Newcastle Falcons turned on the style in front of their biggest home crowd of the season on Sunday at Kingston Park Stadium, dispatching promotion rivals Cornish Pirates in emphatic fashion.
Racking up the four-try bonus point inside 39 minutes and leading 26-0 at half-time, they ensured their 12-point lead at the top of the Greene King IPA Championship remained firmly intact with just nine rounds of league action remaining.
Newcastle began the game with gusto and led as early as the sixth minute, Adam Radwan wriggling over in the left corner after Tom Arscott’s quick tap penalty set up the close-range ruck from which the ball was worked wide.
Brett Connon tamed the strong wind with a perfectly-struck conversion from wide out, his side’s dominant scrummage offering them a firm set-piece platform in difficult conditions.
It took only another six minutes for the home side to double their advantage, a 50-metre move starting from a jackal turnover and ending with prop Mike Daniels scoring from a Sonatane Takulua offload – runs from Tom Arscott, Callum Chick and Radwan helping to prise open the Pirates’ door.
Connon again added the extras, this time from in front of the posts, and his side found a third try quickly after when a close-range ruck enabled Sonatane Takulua to propel himself over in the left corner.
The video referee rules out a Cornish Pirates try just before the half-hour when Alex O’Meara thought he had scored from a quick line-out, only for the replay to show the throw-in had not travelled the required five metres.
Newcastle quickly resumed their dominance of proceedings, finding the bonus-point try on 39 minutes when a through-the-legs pass from Logovi’i Mulipola set in motion a move which ended with Sinoti Sinoti scoring from a Tom Arscott pass down the left.
Connon again converted brilliantly into the wind, his side leading 26-0 at the interval after of their most convincing halves of rugby this season.
The Pirates emerged from the changing rooms fired up for the second half, kicking a penalty to the right corner but finding their best attacking efforts thwarted by an organised, patient and disciplined Newcastle rearguard, who absorbed a lengthy period of goal-line pressure without conceding a try.
The Falcons were having no such worries turning their territory into points, Connon’s wonderfully-weighted grubber allowing Callum Chick to score their fifth try in the left corner before Connon curled in a wonderful touchline conversion on the wind.
McGuigan almost added a sixth when he was held up over the line on the hour mark in support of a Radwan break, but Cornish Pirates finally got themselves off the mark on 65 minutes when the Championship’s top scorer Javier Rojas Alvarez scored down the left from a long, looping pass as his team played a close-range advantage.
The Argentinean slotted the extras, but the Falcons responded almost instant when Gareth Owen intercepted and fed Radwan for his second try of the day, the speedster racing in from 40 metres out.
Flood converted in what turned out to be the final score of the afternoon, Newcastle’s unbeaten run reaching 19 games.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Johnny Williams, 12 Toby Flood, 11 Sinoti Sinoti (Ben Stevenson, 72), 10 Brett Connon (Gareth Owen, 66), 9 Sonatane Takulua (Joel Hodgson, 72); 1 Logovi'i Mulipola (Trevor Davison, 54), 2 George McGuigan (co-captain, Jamie Blamire, 72), 3 Mike Daniels (Rodney Ah You, 54), 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson (Sebastian de Chaves, 65), 6 Callum Chick, 7 Will Welch (Gary Graham, 49), 8 Nemani Nagusa.
Falcons scorers – Tries: Adam Radwan 2, Mike Daniels, Sonatane Takulua, Sinoti Sinoti, Callum Chick. Conversions: Brett Connon 4, Toby Flood.
Cornish Pirates: 15 Kyle Moyle, 14 Alex O'Meara (Harry Davey, 65), 13 Rory Parata, 12 Callum Patterson, 11 AJ Cant, 10 Javier Rojas Alvarez (Will Cargill, 64), 9 Alex Schwarz (Rhodri Davies, 64); 1 Jack Andrew (Jay Tyack, 40), 2 Tom Channon (Dan Frost, 64), 3 Craig Mitchell (Hayden King, 40), 4 Danny Cutmore, 5 Brett Beukeboom (captain, Fa’atiga Lemalu, 64), 6 Josh Caulfield, 7 Antonio Kiri Kiri, 8 James McRae (Paddy Ryan, 65).
Pirates scorers – Tries: Javier Rojas Alvarez. Conversions: Javier Rojas Alvarez.
Referee: Adam Leal. Attendance: 6,315.