Falcons 57 Southern Knights 10

Saturday 28 December 2019 Written by: Adam

Beating the Melrose-based Southern Knights convincingly on the day, it was the occasion more than the result which mattered as Newcastle and Scotland great Weir took to the field to present the home side with their silverware.

Valuable funds were raised for My Name’5 Doddie on a day which celebrated all that is good with the game, Southern Knights providing committed opposition to the end despite being out-gunned by the home side.

Newcastle opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute when Charlie Maddison collected an inside pop from sniping scrum-half Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti to dot down in the right corner.

Brett Connon added the conversion, the hosts fronting up in defence too when Southern Knights kicked a penalty to the corner only for the Falcons to steal the resulting line-out.

Newcastle doubled their lead on 18 minutes when prop Trevor Davison showed great leg-drive to power through a tackle and ground the ball in the right corner from a short pop pass, Connon again obliging with the extras.

The Falcons’ third try arrived on 23 minutes when a penalty was kicked to the right corner, Maddison steering the maul over the line for his second score of the game, and number four was not long in coming when Nemani Nagusa ploughed over from a short pop in the same corner.

Chidera Obonna kept up the point-a-minute scoring when he sped into the left corner from a kick return, Nagusa and Gareth Owen keeping the ball in hand to give the winger a 30-metre run to the line.

There was time for one more try before the break as Maddison completed his hat-trick from yet another driving maul, Connon’s fourth conversion taking the half-time lead to 38-0.

Southern Knights kept battling in the second half despite the scoreboard not making easy reading, and they were a man to the good when hat-trick hero Maddison was sin-binned for an infringement near his own try-line during the early exchanges.

The visitors almost found a try from the resulting scrum as a cross-field kick bounced dead in goal rather than backwards into the hand of the unmarked attacker, but their pressure finally got the rewards it deserved when scrum-half Struan Hutchison sniped in for a try on 55 minutes.

The Falcons hit back when lock Bailey Ransom scored impressively in the left corner despite some heavy defensive attention, Connon converting from the touchline in front of a well-populated and jubilant South Stand.

The Knights responded in kind when replacement Billy Wara scored an unconverted try in the right corner from a long, looping pass, Newcastle ending a score-less 20 minutes with a try from replacement Josh Basham down the left.

There was still time for one more try, Bailey Ransom darting into the right corner from Freddie Lockwood’s scoring pass after a quick line-out on half-way was worked upfield.

Will Haydon-Wood curled in the touchline conversion to complete the scoring, but it was about more than the 80 minutes as Doddie Weir and his son presented the Falcons with their trophy.

**Newcastle Falcons XV:** 15 Alex Tait, 14 Josh Hodge, 13 Dominic Waldouck (captain), 12 Gareth Owen, 11 Chidera Obonna, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti; 1 Trevor Davison, 2 Charlie Maddison, 3 Mike Daniels, 4 Bailey Ransom, 5 Rob Farrar, 6 Simon Uzokwe, 7 Guy Graham, 8 Nemani Nagusa.

**Replacements:** Conrad Cade, Adam Brocklebank, Oscar Caudle, Freddie Lockwood, Josh Basham, Callum Pascoe, Joel Matavesi, Charlie Wilson, Harry Hill, Will Haydon-Wood, Callum Young.

**Falcons XV scorers –** Tries: Charlie Maddison 3, Trevor Davison, Nemani Nagusa, Chidera Obonna, Bailey Ransom 2, Josh Basham. Conversions: Brett Connon 5, Will Haydon-Wood.

**Southern Knights:** 15 Ciaran Whyte, 14 Patrick Anderson, 13 Joseph jenkins, 12 Gavin Wood, 11 Jacob Henry, 10 Jason Baggott, 9 Struan Hutchison; 1 Sean Gunn, 2 Finn Scott, 3 Ewan McQuillan, 4 Alan Gregory, 5 James Head, 6 Andrew Nagle, 7 Ruaridh Knott, 8 Rory Darge (captain).

**Replacements:** Fraser Renwick, Grant Shiells, Conor Young, Calum Crookshanks, Angus Runciman, Tom Robertson, Russell Anderson, Bruce Colvine, Liam Herdman, Iain Simm, Michael Mvulase, Billy Wara.

**Knights scorers –** Tries: Struan Hutchison, Billy Wara.

**Referee:** Hamish Smales. **Attendance:** 5,484.