Newcastle Falcons kept alive their hopes of Champions Cup rugby on Saturday by recording their third successive Gallagher Premiership home win – Worcester Warriors their victims at a sunny Kingston Park Stadium.
Leading 17-0 at half-time and wrapping up the four-try bonus point before the hour mark, Newcastle were roared all the way by their magnificent supporters as the return to live sport continued.
A flying Falcons side got off to the ideal start with a try-of-the-season contender from Adam Radwan just four minutes in.
Having kicked a penalty to the left corner the Falcons took off-the-top line-out ball and quickly worked it along the back-line with super-slick handling – Radwan completing an unbelievable finish with some aerial contortion as he grounded the ball from a seemingly impossible mid-air positon.
Worcester missed the chance to chip three off the home side’s lead when Duncan Weir’s 40-metre penalty from the left-hand side was fired wide of the posts, and a ruthless Falcons side made them pay almost immediately.
Winning a penalty inside their own half from a trademark Mark Wilson jackal, a power-packed Falcons maul marched 25 metres towards the right corner at a serious rate of knots, George McGuigan emerging from underneath a heap of bodies with a try to his name.
Brett Connon smashed over the touchline conversion, and the points kept on coming from a rampant home side, who led by 17 before the quarter mark when Adam Radwan chased his own kick to the left corner and finished with another dramatic dive.
Even when Worcester won a red-zone penalty and kicked it to the left corner they got no change out of the Newcastle defence – Will Welch pilfering the ball for the Falcons to clear the danger.
Weir once again sent a penalty wide of the posts when handed an opportunity from 40 metres out in a central position, and with the very last play the visitors again emerged empty-handed when they kicked a penalty to the corner, only for George McGuigan to hand Newcastle a jackal penalty.
That left the Falcons 17-0 up at the interval – a scrappy opening to the second seeing period seeing both sides failing to find the required levels of attacking fluency.
A spell of defensive power kept the Warriors at bay when a penalty was kicked to the left corner, Newcastle thwarting the maul before a couple of big hits from Callum Chick and a Trevor Davison jackal turnover eventually saw a relieving clearance.
The Falcons’ four-try bonus point finally arrived just before the hour mark, Sean Robinson the main to claim it as the rampaging lock hit a super midfield line from 25 metres out, stepping the fullback for good measure.
Connon obliged with the simple conversion, his side again denying Worcester from the close-range maul as the Warriors again kicked to the corner for no return.
The wall of black was eventually breached on 70 minutes when full-back Jamie Shillcock scored a converted try in the right corner following another big defensive spell from the Falcons, and Worcester managed a second when Ted Hill collected a bouncing ball three minutes from time.
It failed to entirely remove the gloss from what had been up until that point a dominant Falcons display, in which they claimed the full five points.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Joel Hodgson, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Orlando (Chidera Obonna, 38), 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George Wacokecoke, 10 Brett Connon (Alex Tait, 67), 9 Louis Schreuder (Michael Young, 53); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Kyle Cooper, 62), 2 George McGuigan (Jamie Blamire, 62), 3 Trevor Davison (Rodney Ah You, 62), 4 Greg Peterson (Philip van der Walt, 64), 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Will Welch, 7 Mark Wilson (captain, Carl Fearns, 66), 8 Callum Chick.
Scorers – Tries: Adam Radwan 2, George McGuigan, Sean Robinson. Conversions: Brett Connon 2.
Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Perry Humphreys (Harri Doel, 42), 13 Ollie Lawrence, 12 Francois Venter, 11 Noah Heward, 10 Duncan Weir (Alex Hearle, 72), 9 Francois Hougaard (Gareth Simpson, 53); 1 Marc Thomas (Ethan Waller, 25), 2 Beck Cutting (Niall Annett, 25), 3 Jay Tyack (Nick Schonert, 25), 4 Ted Hill (captain), 5 Graham Kitchener (Justin Clegg, 62), 6 Tom Dodd (GJ van Velze, 56), 7 Sam Lewis, 8 Matt Kvesic.
Scorers – Tries: Jamie Shillcock, Ted Hill. Conversions: Duncan Weir, Jamie Shillcock.
Referee: Luke Pearce.
Hodgson, Radwan, Orlando, Burrell, Wacokecoke, Connon, Schreuder, Brocklebank, McGuigan, Davison, Peterson, Robinson, Welch, Wilson, Chick
Replacements Blamire, Cooper, Ah You, Van Der Walt, Fearns, Young, Obonna, Tait
Shillcock, Humphreys, Lawrence, Venter, Heward, Weir, Hougaard, Thomas, Cutting, Tyack, Hill, Kitchener, Dodd, Lewis, Kvesic
Replacements Annett, Waller, Schonert, Clegg, van Velze, Simpson, Hearle, Doel
referee: Luke Pearce
assistant: Adam Leal
assistant: John Meredith
TMO: Sean Davey