George Wacokecoke scored a hat-trick of tries - pic credit: Rod Wetton

Doncaster 14 Falcons 43

Saturday 7 December 2019

Newcastle Falcons secured themselves a home quarter-final in the Championship Cup after continuing their unbeaten start to the season at Castle Park on Saturday.

Leading 17-7 at the break and putting their foot on the accelerator after half-time, Dean Richards’ men extended their winning streak to 11 games in all competitions by taking the full five points.

Newcastle got themselves off to the ideal start when George Wacokecoke crossed for a try between the posts just three minutes in, Joel Hodgson delivering an inside pop to the winger following a period of prolonged phase play.

Hodgson added the extras, but the teams were level again on 20 minutes when a spell of home pressure saw Doncaster kicking a penalty to the left corner where they earned a penalty try from a maul being pulled down.

That passage brought with it a yellow card for Falcons prop Sam Lockwood, but the Falcons did at least regain their lead when a scrum penalty enabled Hodgson to slot over three points from 35 metres out in a central position.

Newcastle dug in to survive their 10-minute numerical disadvantage without conceding a single point, this despite the home side enjoying the better of the territory and possession but not being able to find the final pass.

Newcastle, too, saw a scoring opportunity go begging when they turned down a simple kick at goal in favour of an attacking line-out which ended in a knock-on, but their persistence paid dividends with the last play of the half when Jamie Blamire went over from a textbook catch-and-drive.

Hodgson added the conversion from wide out on the right for a 17-7 half-time lead, and his side began the second 40 in the ascendancy with an early spell of ball-in-hand.

That was rewarded when Wacokecoke crossed for his second and his team’s third try of the afternoon, hitting an outside line down the left and beating the last three men with a combination of pace, power and footwork.

Hooker George McGuigan secured the four-try bonus point just before the hour mark when he came on from the bench for his 100th appearance, scoring from a catch-and-drive in the left corner within five minutes of entering the fray.

Hodgson slotted the extras from the touchline for a 15-point lead, and the Falcons had their firth try on 62 minutes when Ben Stevenson intercepted near his own line and went the length for a converted score.

Wacokecoke completed his hat-trick two minutes from time as he skipped into the right corner, Brett Connon adding the extras to round off a comprehensive victory.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 George Wacokecoke, 13 Tom Penny, 12 Dominic Waldouck, 11 Ben Stevenson, 10 Joel Hodgson (Brett Connon, 62), 9 Sam Stuart (Sonatane Takulua, 62); 1 Sam Lockwood (Adam Brocklebank, 52), 2 Jamie Blamire (George McGuigan, 52), 3 Mark Tampin (Mike Daniels, 52), 4 Sebastian de Chaves (Rob Farrar, 57), 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Philip van der Walt, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Nemani Nagusa (Callum Chick, 62).

Falcons scorers - Tries: George Wacokecoke 3, Jamie Blamire, George McGuigan, Ben Stevenson. Conversions: Joel Hodgson 4, Brett Connon. Penalties: Joel Hodgson.

Doncaster Knights: 15 Steve McColl (Cameron Cowell, 62), 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Connor Doherty, 12 Charlie Foley, 11 Howard Packman, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Tom James; 1 Robin Hislop (Marc Thomas, 53), 2 Ben Hunter (George Edgson, 58), 3 Dan Suter (Andrew Foster, 53), 4 Matt Challinor, 5 Rory Pitman (Joe Sproston, 56), 6 Wian Conradie, 7 Fotu Lokotui, 8 Tom Calladine (Michael Hills, 64).

Knights scorers - Tries: Penalty try, Tom James. Conversions: Sam Olver.

Referee: Fergus Kirby. Attendance: 1,468.

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