Jonny Wilkinson became the top points scorer in GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP history as Newcastle beat Bristol at Kingston Park.
Ed Barnes gave Bristol the lead in the third minute when Steve Jones completely misjudged a high kick and Newcastle were offside in front of their own posts.
But that was the last time the visitors scored as Adam Balding and John Rudd claimed Newcastle’s tries with Wilkinson kicking two conversions and a penalty.
The first penalty from 45 metres levelled the scores and Newcastle should have scored when Jamie Noon nearly broke through and Jones joined the line from full-back, only for Tim Visser to be driven into touch by the corner flag.
The try did come when All Black Joe McDonnell burst through and Phil Dowson drove up to the Bristol line where Balding forced his way over.
Newcastle had the edge in the scrum but Bristol looked more inventive when they had the ball, especially through Luke Arscott and Neil Brew, but both sides were finding it hard to hang onto the ball on a greasy pitch.
Newcastle were just about worth their 10-3 half-time lead but the second half started as messily as the first and it was hardly surprising both sides opted to kick the ball frequently, much to the disgust of the crowd.
Wilkinson did his best to spark the game into life with a couple of mazy runs and it looked as if he had made an opening for Steve Jones, but the pass was fractionally forward.
However, Newcastle had gone up a gear and Wilkinson and Tom May carved a way through for Rudd to crash over in the corner.
Wilkinson converted from the touchline to claim his place in the record books on 56 minutes and that proved to be the end of the scoring.