Falcons 17 Gloucester 12

Friday 24 March 2023 Written by: Adam

Digging deep into their reserves of energy and sheer doggedness, a tries from Adam Radwan and Elliott Obatoyinbo plus the boot of Brett Connon proved crucial as they chiselled out a result which seemed scarcely possible at one stage.

The home side started the game brightly with an early line-break from skipper Michael Young, but it was Gloucester who drew first blood on six minutes when hooker Seb Blake scored from a tap penalty five metres out.

Newcastle responded brilliantly and went into the lead just five minutes later, Adam Radwan finishing off a try which owed much to the fast feet of Elliott Obatoyinbo, the full-back who beat four men with a jinking run before feeding Radwan for a run to the right corner.

Brett Connon converted brilliantly from out wide, but his side had to play out the remaining hour with 14 men when prop Richard Palframan was shown a straight red for a high tackle in midfield.

Gloucester took immediate advantage by kicking the penalty to the left corner and scoring from the resulting line-out – Ollie Thorley ploughing over on a back peel.

Santiago Carreras converted from in front, and it took a piece of swift defence from Radwan to prevent a third try for the visitors when he turned on the turbo to win a foot-race to a loose ball in the Newcastle in-goal area.

The injury-enforced exit of Argentina centre Matias Orlando just after the half-hour further steepened the gradient of the Falcons’ challenge, although the TMO came to their rescue on 35 minutes in ruling out a Jordy Reid try for a knock-on in the lead-up.

It was Newcastle who had the last say of the half when a high shot on Mateo Carreras handed Connon a penalty from 35 metres out in front, and the fly-half made no mistake in narrowing Gloucester’s half-time lead to 12-10.

The early second-half exchanges saw the Falcons earning prime field position from a Matias Moroni 50-22, kicking a penalty to the corner but failing to convert pressure into points.

Gloucester replied with a spell of red-zone pressure, Sebastian de Chaves winning a crucial maul turnover and Callum Chick earning a jackal penalty as the home side’s defence was tested to the max.

Despite their numerical deficiency the Falcons kept plugging away, and the pressure finally paid off on 65 minutes when a sequence of red-zone penalties ended with Obatoyinbo scoring from a cross-field kick in the left corner.

Connon’s conversion put the Falcons five points up, and the Cumbrian was just centimetres off target with a long-range penalty from the left as the hosts continued to exert pressure.

It mattered not in the end, with his heroic team closing out the final moments of the game to achieve a result which will live long in the memory.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Matias Orlando (Ben Stevenson, 31), 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (captain, Sam Stuart, 71); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Logovi’i Mulipola, 55), 2 Jamie Blamire (Ollie Fletcher, 37), 3 Richard Palframan, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Pedro Rubiolo (Freddie Lockwood, 65), 7 Callum Chick, 8 Carl Fearns (Mark Tampin, 34).

**Scorers –** Tries: Adam Radwan, Elliott Obatoyinbo. Conversions: Brett Connon 2. Penalties: Brett Connon.

**Gloucester:** 15 Lloyd Evans (Billy Twelvetrees, 59), 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley (Tom Seabrook, 73), 10 Santi Carreras, 9 Stephen Varney; 1 Harry Elrington (Mayco Vivas, 59), 2 Seb Blake, 3 Kirill Gotovtsev (Jamal Ford-Robinson, 57), 4 Freddie Clarke (Cam Jordan, 58), 5 Matias Alemanno, 6 Jordy Reid, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 8 Ruan Ackermann.

**Scorers –** Tries: Seb Blake, Ollie Thorley. Conversions: Santiago Carreras.

**Referee:** Adam Leal. **Attendance:** 6,127.