Newcastle Falcons 23 – 23 Wasps
Juan Pablo Socino’s interception try just after the hour mark put the home side into a seven-point lead, only for Wasps replacement Guy Thompson to draw the teams level within two minutes.
Despite both sets of players showing with pace and ambition neither could find the crucial score, the 7,547 inside Kingston Park dining out on a feast of running rugby which had no winner.
The Falcons’ attacking brand was evident right from the off, Tom Catterick chipping from inside his own 22 as centre Adam Powell gathered the ball in the week he had pledged his future to the club.
The slow start at Exeter was but a distant memory with the first try on the board after just five minutes, Sinoti Sinoti’s evasive running setting the stage for Alex Tait to ground in the left corner.
Powell floated the decisive pass to take out two defenders, Tait a late addition to the side after Noah Cato’s late withdrawal with a sore back.
Catterick’s conversion was a whisker away as the cross-wind blew it fractionally away from its target, but the stand-off made amends on nine minutes with a penalty from out in front.
Opposite number Andy Goode chipped three off that with a penalty from close range, Newcastle’s running game returning as Simon Hammersley and Tait combined for a sortie down the left.
Then came the two-minute blast which cost Newcastle the game, old-boy Rob Miller first to score in the left corner after Elliot Daly’s scything diagonal break and offload put him away.
Daly then turned finisher straight from the restart as the centre collected a scoring offload down the tram-lines, speeding 40 metres to score.
Catterick reclaimed three points with a penalty to end the half, his Newcastle side 13-11 down despite having enjoyed the bulk of the play.
They did not have to wait long for the lead in a storming start to the second half, Josh Furno returning from Six Nations duty to race in at the left corner.
The Italian lock was on the end of a slick handling move which owed plenty to the reflexes of Gonzalo Tiesi, the Argentinean centre getting man and ball bit flicking possession to Sinoti a fraction of a second before being felled.
Sinoti sped ahead and played Furno into space, the rangy forward showing a fair old turn of pace to dot down.
Goode’s 53rd minute penalty drawing the teams level once more as the London-Irish-bound fly-half slotted from 35 metres out and to the right.
With both sides trading attacking blows it was Newcastle who looked to have seized the initiative, Socino clawing in a floated pass.
The former Rotherham man still had 60 metres to go, and two of the quickest Wasps players in pursuit as Joe Simpson and Christian Wade sped back.
Socino’s mixture of direction and power proved enough to give him safe passage to the line, Catterick converting magnificently into the wind from the touchline in front of a jubilant South Stand.
But with the celebrations still in full swing they were dealt a reality check when Daly’s inside ball freed Thompson for yet another leveller.
Try as they might neither side could sneak the win despite both bringing a positive mind-set to their play – a draw ultimately a fair outcome on a night Kingston Park will not forget in a while.
NEWCASTLE FALCONS: S Hammersley (G Tiesi, 45), S Sinoti, A Powell, JP Socino, A Tait, T Catterick, M Blair; R Vickers, R Hawkins (G McGuigan, 56), K Brookes (S Wilson, 53), J Furno, D Barrow (K Thompson, 59), M Wilson, W Welch (captain), A Hogg (R Mayhew, 32).
Falcons scorers – Tries: A Tait, J Furno, JP Socino. Conversions: T Catterick. Penalties: T Catterick 2.
LONDON WASPS: R Miller (A Masi, 65, A Lozowski, 74), C Wade, E Daly, J Downey, S Tagicakibau, A Goode, J Simpson (T Bliss, 69); M Mullan (captain, J Yapp, 74), C Festuccia (E Shervington, 53), J Cooper-Woolley (L Cittadini, 58), B Davies, K Myall (J Gaskell, 61), A Johnson, T Young (G Thompson, 53), N Hughes.
Wasps scorers – Tries: R Miller, E Daly, G Thompson. Conversions: A Goode. Penalties: A Goode.
Referee: JP Doyle. Attendance: 7,547.