Falcons forward to Coventry
July 31 2016
Despite losing a game in the Premiership Sevens qualifiers for the first time, Newcastle Falcons still advanced to next week’s finals on a sunny afternoon at Kingston Park.
Although Worcester became the first team to beat the Falcons in a qualifier after sixteen successive wins, victories over Sale and Leicester saw us top group D by the end of the day.
The season’s opening day saw a return to KP for Joel Hodgson, while summer signing Harrison Orr also made his bow in a black (well, orange) shirt.
The first game saw Sale go 12-0 up against the Falcons by half-time, as the home side looked to play laterally and seemed reluctant to takes risks and move forward. But Hodgson, who was at the centre of most things for Newcastle all afternoon, scored a long-distance try straight after the restart. Orr then fought his way over to put us ahead. The second half was all Falcons and tries from Tom Catterick, Dan Marshall and Dan Temm secured a 31-12 opening win.
Leicester ran up a good lead against Worcester next, and managed to survive a Warriors comeback (including a ‘try’ that the referee controversially ruled had been held up, cuing boos from the 3,825 crowd) to win 26-24. This match was notable for Freddie Tuilagi Jr, on becoming the seventh member of his family to represent the Tigers, being yellow-carded after just nine seconds for flying high tackle on Jaike Carter.
However, the joy for the Tigers was short-lived as Sale ran rampant in the second half of the third game, and destroyed the Midlanders 55-7!
The Falcons’ second game was against Worcester, and going on previous scores we should have been looking forward to a decent win. It did get off to the best possible start when Catterick scored a converted try in the opening minute. However, two tries from the Warriors saw them lead 7-12 at half-time. Two more away scores followed in the second half, with Josh Adams completing a hat-trick for the visitors, and though Marshall and Adam Radwan led a spirited Falcons comeback, they had to be content with a bonus point in losing 21-24.
Sale secured their spot in the Ricoh Arena finals by beating Worcester 31-0, before the final game of the day saw the Falcons take on Leicester. The Tigers scored early before Hodgson used Glen Young to dummy away the last defender and rounded on the outside to score on the right, and then when Catterick got in his way near the posts, the returning fly-half floated a pass to Marshall for our second try. The Falcons led 12-5 at half-time.
In the second half, Leicester equalised with a converted try from a quick lineout, before captain Temm scored by the posts. The Falcons led 19-12 with three minutes left, and made sure of progress when Orr ran through the middle and ignored the obvious option of Catterick so got tackled, but Hodgson sniped over from close range for the bonus-point try. Sam Yawayawa’s late consolation try mattered little in a 26-17 home win.
As always, the Sevens was a good day out at KP, getting us back into the mood for rugby after a couple of months away. More important days lie ahead but it was a good, fun day in the sun with of course a few beers too. Excellent.
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