Newcastle Falcons secured a 16-8 victory over Bath under Friday night lights at Kingston Park. “It’s not an easy place to come and win but we made it tough for ourselves. We are bitterly disappointed tonight.” Bath Rugby’s Todd Blackadder commented after the game.
It was just five minutes in as Falcons’ winger Sinoti Sinoti charged down the right-hand flank bringing play inside the Bath 22. Bath looked to turn the ball over, however referee Christophe Ridley adjudged that Bath had infringed at the breakdown. Fly-half Toby Flood pointed to the uprights and put the first points of the game on the board. [3-0]
The next score didn’t come until the 26th minute, both sides had attacking opportunities but neither side were able to capitalise with a score. With Freddie Burns and Tom Homer, two of Bath’s key playmakers being forced off after 11 minutes Bath had to adapt, and they did.
Captain Matt Garvey created the opportunity for the visitors with an incredible turn over. Bath countered, keeping the ball alive well. Will Chudley spread the ball out with precision to Cooper Vuna, who found Darren Atkins outside him. Atkins then delivered a brilliant offload to Ruaridh McConnochie who ran his way down the wing to score in the left-hand corner. The conversion was unsuccessful as Bath took a two-point lead. [3-5]
Falcons crossed the line with just two minutes until half-time. The hosts executed a set piece move brilliantly, after finding themselves with a line-out 22 metres out. The ball was taken well from the line-out and Sam Stuart sent the ball out to Johnny Williams on a brilliant attacking line, the centre cut through the Bath defence and crossed the whitewash between the sticks. Flood kicked the conversion and Newcastle took a five point lead going into half-time. [10-5].
Half-time - Newcastle Falcons 10-5 Bath Rugby
Bath came out in the second half with intent and just six minutes in Bath narrowed the gap. The men in Blue and white were camped down on the Newcastle line, just metres out, patiently running through the phases retaining the ball excellently. Eventually Falcons were penalised at the breakdown and Atkins was able reduced the deficit to just two points. [10-8]
Ten minutes passed, and some poor discipline from Bath saw Newcastle make their way up field. Another penalty went to Newcastle on halfway and Flood took it quickly. Josh Bayliss made a thundering hit, but it was adjudged that Floods legs were taken above horizontal and Bayliss was shown a yellow card. Flood looked to the posts once again and extended the Falcons league to five points. [13-8]
The game became scrappy in the final quarter, with neither team retaining possession long enough to trouble the opposition defence. On occasions McConnochie and Rokoduguni looked dangerous on the counter attack but it was quickly shut down by the Falcons defence.
As time was running out Bath attacked from deep, however they were penalised at the breakdown in the 70th minute. Flood seized the opportunity and secured another three points for his team, leaving Bath with a lot of work to do. [16-8]
Bath’s final attack was relentless, starting from their own try line, they were able to make inroads to the Falcons defence, however the attack ultimately came to nothing. [16-8]
“If you want to win away from home, you’ve got to step up and when you don’t you come second.” The final words of the evening came from Blackadder who shared the frustrations of supporters, players and coaches alike.
Full-time - Newcastle Falcons 16-8 Bath Rugby
23 November 2018
Referee: Christophe Ridley
Half Time score: 10-5
- Tries: Williams (38)
- Conversions: Flood (39)
- Penalties: Flood (5, 56, 69)
- Tries: McConnochie (26)
- Penalties: Atkins (45)