Two late tries from Mark Wilson and Ben Harris gave Newcastle Falcons a dramatic late victory against Bath Rugby at Kingston Park on Friday night.
The home side had the perfect start when Vereniki Goneva crossed inside five minutes but 17 unanswered points from Bath – through George Ford and Semesa Rokoduguni tries – had given them the advantage.
And although Rokoduguni added a third try, to take him second on Bath’s all-time try scorers list, a late rally from the Falcons saw Wilson and Harris cross and snatch the victory.
The Falcons had their first try of the evening with just three minutes gone as winger Vereniki Goneva picked up from the base of a ruck and strolled through a gap in Bath’s defence to dot down.
Fly-half Joel Hodgson, who had made the initial break in the build-up, added the extras to give the home side a 7-0 lead inside the opening five minutes.
Incredibly dramatic finish here at Kingston Park. A huge thank you to everyone who travelled up to support the team. Safe journey home all.
— Bath Rugby (@bathrugby) January 6, 2017
With both defences standing strong throughout the first half, Ford missed two penalties to get Bath back into the game.
And as the half came to a close, Ford went for the corner with a third kickable penalty and with phases racking up, the Falcons were penalised in front of the posts and the Bath fly-half made the score 7-3.
And it was the England international who turned the game on its head minutes into the second half as he collected the ball and jogged underneath the posts for Bath’s first try.
With the conversion successful, Bath had the lead in the match for the first time at 10-7 with 43 minutes gone.
And Rokoduguni extended their lead with an excellent finish on 52 minutes as he went over in the corner after being fed by fellow wing Anthony Watson who had made the initial half break.
The boys taking well earned applaud from the assembled crowd! Happy New Year everyone! pic.twitter.com/49uCQqC14Y
— Newcastle Falcons (@FalconsRugby) January 6, 2017
Despite the close attention of Goneva, Rokoduguni forced himself over the line and with Ford adding the extras from the touchline, the visitors led 17-7.
Hodgson temporarily stemmed the flow with three points for the Falcons on the hour mark but the visitors’ momentum wasn’t halted as Rokoduguni had his second try of the evening.
It was the winger’s 37th Bath try to move him ahead of Iain Balshaw on the club’s all-time list with only Matt Banahan ahead of him.
But with ten minutes to play, the Falcons found their form once more though as Wilson forced himself over from close range after a number of pick and drives from the Newcastle forwards.
And trailing by five points with the minutes ticking by, Harris repeated the trick to bring the hosts level and man-of-the-match Hodgson held his nerve to slot the vital conversion.
What a game at KP. Hodgson, Goneva, Wilson & Welch outstanding for @FalconsRugby
— Tom May (@TomMay1) January 6, 2017