Bath 13 Falcons 20

Saturday 25 September 2021

Newcastle Falcons recorded their first victory of the Gallagher Premiership season on Saturday, winning at The Rec for the second season running.

Surging into a 20-3 half-time lead in a performance brimming with power and passion, their joy was tempered only by their failure to secure the four-try bonus point against a Bath side who grew into the game as it wore on.

Newcastle began the afternoon with a spring in their step, Bath old boy Carl Fearns flying into contact and forming part of a pack which earned repeated red-zone penalties.

Collapsed scrums close to the Bath try-line frustrated the Falcons pack – the sense of injustice multiplied when the home side were then awarded a free kick and a relieving penalty as the visitors’ early pressure went unrewarded.

That was at least until the 13th minute, when a George McGuigan steal at the back of a Bath lineout created the platform from which Adam Radwan scored – the England winger stepping two men and powering his way to the right corner from 20 metres out.

Will Haydon-Wood fired just wide with the touchline conversion, but found his target two minutes later with a penalty from a more central position – Louis Schreuder’s perfectly-weighted box kick giving Bath man and ball on their own 22, a position from which an eager Falcons pack forced the referee’s whistle.

Bath missed an opportunity to get themselves off the mark when Orlando Bailey pushed wide a penalty from 35 metres out, the fly-half making amends from in front if the posts on 27 minutes with a second penalty attempt.

Haydon-Wood fired wide as Newcastle attempted a longer-range penalty just after the half-hour, but his side took a ten-point lead following Iwan Stephens’ try in the left corner.

The teenage flyer somehow grounded the ball just inside the flag after the ball was worked to the short-side from a close-range maul – Newcastle earning the field position on the back of strong scrum pressure which forced repeated penalties.

Another such penalty secured the Falcons a 20-3 half-time lead, a line-out on the Bath 22 seeing George McGuigan racing to the try-line from a set move at the back – Haydon-Wood this time adding the conversion.

Newcastle continued their momentum during the early exchanges of the second half, Bath changing both of their props during the break but still enduring a torrid time against the Falcons’ scrum.

The home side were reduced to 14 men when Miles Reid was sent to the sin bin following a string of red-zone penalties against his side, but still managed to gain some momentum with a number of phases in Falcons territory.

Newcastle’s defence managed to hold firm – at least up until the 71st minute, when a ruck near the posts saw the ball spun right for centre Max Ojomoh to score a converted try.

That left the Falcons ten points up going into the closing stages – Dean Richards’ men having enough to hold on for the win, but allowing Bath a bonus point with a last-minute penalty.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Iwan Stephens, 10 Will Haydon-Wood (Brett Connon, 50), 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Adam Brocklebank, 2 George McGuigan (Jamie Blamire, 71), 3 Richard Palframan (Mark Tampin, 31), 4 Greg Peterson (Marco Fuser, 71), 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Philip van der Walt, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Carl Fearns (Gary Graham, 61).

Scorers - Tries: Adam Radwan, Iwan Stephens, George McGuigan. Conversions: Will Haydon-Wood. Penalties: Will Haydon-Wood.

Bath Rugby: 15 Tom de Glanville, 14 Semesa Rokoduguni, 13 Jonathan Joseph (Max Clark, 61), 12 Max Ojomoh, 11 Will Muir, 10 Orlando Bailey, 9 Ollie Fox (Max Green, 61); 1 Juan Schoeman (Beno Obano, 40), 2 Tom Dunn (Jacques du Toit, 48), 3 Johannes Jonker (D’Arcy Rae, 40), 4 Mike Williams (Jaco Coetzee, 53), 5 Charlie Ewels (captain), 6 Miles Reid, 7 Sam Underhill (Tom Ellis, 11), 8 Josh Bayliss.

Scorers - Tries: Max Ojomoh. Conversions: Orlando Bailey. Penalties: Orlando Bailey 2.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys. Attendance: 12,569.

Bath Rugby 13

Ojomoh 70

Bailey 71

Bailey 27,85

Newcastle Falcons 20

Radwan 11
Stephens 34
McGuigan 39

Haydon-Wood 41

Haydon-Wood 16

Bath Rugby

de Glanville, Rokoduguni, Joseph, Ojomoh, Muir, Bailey, Fox, Schoeman, Dunn, Jonker, Williams, Ewels, Reid, Underhill, Bayliss

Replacements du Toit, Obano, Rae, Ellis, Coetzee, Green, Butt, Clark

Newcastle Falcons

Penny, Radwan, Stevenson, Lucock, Stephens, Haydon-Wood, Schreuder, Brocklebank, McGuigan, Palframan, Peterson, Robinson, van der Walt, Welch, Fearns

Replacements Blamire, Cooper, Tampin, Fuser, Graham, Nordli-Kelemeti, Connon, Wacokecoke

referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys

assistant: Dean Richards

assistant: John Meredith

TMO: David Rose

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