Match Report

Newcastle Falcons - 66

Caldy - 13

Sunday 08th Oct 2023 | KO 14:15 | Kingston Park

Newcastle Falcons ended their Premiership Rugby Cup campaign by taking the full five points against Caldy at Kingston Park.

Leading 26-8 at the interval and pushing on thereafter, the Falcons end the group phase with four wins from their five games after previous victories over Sale Sharks, Ampthill and Bedford Blues.

The home side led as early as the second minute when Iwan Stephens scored in the left corner, the Yorkshireman rounding off a slick handling move as Newcastle quickly worked the ball towards the space.

Louie Johnson converted, and a dominant Falcons side were twice close to a second try when Louis Brown was bundled into the corner post and Josh Bainbridge was held up over the line.

It was therefore against the run of play when Caldy scored from a catch-and-drive on 18 minutes – hooker Ted Stagg crossing for an unconverted try in the right corner.

The visitors rubbed salt into the wound by taking the lead four minutes later through Matt Kilcourse’s 25-metre penalty when Ollie Fletcher was sin-binned for hands-in at the ruck, but Newcastle quickly regained scoreboard supremacy.

Scrum-half Ben Douglas was the man to do it on his first start for his home town club, supporting a Stephens break to score in the left corner.

Johnson slotted the touchline conversion, and did so again just after the half-hour when replacement hooker Michael van Vuuren scored from a driving maul in the left corner.

The Falcons had the four-try bonus point with the final play of the half when Louie Johnson’s cross-field kick found George Wacokecoke in the right corner, the versatile back scoring in his comeback appearance after ten months out with a broken leg.

That left his side 26-8 up at the break, and they passed the 30 mark nine minutes after the resumption when Fletcher scored from a catch-and-drive in the left corner.

Louis Brown was next over when the full-back scored in the right corner after a break and reverse offload from Wacokecoke, and he was quickly followed by Stephens’ second try down the left as replacement Josh Thomas fed him with a well-timed pass.

Max Pepper marked his debut with a try down the right as Newcastle passed the half-century of points on 63 minutes, collecting an inside pop from Fletcher.

Johnson converted, and the Cumbrian fly-half got himself on the try sheet on 68 minutes when he grounded from a chip-and-chase.

His cross-field kick fed Louis Brown for a second try in the right corner three minutes from time, in what proved to be the last score of an entertaining contest.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Louis Brown, 14 Zach Kerr (George Wacokecoke, 29), 13 Oliver Spencer (Josh Thomas, 55), 12 Cameron Hutchison, 11 Iwan Stephens, 10 Louie Johnson, 9 Ben Douglas (Max Pepper, 40); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Mark Dormer, 53), 2 Ollie Fletcher (Michael van Vuuren, 65), 3 Mark Tampin (Sam Clark, 53), 4 John Kelly, 5 Kiran McDonald (Finn Baker, 56), 6 Marcus Tiffen, 7 Josh Bainbridge, 8 Sam Cross (captain, Ollie Leatherbarrow, 50).

Falcons scorers – Tries: Iwan Stephens 2, Ben Douglas, Michael van Vuuren, George Wacokecoke, Ollie Fletcher, Louis Brown 2, Max Pepper, Louie Johnson. Conversions: Louie Johnson 8.

Caldy: 15 Matt Kilcourse, 14 Will Robinson, 13 Michael Cartmill, 12 Connor Wilkinson, 11 Jacob Mitchell, 10 Rhys Hayes, 9 Chris Pilgrim; 1 Ryan Higginson (Nathan Rushton, 50), 2 Ted Stagg (Matt Gallagher, 50), 3 Joe Sprotson (Will Sanderson,50), 4 Martin Gerrard, 24 Callum Atkinson, 6 Harrison Crowe, 7 Dave Jones, 8 JJ Dickinson.

Caldy scorers – Tries: Ted Stagg, Matt Kilcourse. Penalties: Matt Kilcourse.

Referee: Richard Gordon. Attendance: 4,214.