Match Report

- - 20

Newcastle Falcons - 0

Sunday 31st Jan 2016

Rob Vickers was the hero with a try three minutes from time, the Prop profiting from a series of pick and go drives near the Harlequins try line.

Andy Goode added the conversion in a killer contribution from the veteran stand-off, who had earlier slotted three well-taken penalties to draw the sides level.

Such late drama seemed inconceivable when Newcastle raced into a 10-0 lead, dominating the opening half but conceding a try on 38 minutes which cut their half time lead to three points.

Quins then surged 19-10 up thanks to a blistering third quarter, Newcastle spurred into action in a comeback which sent Kingston Park berserk.

Newcastle had carried a 10-7 lead into the interval, starting the game in convincing fashion.

Juan Pablo Socino trod the hard yards down the middle while Giamba Venditti attacked the gain line with gusto from out wide, Adam Powell applying the defensive pressure having been a late addition to the side for the injured Chris Harris.

Openside Nili Latu showed typical aggression both with and without the ball, while the second row pairing of Sean Robinson and Mark Wilson left no blade of grass uncovered in a typically workman-like shift.

The game’s opening try finally arrived on 10 minutes when a huge penalty touch-finder from Craig Willis gave the Falcons a line out five metres out in the left corner.

The home pack skilfully set up the maul, Quins unable to cope with the strength and organisation of the drive as hooker Scott Lawson popped up with the score amid a heap of bodies.

Willis added the conversion, and then a further three points when Alex Tait’s scything run through the heart of the Harlequins defence forced the Londoners to infringe.

Venditti and Latu almost produced a second try when the Italian’s intercept got them deep into the 22, his Tongan club-mate knocking on in contact near the line as Harlequins scrambled.

Simon Hammersley’s heads-up rugby from the back kept the home side on the front foot, but they ended the opening half on a downer when the television match official awarded a try for Charlie Walker after a dart down the left wing.

Nick Evans’ touchline conversion reduced the Falcons’ interval lead to three points, and the visitors burst into the lead within three minutes of the restart when flanker Dave Ward was driven over from a maul in the left corner.

Charlie Walker followed it up with a try down the left as Newcastle slipped nine points down, Goode shipped on to claw something back from a game which was sliding away from them.

He certainly did that, kicking three from three penalties in less than 10 minutes as the Falcons’ renewed vigour forced the Londoners to infringe.

That left it level going into a thrilling climax, Newcastle camping themselves in Quins’ 22 as the South Stand faithful sucked them towards the whitewash.

From three inches out there is no better finisher than Vickers, and the prolific prop was once again the man to sniff out the score.

With little time to respond the Falcons were beyond reach, climbing above London Irish and now taking serious momentum with them into the Premiership run-in.

Referee: L Pearce. Attendance: 6,549.