Match Report

- - 21

Newcastle Falcons -

Saturday 07th Nov 2015

Worcester’s four first half tries ultimately ensured they remained out of reach for a much-improved Falcons side, who now enter a fortnight of European Challenge Cup games without a point on the Aviva Premiership board.

Newcastle edged a much more closely contested second half 3-0, but were left to rue the defensive shortcomings which had left them trailing.

The Falcons enjoyed the bulk of first half territory and possession but still trailed 28-17 at the midway stage, the Warriors having already wrapped up the four-try bonus point.

Profiting from counter-attack strikes against a visiting side intent on keeping the ball in hand, they took a sixth minute lead when Bryce Heem’s run down the centre of the field sucked in the numbers, Chris Pennell exploiting the space to score in the right corner.

Tom Heathcote sent over the first of four first-half conversions, Newcastle rewarded the their offensive exertions 14 minutes in when Michael Young’s one-two with Ally Hogg delivered a try to the left of the posts.

Young had delightfully held up the Warriors’ fringe defence before releasing Hogg on the burst, the Scotsman breaking the line and offloading to his scrum half as Mike Delany slotted the extras.

Despite the visitors camping in the home half it was Worcester who struck twice in eight minutes, first through Heem as the Kiwi debutant scored from Heathcote’s cross-field kick. Pennell took the ball on the bounce and tapped it swiftly to the newly-arrived ITM Cup player, who sped down the touchline to score.

Ex-Scotland centre Alex Grove pounced for the first of his tries just before the half hour as he ran into space down the left wing, Newcastle hitting back via Delany’s long-range penalty after bursts from Giamba Venditti, Nili Latu and Jon Welsh almost delivered a try in the right corner.

Worcester had the bonus point when Grove was awarded a second try by the video referee, the centre squirming over the line and stretching out his right arm to score.

But the Falcons’ creativity and persistence finally paid off with the last play of the half, Juan Pablo Socino’s line-breaking run and Delany’s subtle dummy helping create a ruck in front of the posts.

With Worcester’s scramble defence not quite getting fully organised Tom Catterick exploited the chaos, the replacement jinking over for a converted try.

The second half could never live up to the pace and vigour of the first, both sides tightening things up in pursuit of a result.

Worcester’s stoic defence remained a feature throughout, Tom Catterick’s 50th minute penalty providing the only points of the half after a sustained period of pressure in the Warriors’ red zone.

Delany nearly fed Alesana Tuilagi from halfway but the Samoan could just not claw in the lofted pass at full stretch, Newcastle’s defensive performance much improved after the interval.

Taione Vea scavenged at the breakdown for a turnover near his own try line as Ryan Lamb kicked a penalty to touch, Delany similarly robust near his own posts in snaffling possession.

Lamb forced wide with a penalty in the dying embers, but ran enough of the clock down to ensure Newcastle did not have enough time to threaten the result.

**Newcastle Falcons**
A Tait (T Catterick, 29), G Venditti, C Harris (T Penny, 70), JP Socino, Al Tuilagi, M Delany, M Young (R Tipuna, 65); R Vickers (E Fry, 65), S Lawson (G McGuigan, 65), J Welsh (T Vea, 65), M Botha (T Clever, 72), K Thompson (S Robinson, 56), W Welch (captain), N Latu, A Hogg.

Falcons scorers – Tries: M Young, T Catterick. Conversions: M Delany. Penalties: M Delany, T Catterick.

**Worcester Warriors**
C Pennell, B Heem, A Grove, R Mills, C Vuna (B Howard, 70), T Heathcote (R Lamb, 53), J Arr (C Mulchrone, 64); V Rapava-Ruskin (N Leleimalefaga, 46), N Annett (J Bregvadze, 65), N Schonert (J Rees, 65), D O’Callaghan, D Barry, M Cox, M Mama (S Betty, 52), P Dowson (captain).

Worcester scorers – Tries: C Pennell, B Heem, A Grove 2. Conversions: T Heathcote 4. Penalties: .

Referee: JP Doyle. Attendance: 7,987.