Aviva A League – Newcastle Falcons 53 – 29 Gloucester Utd.
The Falcons continued to show the intent with the ball in hand of previous weeks and an embracing of the club’s new attacking philosophy by running in seven tries across the evening and setting up a crunch match against Worcester in December.
The home side were very much in control during the first 40 minutes of the game and opened the scoring within three minutes of the kick off through full back Lee Smith after an even opening exchange.
Absorbing the Gloucester response well, although they did concede three points with a penalty for offside at a ruck shortly after scoring their try, a number of infringements from the visitors around the 15 minute mark, enabled the Falcons to gain territory in the Gloucester from which the second try of the evening came.
After opting to kick to touch, a successfully taken line out saw the Falcons rumble forward with a powerful rolling maul before captain Andy Saull broke off the back to exploit space that had opened up as a result of the drive.
While he was brought down short of the line, American international Eric Fry was on hand to join a try line scramble and successfully ground the ball.
With a tricky conversion added from out wide added by Rory Clegg, the Falcons were in the ascendency and were making ground at will, forcing the visitors to concede penalties to stop the onrushing black tide.
Heading into the final five minutes, with two of these penalties having extended the Falcons lead to 18 – 3, Gloucester got a break of their own, nabbing a try following a frenetic period of play.
A superb break by Smith saw him almost single handedly beat the entire Gloucester defence to take his team deep into the 22 before he was eventually clawed to ground.
With a try seeming inevitable, the ball was moved at pace but a loose pass a few phases later enabled Gloucester to collect and run the length of the field for a converted score and a half time score of 18 – 10.
Building on the sucker punch score, it was Gloucester who were first to add to their tally following the break, after a mazy run from flanker Danny Barrett created an overlap for his back row colleague Dan Thomas to score, cutting the deficit to a single point following a successful conversion.
The home side’s response was almost immediate though through Sean Brown, who supported a hard charging Jamie Helleur following the Samoan international’s burst through the Gloucester defence, and another conversion for Clegg.
With the momentum firmly back on the side of Mark Laycock and James Ponton’s team, tries for Tom Penny, following another bullocking run from Helleur and Tom Catterick with a surging individual run, saw the lead grow to 39 – 17 after another two successful conversions from Fly Half Clegg.
Refusing to lie down, Gloucester found a try of their own following more good work from flanker Barrett through Callum Braley, but the Falcons were in ruthless form and responded by adding another two tries through Eric Fry and Brian Tuilagi.
With the game drawing to a close, the Falcons were still looking to play and add to their nights scores, however a loose pass while trying to create an overlap saw the visitors have the last word of the match, with a try for Seamus Kelly.
Academy Manager Mark Laycock said: “We were very pleased with how the team stuck to the game plan and how they kept the scoreboard ticking over, which was pretty important because they scored a couple of breakaway tries which were against the run of play and we were still out of sight which was good.”
“We showed good ambition in the second half, played right to the edge of the field and moved into the space at the right times, moving wide after we’d earned the right. We were a little bit frustrated because although we defended well in terms of shape we dropped off a couple of one on one tackles, which the boys know.”
“The big thing is to use that energy and enthusiasm in the run in to the first team’s game against Exeter.”