Falcons 22 Gloucester 32

Saturday 29 January 2022 Written by: Adam

Dangerous winds forced a four-hour delay from the original kick-off, with the Cherry and Whites emerging victorious after a monumental effort from the home club to get the game played at all.

Newcastle trailed 20-8 at half-time but it was they who drew first blood just three minutes in, when Brett Connon tamed the wind to send through a penalty from 30 metres out in front.

But the Falcons trailed three minutes later when Gloucester prop Val Rapava Ruskin barged his way over for the game’s opening try in the right corner at a close-range ruck.

The missed conversion attempt left the visitors just two ahead, and within two minutes the Falcons edged in front once more when Adam Radwan collected a Sean Robinson offload and raced 40 metres down the right wing to dot down.

Connon’s attempted conversion was charged down, and the see-saw scoring pattern continued as Gloucester took the lead through a Santiago Carreras try in the right corner.

Adam Hastings converted impressively into the wind, and the drama continued just before the quarter mark when Falcons centre Pete Lucock had a try scrubbed by the TMO for a midfield obstruction.

Hastings put the visitors eight in front with a penalty from the 22, and that lead increased further when Gloucester captain Lewis Ludlow crashed over for an unconverted try in the left corner from a close-range ruck.

Newcastle missed an opportunity to chip three off the deficit on 36 minutes when Connon’s penalty from 30 metres out hit the left post, leaving Gloucester 20-8 in front at the break.

Hastings, too, fired wide with a penalty during the early exchanges in the second half, and it was Newcastle who recorded the first score when Mateo Carreras raced int the left corner from a 25-metre pass by Connon after a quick tap in the right corner.

Connon slotted the touchline conversion to reduce the arrears to five, but Newcastle trailed by double digits again on 59 minutes when Ollie Thorley rounded off a two-on-one in the left corner.

Replacement Louis Rees-Zammit compounded that blow by racing 60 metres for a try of his own just after the hour mark, with Lloyd Evans converting well from the right touchline.

Newcastle rolled on their replacements as they welcome back club captain Mark Wilson and handed first team debuts to props Conrad Cade and Phil Brantingham.

But it was another front-row replacement who had the last say of the day, hooker Charlie Maddison scoring from a quick tap in the right corner, converted by Will Haydon-Wood.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Mike Brown, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Mateo Carreras (Tom Penny, 57), 10 Brett Connon (Will Haydon-Wood, 63), 9 Sam Stuart (Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 65); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Conrad Cade, 76), 2 George McGuigan (Charlie Maddison, 76), 3 Mark Tampin (Phil Brantingham, 76), 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Philip van der Walt (Mark Wilson, 65), 7 Will Welch (captain, Gary Graham, 65), 8 Callum Chick.

**Scorers –** Tries: Adam Radwan, Mateo Carreras, Charlie Maddison. Conversions: Brett Connon, Will Haydon-Wood. Penalties: Brett Connon.

**Gloucester Rugby:** 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Santiago Carreras, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Charlie Chapman; 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin, 2 Jack Singleton (Santi Socino, 53), 3 Fraser Balmain, 4 Ed Slater (Andrew Davidson, 7), 5 Freddie Clarke, 6 Jordy Reid, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 8 Ruan Ackermann.

**Scorers –** Tries: Val Rapava Ruskin, Santiago Carreras, Lewis Ludlow, Ollie Thorley, Louis Rees-Zammit. Conversions: Adam Hastings, Lloyd Evans. Penalties: Adam Hastings.

**Referee:** Jack Makepeace. **Attendance:** 4,562.