A dramatic late try from Callum Chick handed Newcastle Falcons a sensational home victory against Wasps on Saturday.
The home side led 8-0 at the break and had to play the last 25 minutes with 14 men following Tom Penny’s red card, but they found a way to win.
The Falcons flew out of the blocks and led 5-0 after as many minutes – Louis Schreuder hitting the club’s first ever 50-22 kick to earn the line-out in the right corner from which they built a scoring platform.
Set-piece ball was worked along the line, with build-up play from Tom Penny and Nathan Earle enabling Carl Fearns to bulldoze over in the left corner.
The No 8 was within a whisker of a second try on 11 minutes when a penalty was kicked to the corner – the Falcons’ maul being bundled into touch just a metre short of the corner post as the home side continued to flex their forward muscles.
Wasps had a shout for a try chalked off by the TMO when Will Haydon-Wood slid in to collect Marcus Watson’s dab to the in-goal – the Falcons’ scrum winning a relieving penalty from the resulting set-piece.
It was Newcastle who grabbed the next score, Will Haydon-Wood bisecting the uprights with a penalty from 25 metres out, just left of centre, following yet more enterprising work from his forward pack.
The Falcons were reduced to 14 men just before the half-hour when Schreuder was shown a yellow card for not retreating 10 metres at a quick tap, but Wasps failed to make it count as the TMO ruled out Tom Willis’ try from a maul in the left corner.
Haydon-Wood pulled wide with a long-range penalty as the home side tried and failed to reach double figures, but they held on to their 8-0 at the half-time whistle as opposite number Jacob Umaga missed the target with a penalty from closer in.
Driving wind and rain made the second half tougher going as the conditions began to deteriorate – Wasps having two red-zone incursions thwarted by jackal turnovers for Newcastle.
The visitors finally got their first points of the afternoon on 50 minutes when a penalty in the left corner saw Tom Cruse scoring after breaking away from the back of a driving maul, Umaga adding a well-judged conversion from the touchline.
Callum Chick was just metres short of a second Newcastle try as he raced from inside his own half on the intercept, but his side were dealt a major blow on 55 minutes when full-back Tom Penny was red-carded for an incident at a ruck near the Wasps try-line.
The remaining 14 men were not giving an inch, thwarting repeated Wasps attacks and winning a penalty around halfway through their dominant scrum as the clock ticked past the hour mark with the Falcons one point to the good.
It became 14 versus 14 for ten minutes when Vaea Fifita was shown yellow for a high tackle on Brett Connon – Newcastle’s replacement fly-half dusting himself down to hit the penalty between the posts to extend his side’s advantage to four points.
Wasps thought they had grounded the game’s decisive score, Tom Willis pouncing on a loose ball five minutes from time to register the try , but when Chick raced in from an 80-metre attack, the match was over.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Nathan Earle (George Wacokecoke, 73), 10 Will Haydon-Wood (Brett Connon, 47), 9 Louis Schreuder; 1 Adam Brocklebank (Kyle Cooper, 55), 2 George McGuigan (Jamie Blamire, 75), 3 Mark Tampin (Trevor Davison, 47), 4 Marco Fuser (Will Montgomery, 75), 5 Philip van der Walt, 6 Callum Chick, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Carl Fearns (Gary Graham, 59).
Scorers – Tries: Carl Fearns, Callum Chick. Conversions: Brett Connon. Penalties: Will Haydon-Wood, Brett Connon.
Wasps: 15 Ali Crossdale (Zach Kibirige, 49), 14 Marcus Watson, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Jimmy Gopperth, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Dan Robson; 1 Robin Hislop (Tom West, 50), 2 Tom Cruse, 3 Jeff Toomaga-Allen, 4 Vaea Fifita, 5 Elliott Stooke, 6 Brad Shields (captain), 7 Gabriel Oghre, 8 Tom Willis.
Scorers – Tries: Tom Cruse, Tom Willis. Conversions: Jacob Umaga 2.
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe. Attendance: 5,337.
Penny, Radwan, Stevenson, Lucock, Earle, Haydon-Wood, Schreuder, Brocklebank, McGuigan, Tampin, Fuser, van der Walt, Chick, Welch, Fearns
Replacements Blamire, Cooper, Davison, Montgomery, Graham, Nordli-Kelemeti, Connon, Wacokecoke
Crossdale, Watson, Spink, Gopperth, Bassett, Umaga, Robson, Hislop, Cruse, Toomaga-Allen, Fifita, Stooke, Shields, Oghre, Willis
Replacements Frost, West, Alo, Cardall, Morris, Porter, Simonds, Kibirige
assistant: Wayne Falla
TMO: Rowan Kitt
assistant: Hamish Smales
referee: Anthony Woodthorpe