Falcons 16 Worcester 14

Friday 28 April 2017 Written by: Adam

The scrum-half sniped in for a 77th-minute winner from the base of a five-metre scrum, converting his own try for a seventh home win of the season.

The Falcons had been forced to endure an early spell of defensive duty near their own try line as Worcester enjoyed the best of the early possession, Bryce Heem within a whisker of a try in the right corner were it not for the scrambling efforts of Sinoti Sinoti and Marcus Watson in bundling him to touch.

The visitors went close for a second time on 18 minutes when Ryan Mills’ chip to Perry Humphreys in the left corner was knocked on by the winger, Newcastle forced into clearing their lines yet again.

Mark Wilson was once again instrumental in their endeavours with a big turnover from a maul on his own 22 as the flanker came through the middle to win a relieving penalty.

Feeding off scraps of possession, his side were forced to run from deep with what ball they did have, Chris Harris attacking from inside his own 22.

But it was Worcester making most of the running, Gary Gold’s side winning a penalty and kicking it to the right corner only for the home side to once again win turnover ball from a driving maul.

When Newcastle finally did enjoy some ball in the Warriors’ red zone they assumed a 3-0 lead, Takulua breaking the deadlock with a simple penalty from in front following repeated infringements.

The Tongan scrum-half doubled his side’s advantage within two minutes with a second straightforward penalty, the incursion arising when Callum Chick fed Sinoti through a gap at the tail of a well-executed line-out down the left.

That margin remained intact at half-time, the Falcons finally enjoying more ball in hand after the break as Takulua tapped quickly from a penalty to keep the Warriors’ defence busy.

That particular passage fizzled out, but the No 9’s boot was a trusty weapon once again when Worcester infringed on their own 22 and allowed yet another simple three points.

But the visitors got themselves off the mark on 52 minutes with a series of penalties in the left corner, the last of which saw a maul in the corner pulled down and the awarding of a penalty try, converted by Ryan Mills.

And the visitors snatched the lead in quickfire fashion, countering from their own 22 as Chris Pennell found Bryce Heem, who in turn fed Wynand Olivier for a converted try in the right corner.

But there was a major sting in the tail for a never-say-die Falcons side who, after a series of drives in the right corner, finally scored the crucial try when Takulua dived over from the scrum base, converting his own try.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Marcus Watson, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Joel Hodgson (Craig Willis, 68), 9 Sonatane Takulua; 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Scott Lawson (Kyle Cooper, 58), 3 Jon Welsh, 4 Calum Green, 5 Sean Robinson (Will Witty, 63), 6 Mark Wilson, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Callum Chick (Opeti Fonua, 58).

**Falcons scorers -** Tries: Sonatane Takulua. Conversions: Sonatane Takulua. Penalties: Sonatane Takulua 3.

**Worcester Warriors:** 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Perry Humphreys, 10 Ryan Mills (captain, Ryan Lamb, 77), 9 Francois Hougaard; 1 Val Rapava Ruskin (Ryan Bower, 70), 2 Joe Taufete’e (Jack Singleton, 67), 3 Biyi Alo (Gareth Milasinovich, 52), 4 Chris Vui, 5 Will Spencer, 6 Dewald Potgieter, 7 Sam Lewis (Alafoti Faosiliva, 40), 8 Marco Mama.

**Worcester scorers -** Tries: Penalty try, Wynand Olivier. Conversions: Ryan Mills 2.

**Referee:** Greg Garner. **Attendance:** 7,395.