Edinburgh 14 Falcons 10

Friday 25 August 2017

Newcastle Falcons suffered their first defeat of pre-season despite out-scoring Edinburgh two tries to one in Melrose on Friday night.

The home side opened the scoring on six minutes when Duncan Weir’s penalty from in front punished an offside infringement from an eager Falcons defence.

Getting little change out of the officials they played much of the opening quarter inside their own half, a powerful scrummaging performance was one of the early positives for a Falcons side who were forced to scrap for early territory.

Finally getting their hands on the ball past the 20-minute mark, Borders native Glen Young enjoyed a foray down the right, with Juan Pablo Socino punching some midfield holes with characteristic hard running.

Edinburgh doubled their advantage just before the half-hour when a high tackle from Toby Flood brought a second simple penalty for Weir, England flanker Mark Wilson preventing a further home attack with a crucial turnover at a ruck on his own 22.

The 6-0 margin stood until the interval as the rain continued to come down, the Falcons enjoying plenty of ball-in-hand during the opening exchanges of the second half.

They finally translated it into points via Simon Hammersley, the fit-again full-back who scored for the second successive week by rounding off a simple move in the left corner.

Flood’s touchline conversion bounced back off the post to leave the Falcons trailing by one, but Jason Tovey had no such worries when his penalty from just left of centre extended Edinburgh’s lead to four just past the hour mark.

The Scots added a further five to that tally on 72 minutes when a long, looping pass to the left corner freed Jason Harries for an unconverted run-in, both sides emptying their benches in search of valuable game time.

It was one of Newcastle’s replacements, hooker Santiago Socino, who grabbed their second try from a driving maul when a penalty was kicked to the right corner two minutes from time. But there was to be no winning score as the home side held out.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Belisario Agulla, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Sonatane Takulua; 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Kyle Cooper, 3 Jon Welsh, 4 Will Witty, 5 Glen Young, 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Nili Latu.

Replacements: Scott Lawson, Santiago Socino, Sami Mavinga, Calum Green, Callum Chick, Sam Stuart, Joel Hodgson, Alex Tait, Trevor Davison, Ally Hogg, Josh Matavesi.

Falcons scorers - Tries: Simon Hammersley, Santiago Socino.

Edinburgh: 15 Blair Kinghorn, 14 Darcy Graham, 13 Chris Dean, 12 Junior Rasolea, 11 Dougie Fife, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Nathan Fowles; 1 Darryl Marfo, 2 Stuart McInally, 3 Simon Berghan, 4 Anton Bresler, 5 Grant Gilchrist, 6 Jamie Ritchie, 7 John Hardie, 8 Magnus Bradbury.

Replacements: Neil Cochrane, Cammy Fenton, Ryan Grant, Ross Dunbar, Murray McCallum, Kevin Bryce, Fraser McKenzie, Callum Hunter-Hill, Cornell du Preez, Luke Crosbie, Ally Miller, Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Jason Tovey, Jason Baggot, Tom Brown, Jason Harries, Glenn Bryce, James Johnstone, Jamie Farndale.

Edinburgh scorers - Tries: Jason Harries. Penalties: Duncan Weir 2, Jason Tovey.

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