Bath fly high against Falcons

If any Bath fans were feeling deflated after the defeat of England at the World Cup final, Bath Rugby reinvigorated the fans by continuing their winning streak, ensuring a further storming win against Newcastle Falcons.

On a sunny, cold day at Kingston Park, Bath wasted no time in putting some points on their side of the score board, as a penalty by Shaun Berne was successfully executed after three minutes.

With a weak defensive line, it was a mere four minutes later that Ryan Davis, after a show and go, passed to Crockett, who was back as captain, and slipped the ball to Berne, who scored the first of Bath's five tries of the match. With a kick from his boot, Berne added the extra two points to his try with the conversion, taking Bath to a 10 point lead within 10 minutes of the match.

With the heat on the Falcons to reclaim some points, an attempt at a drop goal was made by Joe Shaw, but with the ball falling just wide of the posts, no points were gained by Newcastle until just shy of the half-time whistle.

With some fast, accurate passing by Bath, the pressure was continuously applied to Newcastle. Even with Andy Higgins' disallowed try due to a forward pass, at the 25th minute, further points were quickly gained as Bath flanker, Andy Beattie drove the Falcons over their own try line, and with a demonstration of his quickness of mind, Michael Claassens grounded the ball for Bath's final try before half-time.

With their shorts metaphorically around their ankles and literally for Micky Ward, the Falcons managed to inject some energy into their game, and although Bath displayed good defence, wing Tom May scored a try which was converted by their captain Matthew Burke. Half-time score 7 - 15.

The second half opened with a glimmer of hope for the Falcons, as they came back on with renewed energy and pace. Unfortunately, for Newcastle, it was ephemeral and although they were awarded a penalty within eight minutes, a try by Ian Davey saw Bath gain a ten point lead on the hosting team.

Having replaced Danny Grewcock at half-time, Jonny Faamatuainu quickly made his mark, putting in some strong defensive work as the Falcons kept possession inside Bath's 22. Newcastle captain, Matthew Burke made an impressive run but failed to plant the ball for a try and instead was credited with three points having slotted a penalty kick.

In a moment of dramatic irony, former Falcon, Michael Stephenson clinched the bonus point for Bath after Matt Banahan, who had replaced Ian Davey, thrashed down the wing.

Banahan personally added some extra points to the scoreboard as the giant wing burst across the line, minutes after Ryan Davis landed a drop goal straight between the posts.

A final ditch attempt by Falcons, saw Joe Shaw make a break through the Bath shirts, which was quickly followed by a conversion by fly-half Steve Jones. Fortunately for Bath it was too little, too late and Bath Rugby walked away victorious for the fifth time this season with a final score of 20 - 33 to Bath.


15. Michael Stephenson, 14. Ian Davey, 13. Alex Crockett (capt) 12. Shaun Berne, 11. Andy Higgins 10. Ryan Davis 9. Michael Claassens, 1. David Flatman 2. Pieter Dixon 3. Paulica Ion 4. Peter Short 5. Danny Grewcock, 6. Andy Beattie 7. Michael Lipman, 8. Daniel Browne


16. Rob Hawkins 17. Laurence Ovens 18. Jonny Faamatuainu 19. James Scaysbrook 20. Nick Walshe 21. Tom Cheeseman 22. Matt Banahan

Newcastle Falcons:

15. Matthew Burke (capt) 14. Tom May 13. Tim Visser 12. Joe Shaw, 11. John Rudd, 10. Steve Jones 9. Lee Dickson, 1. Jon Golding 2. Matt Thompson 3. Micky Ward 4. Andy Perry, 5. Mark Sorenson, 6. Geoff Parling, 7. Brent Wilson, 8. Russell Winter


16. Andy Long 17. Joe McDonnell 18. David Wilson 19. Jason Oakes 20. Ed Williamson 21. James Grindal 22. Adam Deharty

Attendance: 5,592

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