Craig Willis

Falcons Development Team 38 Northampton Wanderers 21

Monday 12 September 2016

Newcastle Falcons’ Development Team began the Aviva A-League season with an emphatic home victory over Northampton Wanderers on Monday night.

The Falcons flew out of the blocks and had the four-try bonus point secured by the half-hour, taking a 24-7 lead into half-time.

The first try arrived on seven minutes when scrum-half Sam Egerton, an effervescent presence throughout, sniped over from a yard, the move having been started by Dan Temm’s midfield run and a series of rucks.

Craig Willis slotted the conversion in an accomplished performance from the fly-half, the home side doubling their lead on 11 minutes when hooker Ben Sowrey scored the first of his two tries in the right corner.

Northampton got themselves into the game when a long midfield pass was intercepted by centre Rory Hutchinson for a 40-metre run-in, Newcastle enjoying an almost constant supply of territory and possession as Joshua Chisanga and Temm were among the many willing carriers.

The third try duly arrived before the half-hour when the Falcons kicked a penalty to the corner and drove over in textbook fashion, Sowrey at the back of the advancing swarm of black as the summer signing continued his scoring streak.

Replacement Max Davies secured the bonus point when Egerton’s quick tap and offload freed the replacement back-row forward in the left corner, the visitors reduced to 14 men with the final act of the half when lock Jordan Onojaife arrived late at a midfield scuffle and saw yellow for his troubles.

The second half brought with it no let-up in intensity despite Newcastle ringing the changes, American lock Nick Civetta dotting down his first try for the club with a predatory effort round the fringes of a close-range breakdown.

Willis converted brilliantly into the wind from wide left, Northampton finding a second try just before the hour mark when right wing Howard Packman claimed a cross-kick and regained his footing to wriggle over the line.

Skipper Alex Tait led by example with a brilliant turnover near his own line to prevent a certain score, his side scoring their last try via impressive replacement scrum-half Reiss Cullen before Northampton had the final say when centre Juan Pablo Estelles dotted down in the dying embers.

Newcastle Falcons Development Team: 15 Alex Tait (captain), 14 Ben Stevenson, 13 Belisario Agulla, 12 Fred Burdon, 11 Zach Kibirige, 10 Craig Willis, 9 Sam Egerton; 1 Sam Lockwood, 2 Ben Sowrey, 3 Paddy Ryan, 4 Andrew Davidson, 5 Nick Civetta, 6 Joshua Chisanga, 7 Dan Temm, 8 Ally Hogg

Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Max Davies, 20 Jack Johnson, 21 Reiss Cullen, 22 Brett Connon, 23 Dan Marshall.

Falcons scorers – Tries: Sam Egerton, Ben Sowrey 2, Max Davies, Nick Civetta, Reiss Cullen. Conversions: Craig Willis 4.

Northampton Wanderers: 15 George Furbank, 14 Tom Collins, 13 Juan Pablo Estelles, 12 Rory Hutchinson, 11 Howard Packman, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Tom Kessell; 1 Ethan Waller, 2 Charlie Clare, 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Alex Moon, 5 Jordan Onojaife, 6 Calum Clark, 7 Lewis Ludlam, 8 Sion Bennett.

Replacements: 16 Reece Marshall, 17 Matt Beesley, 18 Adam Parkins, 20 Alex Rayment, 21 Devante Onojaife, 22 Tom Emery, 23 James Grayson.

Sin bin: Jordan Onojaife (39, 78).

Northampton scorers – Tries: Rory Hutchinson, Howard Packman, Juan Pablo Estelles. Conversions: Sam Olver 3.

Referee: Steve Lee.

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