Will Montgomery carries the ball in attack

Falcons 33 Doncaster 29

Saturday 4 September 2021

Newcastle Falcons made it two wins in under 24 hours on Saturday when they defeated Doncaster Knights in their only home pre-season friendly.

Having won 12-7 away at Glasgow the night before, their squad depth was in full evidence as a largely-youthful side took the honours in a full-blooded contest against the Championship outfit.

Newcastle began the game with real purpose and led 21-3 at half-time, crafting the game’s first scoring opportunity on nine minutes when a scrum on the 22 saw the ball worked left through the hands to Alex Tait.

The full-back hit a super line but knocked on just inches short of the left corner after enterprising build-up play from Will Haydon-Wood and Chidera Obonna, and they had to be on their defensive game in the following moments to repel an enthusiastic Knights side.

But it was Newcastle who finally broke the deadlock on 19 minutes, kicking a penalty to the right corner and earning a try through their driving maul – Logovi’i Mulipola emerging from underneath a heap of bodies with a big smile on his face.

Haydon-Wood converted brilliantly from the right touchline, and was adding his second conversion just two minutes later when Adam Radwan raced 50 metres down the left wing to dot down at now-trademark speed.

Doncaster fly-half Sam Olver responded with a penalty from just outside the 22 to get the Knights on the scoreboard, but the Falcons led 21-3 at the interval thanks to a Jamie Blamire try from a quick tap penalty – again converted by Haydon-Wood.

Doncaster emerged pumped up for the second half, and earned their reward on 47 minutes when a penalty was kicked to the corner. Replacement hooker George Roberts steered a maul to the try-line, Sam Olver converting well from the right touchline.

Newcastle had to wait until after the hour mark to add to their tally when Connor Collett scored from a catch-and-drive in the left corner, but the Yorkshiremen were making a real fist of it and responded quickly with a try of their own down the right through scrum-half Gus Warr.

The Falcons didn’t take it lying down, and added a fifth of their own on 73 minutes when a close-range tapped penalty from Robbie Smith was worked left to Radwan on the short-side – the winger powering over for his second of the afternoon.

Louie Johnson converted brilliantly from the left touchline, Doncaster finding a late flurry with tries from George Edgson and Kyle Evans.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Chidera Obonna, 13 Zach Kerr, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Will Haydon-Wood, 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti; 1 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 Jamie Blamire, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 Matthew Dalton, 5 Will Montgomery, 6 Freddie Lockwood, 7 Connor Collett, 8 Tom Marshall.

Replacements: 16 Robbie Smith, 17 Mark Dormer, 18 Oscar Caudle, 19 George Merrick, 20 Marcus Tiffen, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Ewan Greenlaw, 23 Louie Johnson, [blank shirts]: Matt Deehan, James Blackett, Ollie Fletcher.

Scorers – Tries: Logovi’i Mulipola, Adam Radwan 2, Jamie Blamire, Connor Collett. Conversions: Will Haydon-Wood 3, Louie Johnson.

Doncaster Knights: 15 Billy McBryde, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Fraser Strachan, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Jack Spittle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conrad Cade, 2 Will Holling, 3 Andy Foster, 4 Danny Drake, 5 Josh Peters, 6 John Kelly, 7 Sam Graham, 8 Guido Volpi.

Replacements: 16 George Roberts, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Ronan McCusker, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Gus Warr, 22 Maliq Holden, 23 Harry Davey, [blank shirts], George Edgson, Thom Smith, Sam Hudson, Joe Margetts.

Scorers – Tries: George Roberts, Gus Warr, George Edgson, Kyle Evans. Conversions: Sam Olver, Billy McBryde 2. Penalties: Sam Olver.

Referee: Andrew Jackson.

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