Match Report

Gloucester - 10

Newcastle Falcons - 0

Saturday 03rd Feb 2018

Despite Gloucester already being eliminated from the tournament before a ball had been kicked it was the visitors who grabbed the first points of the afternoon, scrum-half Ben Vellacott profiting from a simple two-on-one down the left as the Cherry and Whites worked a blind-side move through Ben Morgan.

Owen Williams converted, Newcastle drawing level on 15 minutes on the back of sustained pressure when a penalty was kicked to the corner. The resulting maul was halted just short of the line, but from the ensuing phases in the left corner hooker Kyle Cooper ploughed over from a close-range pick and go.

Toby Flood’s conversion bisected the uprights, Newcastle going close to a second try on 22 minutes when Ally Hogg was held up over the line having supported Simon Hammersley’s scything run.

From the resulting five-metre scrum the try finally materialised, Cooper repeating his earlier trick with an unstoppable burst from the base of a ruck near the posts.

Hodgson’s conversion put the home side seven ahead, their third try not long in coming when another leg-pumping run from Cooper handed skipper Mark Wilson a clean run at the line from 25 metres out.

Hodgson again slotted the extras, attention beginning to turn to the four-try bonus point and potential semi-final qualification. Not that anyone had told Gloucester, the already-eliminated visitors forcing Hammersley into a superb defensive take from a high bomb to the right corner.

It was only a temporary reprieve for the Falcons, who conceded a second try on 35 minutes when a maul in the right corner delivered a score for flanker Gareth Evans, converted impressively by Williams from the touchline.

That left Newcastle’s half-time lead at 21-14, and the home side had their bonus point three minutes after the resumption when a blind-side run from Josh Matavesi and a supporting offload from Vereniki Goneva freed Alex Tait for a run to the left corner.

Hodgson converted well from out wide, and took his side three scores ahead with a simple penalty shortly after as the Falcons built a buffer.

Matt Scott burst through for Gloucester’s third try on 66 minutes when the Scottish centre broke clear from the 22, Josh Matavesi having been sent to the sin bin in the previous passage of play.

It was to be the last scoring act despite both sides offering plenty of effort, Newcastle ending the group phase with a record of played four, won three and lost one.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Josh Matavesi (Zach Kibirige, 75), 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood (Joel Hodgson, 18), 9 Michael Young (Sonatane Takulua, 57); 1 Sami Mavinga (Adam Brocklebank, 56), 2 Kyle Cooper (Ben Sowrey, 63), 3 Scott Wilson (Trevor Davison, 57), 4 Glen Young (Ryan Burrows, 34), 5 Andrew Davidson (Callum Chick, 63), 6 Mark Wilson (captain), 7 Nili Latu, 8 Ally Hogg

**Scorers** – Tries: Kyle Cooper 2, Mark Wilson, Alex Tait. Conversions: Toby Flood, Joel Hodgson 3. Penalties: Joel Hodgson.

**Gloucester:** 15 Tom Hudson, 14 David Halaifonua (Tom Seabrook, 43), 13 Matt Scott, 12 Mark Atkinson (Elliot Creed, 68), 11 Henry Purdy, 10 Owen Williams, 9 Ben Vellacott (Callum Braley, 68); 1 Cameron Orr (Paddy McAllister, 40), 2 Motu Matu’u (Richard Hibbard, 59), 3 Gareth Denman (Ciaran Knight, 51), 4 Charlie Beckett (Tom Denton, 56), 5 Jeremy Thrush (captain), 6 Gareth Evans, 7 Will Safe, 8 Ben Morgan (Aaron Hinkley, 61).

**Scorers** – Tries: Ben Vellacott, Gareth Evans, Matt Scott. Conversions: Owen Williams 2.

**Referee:** Matt O’Grady. **Attendance:** 4,096.