Falcons 24 Worcester 24

Saturday 27 November 2021

It was honours even at Kingston Park Stadium in Saturday’s rescheduled Gallagher Premiership fixture, as Worcester Warriors produced a late leveller.

Kyle Cooper’s bonus-point try looked to have settled proceedings six minutes from time, only for Billy Searle to draw the visitors level in horrendous playing conditions.

It took a superhuman whole-club effort to get the game on to begin with as Storm Arwen bashed the North East of England, with sub-zero temperatures and heavy snow greeting the two teams.

Handling errors were an inevitability in such awful conditions, but the Falcons began the game with their trademark physicality.

A close-range maul in the left corner threatened the first points as Newcastle kicked a penalty to touch, only for the ball to squirt free from frozen hands, and it was Worcester who ended up breaking the deadlock when Fin Smith slotted a penalty from the right on 15 minutes.

Their lead lasted less than 10 minutes as Newcastle kicked a penalty to the left corner to score from the driving maul, Warriors hooker Scott Baldwin having been sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on.

The home side reinforced their dominance with a second try on 25 minutes, earning a line-out 30 metres out from a superb kick-chase from Adam Radwan, who went on to score from the resulting set-piece when hit a line against the grain from 30 metres out.

Hodgson added the conversion, but the home side’s half-time lead was cut to just two points with the last play of the opening period when centre Ashley Beck scored a converted try in the right corner from a charged-down clearance kick.

The Warriors then claimed the opening points of the second half, Kyle Hetherell scoring in the right corner after Radwan had prevented scrum-half Gareth Simpson from scoring with the previous phase.

Newcastle drew level on 55 minutes when they kicked a close-range penalty to the right corner and delivered another driving maul try for McGuigan, the atrocious conditions limiting the attacking ambitions of both back lines.

Scrambling defence from Tom Penny and Radwan prevented another Warriors try as they broke down the short-side to get within a whisker of the line, and a crucial jackal penalty was required to save further damage as Newcastle turned over a ruck in front of their own posts.

Still level at 17-17 past the hour mark, the Falcons kept pressing, mounting a big maul down the right into the Worcester 22, from where Pete Lucock broke the line. His attempted offload out of the tackle just went to ground ahead of the supporting Ben Stevenson – the tension palpable within the stadium.

The Falcons were held up over the try-line on 68 minutes after a multi-phase attack, but found a bonus-point try on 74 minutes when prop Kyle Cooper raced in from 25 metres.

Worcester drew level again almost instantly when Billy Searle crossed in the left corner, leaving the sides to share the points in a dramatic finale.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 George Wacokecoke (Tom Penny, 7), 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Ben Stevenson (Will Haydon-Wood, 68), 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Louis Schreuder (Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 78); 1 Adam Brocklebank (Kyle Cooper, 69), 2 George McGuigan (Jamie Blamire, 69), 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Philip van der Walt, 7 Will Welch (captain), 8 Carl Fearns (Callum Chick, 68).

Scorers – Tries: George McGuigan 2, Adam Radwan, Kyle Cooper. Conversions: Joel Hodgson 2.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Jamie Shillcock, 14 Alex Hearle (Tom Howe, 56), 13 Francois Venter (co-captain), 12 Ashley Beck (Billy Searle, 69), 11 Perry Humphreys, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Gareth Simpson (Will Chudley, 58), 1 Ethan Waller (Marc Thomas, 40), 2 Scott Baldwin, 3 Jay Tyack, 4 Matt Garvey, 5 Andrew Kitchener, 6 Kyle Hatherell, 7 Ted Hill (co-captain), 8 Sione Vailanu.

Scorers – Tries: Ashley Beck, Kyle Hetherell, Billy Searle. Conversions: Fin Smith 3. Penalties: Fin Smith.

Referee: Wayne Barnes. Attendance: 3,376.

Newcastle Falcons 24

Tries
McGuigan 20,53
Radwan 25
Cooper 72

Conversions
Hodgson 26,73

Worcester Warriors 24

Tries
Beck 40
Hatherell 47
Searle 74

Conversions
Smith 41,49,76

Penalties
Smith 15

Newcastle Falcons

Brown, Radwan, Wacokecoke, Lucock, Stevenson, Hodgson, Schreuder, Brocklebank, McGuigan, Davison, Peterson, Robinson, van der Walt, Welch, Fearns

Replacements Blamire, Cooper, Tampin, Chick, Graham, Nordli-Kelemeti, Haydon-Wood, Penny

Worcester Warriors

Shillcock, Hearle, Venter, Beck, Humphreys, Smith, Simpson, Waller, Baldwin, Tyack, Garvey, Kitchener, Hatherell, Hill, Vailanu

Replacements Annett, Thomas, Judge, Batley, Lewis, Chudley, Searle, Howe

referee: Wayne Barnes

TMO: Craig Maxwell-Keys

assistant: Hamish Smales

assistant: Jamie Leahy

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