Match Report

Gloucester - 54

Newcastle Falcons - 14

Saturday 18th May 2024 | KO 15:05 | Kingsholm

Newcastle Falcons were left with the unwanted record of a win-less Gallagher Premiership season after suffering defeat in Saturday’s final round at Gloucester.

The Kingsholm clash saw no shortage of territory, possession and passion from the Northeasterners, but the ability to convert pressure into points was once again the difference as a difficult campaign came to an end.

The visitors trailed 26-14 at half-time, and despite a bright start found themselves a try down on 10 minutes when Zach Mercer pilfered a pick-and-score in the right corner, the back-rower supporting a break from fly-half Charlie Atkinson.

Scrum-half Caolan Englefield added the conversion from wide out, but the Falcons were unperturbed and resumed their territorial dominance, kicking a pair of penalties to the right corner without return.

Gloucester were more ruthless when given a glimpse of an opportunity, and doubled their lead on 18 minutes when a counter-attack down the right saw former Falcon Chris Harris scoring after build-up work from Josh Hathaway and Jonny May.

It got worse for the visitors almost straight from the restart when Charlie Atkinson won a race to the loose ball over the try-line for Gloucester’s third try, but they got themselves off the mark on 22 minutes when hooker Jamie Blamire scored from the back of an advancing driving maul in the right corner.

Brett Connon slotted the conversion, but Gloucester wrapped up their four-try bonus point just after the half-hour when winger Ollie Thorley came infield to support a half-break from Englefield – collecting an offload for the unconverted score.

Newcastle had the last say of the half when Argentina centre Matias Moroni scored between the posts on a crash-ball line, rewarding a sustained period of goal-line pressure.

Connon’s conversion cut Gloucester’s interval lead to 26-14, but less than two minutes after the resumption the Cherry and Whites reinforced their supremacy on the scoreboard – hooker Seb Blake scoring from a driving maul as Newcastle failed to safely clear the restart.

Departing winger Jonny May followed that up with a popular score in front of The Shed as the England flyer dived in at the right corner, and even when the Falcons kicked a scrum penalty to the corner they were blown for midfield obstruction from the resulting line-out.

The early urgency of the game fizzled out as both sides turned to their respective benches, and the Falcons ended the game with 14 men when Tim Cardall was sin-binned for collapsing a maul near his own line.

Gloucester made the extra man count when Alex Hearle – who will join the Falcons in the summer – scored on an overlap down the right, Josh Hathaway adding another with the final play, ending another tough afternoon in the most challenging of seasons.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Louis Brown, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni (Oli Spencer, 67), 12 Cameron Hutchison, 11 Ben Redshaw, 10 Brett Connon (Rory Jennings, 52), 9 Sam Stuart (James Elliott, 52); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Mark Dormer, 75), 2 Jamie Blamire (Bryan Byrne, 60), 3 Eduardo Bello (Richard Palframan, 48), 4 Tim Cardall, 5 John Hawkins (Adam Scott, 69), 6 Sam Cross, 7 Guy Pepper, 8 Callum Chick (captain, Freddie Lockwood, 60).

Scorers – Tries: Jamie Blamire, Matias Moroni. Conversions: Brett Connon 2.

Gloucester Rugby: 15 Josh Hathaway, 14 Jonny May, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley (Alex Hearle, 50), 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Caolan Englefield (Stephen Varney, 60); 1 Jamal Ford-Robinson (Mayco Vivas, 52), 2 Seb Blake (Santi Socino, 60), 3 Kirill Gotovtsev (Ciaran Knight, 50), 4 Freddie Clarke, 5 Freddie Thomas (Albert Tuisue, 63), 6 Ruan Ackerman, 7 Lewis Ludlow (captain, Jack Clement, 50), 8 Zach Mercer.

Scorers – Tries: Zach Mercer, Chris Harris, Charlie Atkinson, Ollie Thorley, Seb Blake, Jonny May, Alex Hearle, Josh Hathaway. Conversions: Caolan Englefield 5, Stephen Varney, Santi Socino.

Referee: Sara Cox. Attendance: 11,503.