Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
Joel Hodgson03109
Mark Wilson10005
Vereniki Goneva10005
Ben Harris10005
Bath Player Scorecard
NameTriesConvPenDropPts
George Ford121012
Semesa Rokoduguni200010
Falcons v Bath
P D C T Pos Player   Player Pos T C D P
    PRob
Vickers
1Nathan
Catt
P    
    HScott
Lawson
2Tom
Dunn
H    
    PJon
Welsh
3Max
Lahiff
P    
    LCalum
Green
4Elliott
Stooke
L    
    LEvan
Olmstead
5Luke
Charteris
L    
   1FLMark
Wilson
6Tom
Ellis
FL    
    FLWill
Welch
7Francois
Louw
FL    
    8Opeti
Fonua
8Zach
Mercer
8    
    SHSonatane
Takulua
9Darren
Allinson
SH    
1 3 FHJoel
Hodgson
10George
Ford
FH12 1
   1WVereniki
Goneva
11Aled
Brew
W    
    CJuan Pablo
Socino
12Ben
Tapuai
C    
    CDominic
Waldouck
13Jonathan
Joseph
C    
    WBelisario
Agulla
14Semesa
Rokoduguni
W2   
    FBAlex
Tait
15Anthony
Watson
FB    
Replacements
    RHBen
Sowrey
16Jack
Walker
R    
   1RPBen
Harris
17Beno
Obano
RP    
    RPPaddy
Ryan
18Shaun
Knight
RP    
    RLWill
Witty
19Matt
Garvey
RFL    
    R8Sean
Robinson
20Paul
Grant
RFL    
    RSHMicky
Young
21Chris
Cook
RSH    
    RCraig
Willis
22Rhys
Priestland
R    
    RFred
Burdon
23Robbie
Fruean
RC