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Falcons pull the plug on Bath

25 Oct 2003
Falcons pull the plug on Bath

The scoreline betrays the close nature of this game, but Bath will regret the time they took to get into the contest.

After so many free-flowing Premiership games, this was more of a cerebral affair, with both sides attempting to outdo each other via tactical kicking and territorial gains.

In the end, Newcastle came out with the better plan and pressurised Bath from the first whistle and Falcons fullback Dave Walder put pay to any Bath ambitions with his boot by continually pinning them back with a series of punishing kicks.

This tactic denied Bath any solid platforms from which to launch any attacks and they were forced to look to Ollie Barkley to keep them in the hunt with two early penalty kicks.

At half-time the score stood at 9-6 in favour of the home side, but Bath worked their way back into the game at the beginning of the second half and their superiority was finally acknowledge by the scoreboard in the 55th minute.

A lovely break from fly-half Chis Malone put the Falcons on the back foot and No.8 Zak Feaunati trundled down the wing to score in the corner. Barkley, however, missed the crucial conversion.

The Falcons fought back and a speeding Jamie Noon caught Bath fullback Matt Perry on his line attempting to clear the ball. Noon soon had support at the scene and the ball was turned over to allow replacement Phil Dowson to score and steal back the lead.

With the clock ticking down the game suddenly came to live with both sides shrugging off their tactical strait-jackets in an attempt to steal an opportunistic score.

But it was Newcastle who extend the lead via another penalty from Walder.

Bath sensed their unbeaten record disappearing into the dusk and set up a series of bludgeoning raids at the Falcon lines.

They were rewarded for their persistence with a penalty under the Newcastle posts which they elected to kick. Barkley stepped up to narrow the deficit to two points, but it was too little too late, and at the final whistle Bath were left to rue their decision not go for a score from the line-out.

The scorers:

For Newcastle:Tries: DowsonCon: WalderPens: Walder 4

For Bath:Try: FeaunatiPens: Barkley 4

For more news, try out Newcastle Falcons v Bath Rugby

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