Newcastle Falcons’ second string continued the feelgood factor at the club by claiming the full five points in Sunday’s A-League clash with Worcester Cavaliers at Kingston Park Stadium, Zach Kibirige racing in for a hat-trick.
Newcastle enjoyed an early period of pressure with Max Davies stealing a Worcester line-out at the front, the Falcons gambling with an early penalty but failing to deliver any points as the visitors snuffed out an attack near their try-line.
Charlie Wilson’s hard, midfield running was keeping the Worcester defence honest, the centre breaking from inside his own 22 to set in motion a flowing move which saw Alex Tait, Dominic Waldouck and Santiago Socino getting deep into the visitors’ half.
That particular attack ended when referee Fergus Kirby blew for a penalty against the Falcons at ruck time, the sides remaining scoreless past the 25-minute mark.
It took some serious gas from Kibirige to break the deadlock, the winger sprinting 55 metres down the left tramlines to score a try which was brilliantly converted from wide out by makeshift scrum-half Brett Connon.
Within two minutes Kibirige had helped himself to a second, Waldouck catching Worcester’s defence napping at a midfield penalty. The centre sent a perfectly-weighted kick into the space in the 22, Kibirige racing at full steam and scooping the ball up to score without so much as a finger laid on him.
Connon’s touchline conversion thumped back off the upright, Newcastle ending the half with 14 men when Canada prop Jake Ilnicki was sin-binned for not rolling away.
Their 12-0 lead was still in place by the midway stage after some fine defensive jackal work from Sami Mavinga won a crucial penalty following a period of sustained attack close to the Newcastle line.
The Falcons began the second half on the front foot, kicking a penalty to the corner and almost finding a third try when Connon’s blind-side pop to Max Davies was just knocked on five metres from the line.
Worcester found a try on 50 minutes when centre Will Butler mopped up a loose midfield ball to race in from 40 metres, fly-half Paul Morgan converting to reduce the deficit to five.
They found a second shortly after when replacement hooker Beck Cutting was driven over from a maul in the left corner, the touchline conversion putting Worcester ahead for the first time all afternoon.
Tevita Cavubati and David Wilson both returned from long-term injuries as the Falcons bolstered their pack for the final quarter, but it was a pair of backs who conjured up their third try when Adam Radwan’s blistering run down the right was supported by Ben Stevenson, who collected the inside pass to score.
Ryan Burrows almost delivered the four-try bonus point when he cut against the grain to cross the try-line in a move started by the lively Stevenson, but the skipper was deemed to have been held up over the try-line.
The resulting scrum brought the bonus point when Callum Chick scored from a close range pick and go, Connon converting impressively from wide right to put his side 12 points ahead.
Kibirige’s hat-trick arrived on 77 minutes when the winger raced in excess of 50 metres to score down the left, Connon converting well from wide left, a trick he repeated with the very last play of the game after Chick had crossed for his second try from another pick and go.
Newcastle Falcons A: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Charlie Wilson, 11 Zach Kibirige, 10 Jual Pablo Socino, 9 Brett Connon; 1 Sami Mavinga, 2 Santiago Socino, 3 Jake Ilnicki, 4 Max Davies, 5 Andrew Davidson, 6 Jack Payne, 7 Callum Chick, 8 Ryan Burrows (captain).
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 David Wilson, 19 Tevita Cavubati, 20 Will Montgomery, 21 Cameron Cowell, 22 Ben Stevenson, 23 Adam Radwan.
Scorers - Tries: Zach Kibirige 3, Ben Stevenson, Callum Chick 2. Conversions: Brett Connon 5.
Worcester Cavaliers: 15 Nick David, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Alex Hearle, 12 Will Butler (captain), 11 Ciaran Leeson, 10 Paul Morgan, 9 George Wootten; 1 Kai Owen, 2 Matti Williams, 3 Joe Morris, 4 Justin Clegg, 5 Pierce Phillips, 6 Ted Hill, 7 Marco Mama, 8 Tom Dodd.
Replacements: 16 Beck Cutting, 17 Jonah Boyce , 18 Biyi Alo, 19 James Scott, 20 Andrew Durutalo, 21 Ross Goodwin, 22 Tom Lewis.
Scorers - Tries: Will Butler. Conversions: Paul Morgan.
Referee: Fergus Kirby