Rory Clegg produced a near-perfect kicking display as Newcastle Falcons punished an ill-disciplined London Irish side to get their LV= Cup campaign off to a winning start.
London Irish crossed the line first, through Tom Fowlie, but Warren Fury and Richard Mayhew touched down for the Falcons as their pack dominated proceedings.
Alex Lewington grabbed Irish's second try but Clegg enjoyed an accurate day from the tee, missing just one of his eight attempts at goal, to drive the Falcons to victory.
Newcastle capitalised on early territory, producing a strong drive to win a penalty in front of goal, which the Falcons fly-half sent through the posts after six minutes.
Newcastle continued to apply pressure and an excellent scrum forced the Exiles to concede another penalty five minutes later, and Clegg doubled his tally.
However, it didn’t take long for the visitors to score the first try of the match, courtesy of wing Fowlie on 14 minutes.
After collecting a neat pass from Lewington he beat full-back Tom Catterick and touched down in the corner, but Irish captain Shane Geraghty slipped mid-conversion and saw his effort bounce back off the post.
Clegg was soon handed another opportunity to kick for three points, after a careless error from the Irish pack, and he duly accepted, sending it through the posts after 18 minutes.
The ill-discipline continued from the re-start, this time from the Falcons, and Geraghty kept his footing to reduce the deficit to just one point.
After a quiet ten-minute spell Geraghty produced a high kick to the corner, which Andrew Fenby collected near the Falcons try line.
However, he was bundled into touch and referee Darren Gamage brought it back for an Irish penalty at the ten-metre line, which Geraghty sent through the posts to give the Exiles the lead.
Newcastle bounced back five minutes before the break, battering their way into the Irish 22, and after some prolonged pressure Fury dived over to score – Clegg duly converted.
And they went in search of another, with Noah Cato being brought down short of the line, but the Falcons were forced to settle for a 16-11 lead at half-time.
Irish drew first blood after the break when Setaimata Sa, Darren Allinson and Fenby were all involved in a flowing move that saw Lewington cross over to score and Geraghty converted.
Clegg made it five kicks from five on 48 minutes, after Sa was penalised for a dangerous tackle on Grant Shiells, but he missed another penalty shortly after.
The Exiles were soon reduced to 14 men, when Jamie Hagan was shown a yellow card for a deliberate hand in the ruck, and Newcastle capitalised immediately.
The Falcons pack dominated in Hagan’s absence and their driving maul rumbled over the line on 55 minutes for Mayhew to score the try, which Clegg converted.
Newcastle quashed the Irish fightback for ten minutes until they conceded a penalty at the scrum and, with Geraghty surrendering kicking duties, replacement Myles Dorrian kicked the three points.
Clegg kicked the hosts into an eight-point lead eight minutes from time with a simple penalty and that is the way it finished.
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