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Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 22-7 Bath Rugby

Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 22-7 Bath Rugby

Newcastle Falcons extended their unbeaten run to five games in all competitions as they overcame Bath Rugby in the Premiership Rugby Cup at Kingston Park on Friday night.

Tries from Michael Young, Simon Hammersley and Sinoti Sinoti helped Newcastle triumph 22-7 as they moved top of Pool 1 ahead of Exeter Chiefs – who have a game in hand.

Bath did grab a late consolation through replacement Josh Bayliss, with Alex Davies adding the extras, but the visitors were unable to halt their winless run.

The result means the West Country outfit’s faint hopes of reaching the knockout stages are over, having picked up just one point from their opening three games.

Falcons, on the other hand, are right in the mix for a semi-final place ahead of their Derby Day clash in Round Four of the competition in the New Year.

MAN OF THE MATCH

There were strong performances all over the pitch for Newcastle as they welcomed back several star names with one eye on the return of Gallagher Premiership Rugby action next week.

But Andrew Davidson was the standout player in difficult conditions at Kingston Park, with the lock coming close to opening the scoring before falling short of the line on 17 minutes.

He then played a key role in the first try just moments later, linking up with Alex Tait to make space for Young to break the deadlock and put Falcons on course for victory.

Davidson was also integral to the home side dominating the scrum and lineout, which meant Bath were always struggling to gain any sense of control from the first whistle.

TRY OF THE MATCH

Who else but Sinoti Sinoti? The electrifying winger delivered another moment of individual brilliance on his return to the starting line-up to seal the result for Newcastle.

He received the ball on the wing with just over ten minutes left on the clock, before leaving Ruaridh McConnochie with one of his signature steps and accelerating towards the line.

The covering tackle from Max Clark also proved fruitless as the powerful Samoan international shrugged him off to touch down in the left corner.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

The first score after the restart was always going to be crucial.

It ultimately went Newcastle’s way and they never looked back, with Hammersley finishing off a team move that started with Bath losing another of their own lineouts.

The visitors instantly found themselves under pressure and after Tom Homer thwarted Johnny Williams, Falcons worked the ball to the blindside for Hammersley to finish.

WHAT THEY SAID

Bath Rugby general manager Stuart Hooper said: “It was pretty tough conditions out there. I thought our set-piece let us down. Scrum in the first half and lineout in the second.

“In conditions like that you’ve got to rely on those things. Lineout-wise we had lots of people out of position, lots of people who came into the side for the first time and we didn’t get the outcomes we wanted.

“I thought there were positives as well. Some of the players we gave an opportunity to really put their hands up but, ultimately, we needed a better platform to get into the game and we didn’t get that. They put us under good pressure and we failed to come up with the answers.”

Newcastle coach Scott MacLeod said: “It was a scrappy old game and we’re disappointed not to have got the bonus point, but it’s a win and we’re building some momentum for the return to the Gallagher Premiership next week.

“We kicked too much ball away during the first half and we were frustrated by not finding that fourth try, but we can’t be too down because we still won the game.

“It’s probably a sign of how far we’ve come as a club that we can be so low key after a reasonably comfortable victory, but we’re setting high standards and always looking to improve.”

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