Newcastle Falcons became the latest side to suffer at the hands of unbeaten Gallagher Premiership leaders Leicester Tigers on Sunday.
Trailing 17-0 at the interval, they conceded a further 14 points after the break as both sides toiled away in difficult conditions at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.
It was Leicester who opened the scoring after just three minutes, George Ford slotting a penalty from the 22 following a defensive offside from the visitors before a score-less half-hour ensued.
Tigers kicked a penalty to the corner without return on ten minutes as the Falcons’ rearguard stood firm – a wet ball and a sticky surface limiting the running and handling fluidity of both teams.
The hosts had a claim for a try denied by the TMO on 19 minutes when Ben Youngs kicked to the corner – a simultaneous grounding seeing touch-in-goal called by Ian Tempest.
Physicality and industry was in no short supply, but continuity was understandably lacking as both packs slugged it out in the tight exchanges.
It was therefore not surprising when a driving maul produced the first try of the afternoon, Tigers kicking a penalty to the left corner, from where as a 13-man maul ground its way to the try-line.
Ford added the conversion to take Leicester’s lead to double figures, and they were 17-0 up at half-time thanks to a 38th-minute try from Matt Scott. The centre was quickest to react when Newcastle spilled a Tigers’ chip over the top from 20 metres out, with Ford again adding the simple conversion.
A cagey start to the second half saw the majority of the game being played in the middle third, with neither team wanting to be caught in possession.
Once things eventually evolved into a more fluid phase it was again Tigers who first troubled the scorers – George Martin hitting a hard line against the grain to score in the right corner after 56 minutes.
Ford again converted, the home side’s thirst for a bonus point remaining unquenched on 61 minutes when Newcastle’s defensive maul saw them held up over the line.
Adam Radwan was on the defensive money to thwart a cross-field kick attempt to Harry Potter in the right corner as the game entered its final ten minutes, and the visitors finally enjoyed some ball-in hand during the closing exchanges, kicking a penalty to the right corner without return.
Despite their best efforts they were to remain score-less, with Leicester adding a bonus point through Harry Potter's last-minute try.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Mateo Carreras, 13 Matias Orlando (Tom Penny, 43), 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Joel Hodgson (Brett Connon, 56), 9 Louis Schreuder (Sam Stuart, 56); 1 Kyle Cooper (Logovi’i Mulipola, 52), 2 Charlie Maddison (Robbie Smith, 56), 3 Trevor Davison (Mark Tampin, 56), 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Sean Robinson, 6 Philip van der Walt, 7 Will Welch (captain, Gary Graham, 61), 8 Carl Fearns (Callum Chick, 56).
Leicester Tigers: 15 Freddie Steward, 14 Harry Potter, 13 Matt Scott (Matias Moroni, 68), 12 Dan Kelly, 11 Guy Porter, 10 George Ford (Freddie Burns, 66), 9 Ben Youngs; 1 Ellis Genge (captain, Nephi Leatigaga, 56)), 2 Julián Montoya (Charlie Clare, 66), 3 Dan Cole (Joe Heyes, 61), 4 Eli Snyman, 5 Calum Green, 6 Harry Wells, 7 Tommy Reffell (Nic Dolly, 66), 8 George Martin.
Scorers – Tries: Julian Montoya, Matt Scott, George Martin, Harry Potter. Conversions: George Ford 3, Freddie Burns. Penalties: George Ford.
Referee: Karl Dickson. Attendance: 22,515.
Steward, Potter, Scott, Kelly, Porter, Ford, Youngs, Genge, Montoya, Cole, Snyman, Green, Wells, Reffell, Martin
Replacements Clare, Leatigaga, Heyes, Murimurivalu, Dolly, van Poortvliet, Burns, Moroni
Brown, Carreras, Orlando, Burrell, Radwan, Hodgson, Schreuder, Cooper, Maddison, Davison, Peterson, Robinson, van der Walt, Welch, Fearns
Replacements Smith, Mulipola, Tampin, Chick, Graham, Stuart, Connon, Penny
referee: Karl Dickson
assistant: Anthony Woodthorpe
assistant: Dean Richards
TMO: Ian Tempest