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Aviva A League – Newcastle Falcons through to semi-finals

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Newcastle Falcons sealed their spot in the Aviva A League semi-finals with a comeback win away at Gloucester United on Monday.

A last-minute Tom Penny try secured a 24-15 bonus point win after Falcons trailed 12-7 at half-time.
 
Falcons came from two tries down as Kenyan international back-row Joshua Chisanga came off the bench to score twice from line-outs before Penny sealed the win.
 
Skills coach Mark Laycock told the club website:  “We were delighted to have gone down to Gloucester, knowing what we had to do, and get the job done.
 
“The boys delivered, albeit quite late in the game, but the pressure was on us and we came through it.
 
“It was well-earned because we had to work hard. Going to Gloucester is never easy, especially there and back in a day, but there were loads of positives and we showed a lot of character.”
 
The A League returned, following a near three-month break with six fixtures, and reigning champions Saracens Storm kept their 100% record alive.
 
They downed Harlequins 28-21 at Allianz Park to leapfrog their opponents and top the Southern Conference as scores from Ben Spencer, Samuela Vunisa and Anthony Maka made it five wins from five for Storm.
 
A brace from Beau Robinson and a score from Mat Luamanu were not enough for Quins as the loss in their final game of the regular season put them out of contention for the semi-finals.
 
Exeter Braves moved up to second in the Southern Conference as they trounced London Irish 36-0 at Hazelwood.
 
The away side racked up six unanswered tries through Shaun Malton and Will Hooley in the first half, before Haydn Thomas, Ben White, Elvis Taione and Joe Simmonds all crossed in the second.
 
The win secured Braves’ spot in the semi-finals and skills coach Ricky Pellow said: “I’m massively pleased for that group of players.
 
“We talked beforehand about the fact that for a few of the guys they’ve not played for a while, but we wanted them to go out and just let it all out.
 
“In testing conditions I don’t think we could have asked for any more from the guys.”
 
Elsewhere, in the Northern Conference, a 34-10 win for Northampton Wanderers over Sale Jets at Heywood Road kept their chances of a semi-final berth alive.
 
Two Jets tries were not enough as a Ben Nutley brace plus scores from Rory Hutchinson, Tom Kessell and Tom Collins handed Wanderers the win.
 
Leicester Tigers climbed off the bottom of the Northern Conference after picking up a losing bonus point at Worcester Cavaliers.
 
Home tries for Alex Grove, Perry Humphreys and Sam Ripper-Smith put the Cavaliers 20-0 up but a spirited Tigers comeback with a Gonzalo Camacho double and Harry Wells try set up a thrilling finale. Worcester ran out 23-21 winners.
 
Finally, Bath United edged a tight mid-table Southern Conference clash against Wasps 20-17.
 
Dan Frost, Max Clark and Aaron Carpenter crossed for the home side with Ben Jacobs and Owain James’ crossing the try line in vain for the visitors.
 
Gloucester United 15-24 Newcastle Falcons
London Irish 0-36 Exeter Braves
Sale Jets 10-34 Northampton Wanderers
Worcester Cavaliers 23-21 Leicester Tigers
Bath United 20-17 Wasps
Saracens Storm 28-21 Harlequins

 

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