September 30 2018
Five games into the season & we are not looking too pretty, or are we? It has been a tough old start to the season, and results across the Premiership suggest that it is going to be a really tight season, with all twelve teams truly competitive.
We approached our opening game against Saracens with the usual expectation of nothing, and at 21-32 nothing is what we came away with, well perhaps not quite. The wallet-busting win machine that is Saracens has won all five of their games with bonus points on top, so you really do have to catch them on a bad day to get a win from them, but despite this David v Goliath fixture we saw an excellent opening game as our Falcons made them work hard, and showed some touches of brilliance at times. So we lost, but nobody left demoralised, at least we got that over with early.
Next up, one of our local derby games, heading down the road to Leicester, one of our nearest games at only 194 miles. The discussions on the journey down were that this was not going to be a dull game, Leicester on the rebound from the sacking of their head coach Matt O’Connor after a humiliation down at Exeter. They would be rattled and it could go either way. The Tigers came out like banshees, and for the first fifteen minutes were unstoppable. Three tries down and it was looking grim, but there are very good reasons why teams do not play to that intensity very often, it is exhausting, and as the half hour mark came up the Welford Road lot were starting to look blown. We were certainly the better team in the second half, and nearly clawed back the deficit created in that first quarter of madness, but it was not to be in the end. Again though, we looked composed & not too shabby at all.
Next up, one of our annual bogey games. I don’t know what it is about Worcester at Sixways, but they have a knack of bringing out the worst in the Falcons every season, and it was no different this year, reduced to thirteen men at one point. We made hard work of it alright but just managed to squeeze the win somehow. As with most of our games at Sixways it is best not to say too much about it.
As if the annual visit of the Fez Heads wasn’t a bad enough start to the season, we next welcomed Exeter Chiefs, the other guaranteed winning machine in the league. Again Falcons looked not too shabby against a top flight club. A lot of people complain that Exeter are boring to watch but I disagree. You know exactly what they will bring to the field, and you also know that it is almost impossible to break down. It is a relentless go-forward try scoring machine, but if you forget about fast flowing rugby & all that entertaining stuff for a moment, it is actually fascinating to watch the other team try to break them, in this case our team, and they gave as good as they got. We sneaked a bonus point from them and so far we are the only team to deny them a try bonus point, so again it was a pretty good effort by our solid Falcons.
On the back of those results, a win against Wasps at Kingston Park was looking like something we could achieve. Described by some as the one that got away, it turned out to be the tightest of games. Wasps had rotated some key players, but they can with the depth that they have, and so can we this season thankfully. In the end it didn’t give us the advantage that we hoped for, and with hindsight some have said that we should have taken points on offer instead of going for the glory of tries, but that is a sign of a team that feels good about itself, and I for one was pleased to see the ambition in trying to take seven points instead of settling for three.
We all have our own view of these things but I see the pattern in those games of a good start to the season, despite the lack of points. We have had a tougher start than most and have stood up well so far, it bodes well for the rest of the season. Next up is Sale, and if we play as we have done in most of our opening games (forget Sixways) the result should take care of itself. If I were a Sale supporter, I would be a bit anxious about the forthcoming visit of Newcastle Falcons. If we want to, and if we keep our heads, we should be able to take them apart.
Five down, seventeen to go, but some of our worst games are now behind us so chins up folks, our club is looking in good shape, high hopes for the rest of the season & smile.pqs: qs:
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Last season we were doing it...but despite the losses we have improved every game and have played all the top sides.
I fully expect us to start registering a few W's from now on.
If we keep playing like we did on Friday we wont have any issues.
When you come away from games with Exeter and Wasps wondering how we lost....then there are positives.