Newcastle Falcons emerged victorious in the first of their scheduled games against the new Scottish Super6 franchises, defeating Heriots at a rain-swept Kingston Park Stadium on Sunday.
Leading 14-0 at half-time and building on their lead thereafter, a scrappy game was inevitable due to the torrential rain in which it was played.
Newcastle were put through their defensive paces early on by a Heriot’s team intent on keeping the ball in hand, the wall of black standing firm and earning some quick territorial gains through the boot of Brett Connon, the Falcons fly-half probing the corners well.
Nemani Nagusa was among the effective home carriers breaching the gain line in an energetic start, Tom Marshall winning a jackal penalty on halfway in an opening quarter high on industry but low on points.
On two occasions the Falcons kicked penalties to the left corner but failed to turn the line-outs into points, Heriot’s defending gamely frustrating their hosts until the deadlock was eventually broken on 28 minutes.
That was when captain lock Bailey Ransom peeled away from the back of a driving maul 10 metres out and wriggled through two tackles to ground the ball, Brett Connon adding the conversion from wide out.
The Falcons doubled their lead seven minutes later when a period of patient phase play eventually saw hooker Charlie Maddison running through the last man to score a converted try down the left, Montgomery and Charlie Wilson having helped get them into scoring position with some penetrating runs.
That brought Newcastle’s half-time lead to 14-0, a figure which grew on 52 minutes when Connon’s diagonal run and pass to the width freed full-back Will Haydon-Wood for a walk-in.
A scrappy second half finally delivered further points on 72 minutes when replacement wing Aedan Moloney pilfered an interception just inside his own half, racing down the right-hand side to score, Connon adding the conversion.
Newcastle Falcons XV: 15 Will Haydon-Wood, 14 Femi Sofolarin (Newcastle Uni, England 7s), 13 Charlie Wilson, 12 Joel Matavesi, 11 Chidera Obonna, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti; 1 Conrad Cade, 2 Charlie Maddison, 3 Oscar Caudle, 4 Will Montgomery (captain), 5 Bailey Ransom, 6 Josh Basham, 7 Tom Marshall, 8 Nemani Nagusa.
Replacements: 16 Drew Thompson (U18s, AASE, Alnwick RFC), 17 Matty Woodward (Newcastle Uni, Tynedale), 18 Freddie Lockwood, 19 Charlie Richards, 20 Guy Graham, 21 Callum Pascoe, 22 James Magee (Yorkshire Carnegie), 23 Aedan Moloney (Darlington Mowden Park).
Falcons scorers - Tries: Bailey Ransom, Charlie Maddison Will Haydon-Wood, Aedan Moloney. Conversions: Brett Connon 3.
Heriot's: 15 Ross Jones, 14 Rory McMichael, 13 James Spencer, 12 Robert Kay, 11 James Couper, 10 Stuart Edwards, 9 Alex Ball; 1 Andrew Nimmo, 2 Michael Lines, 17 Dan Gamble, 4 Adam Sinclair, 5 Ronan Seydak, 6 Ruaridh Leishman, 7 Jack McClean, 8 Iain Wilson (captain).
Replacements: 16 Ali Johnstone, 18 Cameron Hutchison, 3 Struan Cessford, 19 Robbie Chalmers, 20 Andrew Simmers, 21 Scott Robson, 22 Scott King.
Referee: Anthony Woodthorpe.