Falcons 19 - 29 Bath

Friday 10 April 2015

Newcastle Falcons were made to pay against a clinical Bath side who continued their quest for a home Aviva Premiership semi-final.

Agonisingly ending just a kick outside of bonus point range after George Ford's late penalty, the Falcons showed plenty of elbow-grease and scored a sensational solo try through Sinoti Sinoti.

But it was not enough to gain a share of the spoils as Bath's returning England players made their presence felt, establishing a 19-13 half-time lead and building on it thereafter.

Newcastle's solid set-piece platform had handed them the early advantage when a dominant scrum saw referee JP Doyle blowing in their favour, Rory Clegg stepping up to slot the long-range penalty.

The returning fly-half marked his recall with a solid hour in which he distributed well to his outside runners, kicking four from four and offering a territorial threat.

But two tries conceded within six minutes cost them dear, the first coming after a massive defensive effort had seen them witholding Bath's catch-and-drive in the left corner.

From the resulting five-metre scrum Ollie Devoto grounded between the posts, the centre using his physical edge to blast between defenders from first-receiver.

England fly-half Ford converted, Bath over the try-line for a second time when Jonathan Joseph's miss pass found Semesa Rokoduguni in space.

The England Saxons man sped into the right corner, Newcastle chipping away at the deficit through Clegg's second penalty on 24 minutes.

Kane Thompson's line-out mastery and their continued nudge in the scrum saw the Falcons given a steady stream of ball to work with, producing a try out of nothing when Sinoti Sinoti played an advantage to brilliant effect.

The Samoan winger left a whole string of defenders in his wake as he jinked to the line, showing Rokoduguni a clean pair of heels before diving inside the left corner post. Clegg stepped up to slot the touchline conversion for a one-point lead, the frustration palpable as they failed to take it into the interval.

England wing Anthony Watson was the man to inflict the blow, hitting the line with perfect timing as his running angle put him through a hole for a converted score. Ford's conversion ensured a 19-13 half-time lead, one Bath built on early into the second half.

Watson was again at the heart of it, the speedster's break setting in motion an attack which ended with Matt Banahan scoring from another inside pop.

Neither side managed to breach the try-line in the 35 minutes which remained, though it was not for the want of trying.

Clegg chipped three off Bath's lead with a penalty from close range before Tom Catterick entered the fray aroundthe hour mark, his first act kicking a penalty to touch for a line-out in prime position.

The resulting rolling maul saw Bath reduced to 14 men when Carl Fearns was sent to the sin-bin, Catterick slotting a penalty to get within bonus point range.

That was taken away from his side with just five minutes on the clock, Ford sending over his first penalty of the night.

It was a cruel blow to a Newcastle side who kept going to the last, but were ultimately undone by the class and precision of their visitors.

NEWCASTLE FALCONS: S Hammersley, C Harris, A Powell (captain, G Tiesi, 55), JP Socino, S Sinoti, R Clegg (T Catterick, 62), R Tipuna (T Takulua, 69); R Vickers (E Fry, 51), S Lawson (G McGuigan, 55), K Brookes (JP Orlandi, 72), C Green (J Furno, 55), D Barrow, R Mayhew (S Robinson, 40), M Wilson, C York. Falcons scorers – Tries: S Sinoti. Conversions: R Clegg. Penalties: R Clegg 3, T Catterick.

BATH: A Watson, S Rokoduguni, J Joseph, O Devoto, M Banahan, G Ford, P Stringer (M Young, 69); N Auterac (P James, 55), R Batty, M Lahiff (K Palma-Newport, 51), M Garvey (D Attwood, 51), D Day, S Burgess (C Fearns, 60), F Louw (captain), L Houston (A Faosiliva, 75).

Sin-bin: C Fearns (66)

Bath scorers – Tries: O Devoto, S Rokoduguni, A Watson, M Banahan. Conversions: G Ford 3. Penalties: G Ford.

Referee: JP Doyle. Attendance: 7,492.

Newcastle Falcons 19

Tries
Sinoti 32

Conversions
Clegg 33

Penalties
Clegg 5,24,48
Catterick 69

Bath 29

Tries
Devoto 9
Rokoduguni 16
Watson 40
Banahan 43

Conversions
Ford 10,41,44

Penalties
Ford 73

Newcastle Falcons

Hammersley, Harris, Powell, Socino, Sinoti, Clegg, Tipuna, Vickers, Lawson, Brookes, Green, Thompson, Mayhew, Wilson, York

Replacements McGuigan, Fry, Orlandi, Furno, Robinson, Takulua, Catterick, Tiesi

Bath

Watson, Rokoduguni, Joseph, Devoto, Banahan, Ford, Stringer, Auterac, Batty, Lahiff, Garvey, Day, Burgess, Louw, Houston

Replacements Webber, James, Palma-Newport, Attwood, Fearns, Fa'osiliva, Young, Homer

referee: JP Doyle

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