Match Report

Newcastle Falcons - 17

Bath Rugby - 28

Friday 10th May 2024 | KO 19:45 | Kingston Park

Newcastle Falcons felt the power of Gallagher Premiership title chasers Bath on Friday night at Kingston Park, with a fully-loaded outfit taking all five points back down with them to the West Country.

The visitors led 28-10 and had the bonus point wrapped up the bonus point before the interval, leaving the Falcons with just one more opportunity to avoid a win-less league campaign despite a spirited second-half performance.

The hosts were under the pump from the start despite teenager Ben Redshaw dumping opposite number Joe Cokanasiga into touch close to the Newcastle try-line.

It proved to be only a temporary reprieve as Bath ploughed over from the very next play – prolific prop Thomas du Toit scoring another close-range special before the returning Finn Russell added the simple conversion.

The visitors doubled their lead on 13 minutes when scrum-half Ben Spencer sniped over from a ruck in front of the posts, Russell again converting after a lengthy TMO referral eventually awarded the try.

Newcastle grew into the half and started to enjoy moments of dominance, Cameron Hutchison making a 30-metre line-break into the 22 and his side’s mauling game also bringing them attacking gains.

But it was Bath who were making their incursions count – Cokanasiga powering over in the right corner just before the half-hour for their third try of the evening.

The Falcons at least managed a riposte two minutes later when Jamie Blamire dotted down from a driving maul, his side earning a penalty from scrum pressure and kicking it to the right corner for the unconverted score.

But Bath had the four-try bonus point wrapped up by half-time, with full-back Matt Gallagher hitting an arcing line to the right corner as Russell added yet another touchline conversion.

The home side at least had the final say of the half when a sequence of red-zone pressure saw a penalty kicked to the left corner, from where Blamire scored his second at the back of another advancing maul.

That cut Bath’s interval lead to 28-10, and the home side began the second half with similar energy, enjoying scrum dominance and getting themselves repeatedly over the gain line.

Full-back Louis Brown was an energetic presence, sparking a counter-attack from inside his own half which saw Adam Radwan and Jamie in support up to the Bath 22.

A series of scrum penalties in Newcastle’s favour further stoked the flames of the home support, but the failure to convert pressure into points was evident until the 65th minute, when scrum-half Sam Stuart sniped from the back of a close-range ruck and scored in the right corner.

Brett Connon added the conversion from wide out, and despite a barrage of further territory the bonus-point score just would not come.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Louis Brown, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni (Oli Spencer, 72), 12 Cameron Hutchison (Rory Jennings, 61), 11 Ben Redshaw, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart (James Elliott, 71); 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 Jamie Blamire (Bryan Byrne, 58), 3 Eduardo Bello (Richard Palframan, 55), 4 Tim Cardall, 5 Sebastian de Chaves (John Hawkins, 61), 6 Sam Cross, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Callum Chick (captain).

Scorers – Tries: Jamie Blamire 2, Sam Stuart. Conversions: Brett Connon.

Bath Rugby: 15 Matt Gallagher, 14 Joe Cokanasiga, 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Cameron Redpath, 11 Will Muir, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ben Spencer (captain, Louis Schreuder, 72); 1 Beno Obano (Juan Schoeman, 55), 2 Tom Dunn (Niall Annett, 56), 3 Thomas du Toit (Will Stuart, 55), 4 Quinn Roux, 5 Charlie Ewels, 6 Ted Hill, 7 Sam Underhill, 8 Alfie Barbeary (Josh Bayliss, 50).

Scorers – Tries: Thomas du Toit, Ben Spencer, Joe Cokanasiga, Matt Gallagher. Conversions: Finn Russell 4.

Referee: Tom Foley. Attendance: 7,024.