Newcastle Falcons - 14
Gloucester - 18
Newcastle Falcons battled hard for a losing bonus point on Friday night as Gloucester edged a Gallagher Premiership nail-biter at Kingston Park.
Horrific weather conditions in the eye of Storm Babet made a handling game virtually impossible on an evening dictated by the elements, with kicking and mauling in abundance.
Gloucester had opened the scoring on eight minutes when George Barton’s penalty from the 22 just about held its course to stay inside the swaying goalposts in gale-force conditions.
A familiar face returned to haunt his former club when hooker George McGuigan scored from a driving maul in the left corner, and Barton converted impressively despite the fierce wind.
Newcastle almost hit back straight from the kick-off with Ben Stevenson going close in the left corner, but Gloucester led by 15 on the quarter mark when the swirling wind caused panic under the high bomb and Jake Morris pounced on the loose ball for an unconverted try.
The Falcons found some momentum from a huge ball-and-all tackle from Tom Penny on his own 22, but they could not convert the pressure into points as they trailed 15-0 at half-time.
By that stage they were down to 14 men with skipper Callum Chick in the sin bin, but they began the second half with gusto – Hugh O’Sullivan finding a big kick to touch and Adam Radwan racing into the 22.
Jackal work from Penny ten metres from his own line thwarted Gloucester’s quest for a third try, but they made do with a penalty as Barton slotted his second from out in front.
Chick was held up over the try-line as Newcastle tried and failed to score from a maul in the right corner on the hour mark, but they were awarded a penalty try 12 minutes from time from a similar position when McGuigan pulled down an advancing maul.
That earned the former Falcon ten minutes in the sin bin, and it got worse for the visitors when a remarkable try from Radwan saw the home winger doubling back on himself and racing past everyone to the right corner.
Connon tamed the elements with the touchline conversion, but they had to content themselves with the losing bonus point.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Ben Redshaw (Elliott Obatoyinbo, 46), 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Rory Jennings (Matias Orlando, 67), 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Hugh O’Sullivan (Sam Stuart, 51); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Phil Brantingham, 51), 2 Jamie Blamire (Michael van Vuuren,73), 3 Murray McCallum (Mark Tampin, 51), 4 Philip van der Walt, 5 Sebastian de Chaves (Kiran McDonald, 54), 6 Freddie Lockwood (Sam Cross, 51), 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Callum Chick (captain).
Scorers – Tries: Penalty try, Adam Radwan. Conversions: Brett Connon.
Gloucester Rugby: 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Jake Morris, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 George Barton, 9 Stephen Varney (Charlie Chapman, 69); 1 Jamal Ford-Robinson (Val Rapava Ruskin, 55), 2 George McGuigan, 3 Fraser Balmain, 4 Freddie Clarke, 5 Arthur Clark, 6 Ben Donnell (Jack Clement, 55), 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain), 8 Zach Mercer.
Scorers – Tries: George McGuigan, Jake Morris. Conversions: George Barton. Penalties: George Barton 2.
Referee: Jack Makepeace. Attendance: 3,821.