Season Recap: September 2014

Monday 25 May 2015 Written by: Adam

Following a positive pre-season involving their pool C Premiership Rugby Sevens triumph at Darlington’s Northern Echo Arena and strong performances against Bayonne and Rotherham, the Falcons headed into the 2014/15 season in high spirits.

A pre-season BBQ allowed fans to step onto the pitch for the first time and join the club’s biggest ever team photo before hearing from a number of the new additions to the playing squad, while newly appointed Head Coach John Wells also set out his hopes for the season.

It was a disappointing opening day when the Falcons fell 36-17 away to Leicester Tigers, but tries from Richard Mayhew and Andy Saull, as well a strong showing from the visitors turned heads across the league. 2014 Championship player of the season Juan Pablo Socino made a big impression on Welford Road in his first game of top flight rugby while Durham University graduate Simon Hammersley continued to impress on his Premiership debut after a strong pre-season campaign.

As the Falcons prepared for their first home fixture of the season players and staff headed out to rugby clubs across the North East and Cumbria for their first ever Player Blitz, with 60 players running coaching sessions at 17 clubs around the region.

The Falcons were back in action a week later for their first home fixture against London Irish in a dual header with partner club Gateshead Thunder in the latter’s Kingstone Press Championship One play off fixture against Hemel Stags. An eight year high opening match crowd of 5,888 fans watch the Falcons put up a strong fight but ultimately come out two points behind the score.

The following week the Falcons faced Northampton Saints at Kingston Park in what turned out to be a 35-10 loss. Speaking after his first Premiership start, Scott Wilson called the match “frustrating” but said it had been good to play a full 80 minutes.

Meanwhile the club’s A Team got their campaign off to a victorious start recording bonus point wins against Leicester (32-8) and Bristol (19-3) before heading West to face Sale Jets in a 10-20 victory that saw 17 year old Joe Craggs score a try on his debut in a Falcons’ shirt, and then returning home to record a 53-29 win over Gloucester thanks in no small part to Eric “Two Try” Fry.

Off the field the Falcons Community Foundation were making waves overseas when Gavin Beasley became one of two Premiership Rugby coaches to head to South America as well as the organisation’s Try Rugby Brazil programme.

Elsewhere, after his success as Falcons team captain in the summer competition, Tom Catterick was called up to the England 7s squad for the final leg of the European Sevens Grand Prix Series in Bucharest, a trip Catterick would later refer to as having a very positive impact on the rest of his season.

The Falcons ended September with a trip to Adams Park where new signing Socino continued to impress while Ruki Tipuna picked up his first try for the club. Unfortunately though the first victory of the season remained elusive, with the final score 35-18.