Ben Stevenson was among the Falcons' try-scorers

Falcons A 59 Wasps A 27

Sunday 23 December 2018

Premiership Rugby Shield Northern Conference leaders Newcastle Falcons battled back from 17-0 down to take maximum points from Sunday’s home game with Wasps at Kingston Park Stadium.

Wasps started brightly and took the lead inside seven minutes when lock Tim Cardall scored from a supporting line down the left hand side, Jacob Umaga adding the conversion.

The Falcons were intent on playing the game at pace, Adam Radwan attacking from his own 22 and Sam Stuart tapping a quick penalty as they searched for their first try. But it was Wasps who found the next points when Umaga slotted a touchline penalty to take their lead to double figures.

The visitors built on their lead with a converted try down the left from a driven maul, but the Falcons got off the mark on 23 minutes when skipper Callum Chick supported a line-break to dot down in the left corner.

Josh Hodge added the conversion, and the home side narrowed the deficit to five points just before the half-hour when Chick crossed for his second try, Newcastle playing advantage to good effect and scoring in the right corner with quick hands down the short-side.

Umaga’s long-range penalty from a central position extended Wasps’ lead to eight just after the half-hour, Newcastle cutting that down to one when centre Pedro Bettencourt crossed for their third try down the right, converted by Hodge.

The bonus point try arrived with the final play of the half when Jack Payne scored from the back of a line-out, the set-piece coming as a result of a 70-metre break from Morgan Passman after winning a turnover near his own try-line.

That put the hosts 26-20 up at the break, Newcastle continuing their momentum after half-time when Adam Radwan hit an inside angle for try number five, Connor Collett’s line-break having set up the ruck ten metres out.

The sixth try was not long in coming, Josh Hodge hitting a lovely outside line and grubbering to the in-goal, where his perfectly-weighted kick was grounded by Ben Stevenson.

Stevenson’s second try arrived just after the hour mark when the centre sped in down the right from a two-on-one, Jamie Blamire laying on the scoring pass and Hodge once again converting.

Collett grounded the next score from a driving maul in the left corner to take the home side past the half-century, Sunni Jardine hitting back for Wasps on 71 minutes when he broke through the middle for a converted try.

Hodge crossed in the left corner from a Bettencourt offload to resume Newcastle’s dominance, converting his own score in the closing minutes of a convincing home victory.

Newcastle Falcons A: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Morgan Passman, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pedro Bettencourt, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, 9 Sam Stuart; 1 Sami Mavinga, 2 Santiago Socino, 19 Jack Payne, 4 Will Montgomery, 5 Bailey Ransom (Newcastle University), 6 Callum Chick (captain), 7 Connor Collett, 8 Simon Uzokwe.

Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Matty Woodward (Newcastle University), 19 Tom Marshall, 20 Guy Graham, 21 Ruaridh Dawson, 22 Josh Bragman (Northumbria University), 23 Charlie Wilson.

Wasps A: 15 Sunni Jardine, 14 Callum Sirker, 13 Cameron Anderson, 12 Will Simonds, 11 Tom Stileman, 10 Jacob Umaga, 9 Will Flinn (Coventry Rugby); 1 Ben Onyeama-Christie, 2 Gabriel Oghre (captain), 3 David Langley, 4 Josh Fenner, 5 Tim Cardall, 6 Kieran Curran, 7 Will Wilson, 8 Tom Willis.

Replacements: 16 Ollie Adams (London Scottish), 17 George Thornton, 18 Antony Dickinson (Rotherham Titans), 19 Elliott Ward, 20 James Seabrook, 21 Josh Nott, 22 Taju Atta.

Referee: Keith Allan.

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