The Reds played a full part in an entertaining encounter that lifted the spirits of almost 3,800 spectators looking to get over the disappointment of England’s World Cup final defeat earlier in the day.The visitors held their own during the first half and were level with their table-topping hosts at 14-14 after 50 minutes before the Falcons upped the tempo in the final half-hour – just as they had in the Championship Cup tie at Stade Santander International in September.
The home side missed some chances to get on the scoreboard in the early stage, but the scoreboard remained unmoved until the Reds scored the opening try after 26 minutes thanks to a well-judged kick by Jack Stapley, with Auguy Slowik following up to pounce on the ball and cross. Brendan Cope converted.
The Falcons hit back with two tries in quick succession – former Jersey back row man Gary Graham from a rolling maul, and then straight from the restart Tom Penny fed Tom Arscott for a 45-metre sprint to the line.
Slowik returned the favour for Stapley soon after the break with a deft kick of his own following a lineout steal by Jake Upfield: debutant Brendan Owen was first to the ball and then flipped it inside for Stapley to finish. The clutch of Reds supporters making a 36-hour pilgrimage to the Toon via the club’s charter flight could dream of a famous scalp.
But the Falcons showed they could find another gear with three quickfire tries: back row man Nemani Nagusa following a series of attacks after Graham turned over Red ball following a defensive scrum ; Graham again following a powerful break by Sinoti Sinoti and a scoring pass from Nagusa; and an eye-catching 70-metre effort from Adam Radwan in which the winger beat or outpaced five opponents.
The result may have been settled going into the final 10 minutes, but the Reds continued to press and worked replacement hooker TJ Harris over from a rolling maul for the third try. A bonus point was in the offing, but in pushing for this as Luc Jones ran a quick penalty out of his 22 there was an interception by former England man Toby Flood, who was able to stroll over for his team’s sixth and final try.
pic by Simon Hall – more shots at Jersey RFC Facebook page
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Arscott (Alex Tait, 67), 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Tom Penny (Ben Stevenson, 69), 12 Toby Flood, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Michael Young (captain, Sam Stuart, 65); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Trevor Davison, 48), 2 Kyle Cooper (Jamie Blamire, 48), 3 Rodney Ah You (Mark Tampin, 48), 4 Sebastian de Chaves (Greg Peterson, 65), 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Callum Chick, 7 Gary Graham, 8 Nemani Nagusa (Simon Uzokwe, 69).