Newcastle 34 Jersey 12
Sponsored by HM Plant, "the UK's number one excavator supplier",
Newcastle Falcons had to dig deep to overcome a plucky effort by
As the match approached added time, the unbeaten league leaders
were just 20-12 ahead of the side in 11th place. As Jersey pressed
for a bonus point, the Falcons were forced to bring in some of
their powerful replacements' bench such as Jimmy Gopperth, the
leading points scorer in the RFU Championship, and Scottish
international Scott Macleod. Suitably bolstered, and finishing
strongly against a tiring Jersey outfit who had given their all,
the home side scored two late tries to put the result beyond
Jersey began the game powerfully, seeking to run the ball where
possible and carving out good early field position thanks to a
bullocking charge by Elvis Taione. The ball was fed wide to the
right and Max Stelling scored in the corner, silencing around 3,900
home fans in the 4,066 crowd but sparking joy from the noisy
Falcons had kicked an early penalty to touch in a bid to
engineer a scoring platform, but when another opportunity came,
Joel Hodgson struck the ball between the posts to make the score
A slick piece of handling in the three-quarters and a speedy
finish from Tom Catterick brought the Falcons their first try on 27
minutes, but Jersey finished the half on the front foot. A series
of scrums near the Newcastle line brought two penalties and a
yellow card for tight-head Kieran Brookes, but with a penalty try
looking likely, the ball emerged from the next scrum and Jersey had
to play it, mounting a drive for the line only to be ruled 'held
up' (a decision that was far less contentious than a similar call
at the end of the home game against Bristol).
Jersey needed an early score in the second half with Falcons
still down to 14, but the rhythm of the game was disrupted by a
lengthy injury break as Mark McCrea, who had made several
impressive runs in the first half, received treatment for a badly
dislocated ankle. The home side were quicker to settle when play
resumed and another fine run by Catterick set up a try in the
corner for Hodgson.
Falcons may have only conceded three tries in nine previous
league matches, but Jersey crossed the line for the second time in
the match thanks to powerful runs by replacements Talite Vaioleti
and Dai Bishop, the Welshman finding Joe Buckle with the scoring
pass, and Mike Le Bourgeois' conversion making it 13-12.
Newcastle's third try on the hour was finished by some explosive
pace by new signing Noah Cato, although the officials were among a
tiny minority of those watching in failing to pick up a clear
knock-on during the build-up.
Falcons were largely in control during the latter stages,
although Jersey's defence held firm until Ollie Stedman scored the
bonus point try and then Gopperth made a classy break to set up
another new signing, Adam Powell, for the hosts' fifth try.
NEWCASTLE FALCONS: T Catterick, N Cato, A
Crockett, A Powell, R Shortland, J Hodgson (J Gopperth, 71), W Fury
(J Pasqualin, 84); G Shiells (J Golding, 54), R Vickers (M
Thompson, 54), K Brookes (J Hall, 71), S Tomes (S MacLeod, 54), J
Goode, M Wilson (J Hall, 39-49), W Welch (captain), O Stedman.
Replacement (not used): A Hogg
Scorers - Tries: T Catterick, J Hodgson, N Cato, O
Stedman, A Powell. Conversions: J Hodgson, J Gopperth 2. Penalties:
JERSEY: M Stelling, J Copsey, M McCrea (D
Bishop, 43), M Foster, E Dawson, M Le Bourgeois, D McCormack
(captain); R Barrington (S McCarthy, 62), E Taione (D Felton, 54),
J Brennan (J Gethings, 78), R Anderson, D Markham, K Lang (T
Vaioleti, 40), J Buckle, F Silcock. Replacements (not used): D
Sanders, J Voss
Scorers - Tries: M Stelling, J Buckle. Conversion:
M Le Bourgeois.
Referee: M Mitrea (Italy).
Why not get yourself a Hot Pot (Curry or Chilli served with rice) in the supporters marquee £8 per pot.