Billy Twelvetrees kicked 29 points as Gloucester Rugby held off a Newcastle Falcons comeback to start their Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign with victory at Kingston Park.
In a near-perfect first-half display from the Cherry & Whites, Matt Kvesic and Charlie Sharples crossed for tries while the boot of Twelvetrees put them into a 27-3 half-time lead.
But after the interval Simon Hammersley, Chris Harris and George McGuigan all went over for the Falcons as they closed the gap.
But the boot of Twelvetrees – who equalled the Aviva Premiership Rugby record with nine penalties in the match – kept the Falcons at bay and capped a fine week for the Gloucester skipper who signed a new contract and became a father for the first time.
Twelvetrees’ first kick from hand went out on the full but that was not a harbinger of things to come as the Gloucester skipper was near flawless from the kicking tee in the first half for a dominant Cherry & Whites.
The Falcons have only won once in their last five meetings against Gloucester and they were their own worst enemies early on – two penalties conceded in kickable positions allowing Twelvetrees to open a 6-0 lead.
Mike Delany on his Aviva Premiership Rugby debut reduced arrears briefly with a penalty of his own but the Gloucester pack soon allowed Twelvetrees to stretch the lead out to 12-3.
The skipper’s fifth penalty attempt of the night did fall short but soon Gloucester had a try to celebrate.
John Afoa burst through a hole to make the initial break and when the ball was recycled close to the line Kvesic bounced off a tackle to go over.
The conversion was missed but Gloucester were rampant and they soon had their second try, this time it was Billy Meakes making the burst and feeding Sharples who finished expertly.
Twelvetrees added the conversion and a penalty on the stroke of half-time to leave the home crowd shell-shocked, staring at a 27-3 deficit after their first 40 minutes of the new season.
Twelvetrees continued to be metronomic from the tee, adding another penalty soon after the break but the Falcons had clearly had a rocket from Dean Richards.
Hammersely claimed their first score, the full-back scooping up a loose ball to race clear and dot down, Delany adding a conversion and a subsequent penalty to make it 30-13.
A Twelvetrees penalty pushed the lead back out to 20 points again but centre Harris then burst clear through the middle to dot down under the posts.
At 33-20 the Falcons faithful were hoping for a miracle, Twelvetrees again punished ill discipline but McGuigan then barged over at the back of a driving maul and with Delany’s conversion the lead was back in single digits at 36-27.
But that was as good as it got for the hosts, a ninth Twelvetrees penalty ending their fightback and sealing Gloucester’s first win on their travels since January and only their second at Kingston Park since 2008.
The 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby Season kicks off on 16 October. To see all of the fixtures click here.