The Falcons XV continued their unbeaten start to the season, claiming a fifth victory of the campaign as they defeated Super6 league leaders Watsonians in Melrose.
Leading 19-0 at half-time in a game which marked a welcome comeback for centre Johnny Williams following his recovery from testicular cancer, the centre put in a solid first half as he continued the quest for match fitness.
The Falcons had been forced to withstand some early pressure as Watsonians earned three scrum-five penalties, a passage which eventually ended with the Falcons winning a turnover at a ruck near their own try-line.
Captain Dom Waldouck departed with a head knock from his defensive efforts, Newcastle finally enjoying some ball-in-hand on 15 minutes when Hodge fielded a high bomb and fed Alex Tait, who linked with Brett Connon and Chidera Obonna.
That got the Falcons up to the 22 before Obonna’s attempted offload drifted forward, but a revitalised Newcastle XV were beginning to dominate territory and possession, scoring their first try on 22 minutes.
It all stemmed from an Obonna midfield break, the winger finding support from lock Bailey Ransom who found No 8 Callum Chick, the killer offload finding Josh Hodge two metres out as the winger wriggled inside the corner post to dot down.
Try number two arrived just after the half-hour when Newcastle kicked a penalty to the right corner, where hooker Charlie Maddison steered a driving maul over the line.
Connon slotted the conversion from out wide into the driving rain, scrum-half Callum Pascoe continuing the forward momentum when he mopped up messy scrum ball inside his own 22 and zipped away to half-way.
Newcastle secured a 19-0 half-time lead when Alex Tait scored in the left corner from a Josh Hodge wonder pass, the winger cutting out three Watsonians defenders to find his full-back after a turnover in the right corner and swift transfer along the line preceded Connon’s touchline conversion.
Newcastle began the second half with similar attacking intent, but found themselves on the receiving end when Ru Smith scored an unconverted try in the left corner for the Scots.
A scrappy quarter ensued with both sides rolling on the replacements and enjoying little in the way of continuity, but the deadlock was finally broken when Maddison crossed for his second and the Falcons’ fourth try of the day, once again from a driven maul.
The fifth was not long in following, Charlie Wilson dotting down to the left after a flowing move which saw front-rowers running and offloading before Will Haydon-Wood’s straightening angle opened the gap through which Wilson went.
Connon converted, Newcastle continuing their unbeaten streak against Super6 opposition.
Falcons XV: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Josh Hodge, 13 Dominic Waldouck (captain), 12 Johnny Williams, 11 Chidera Obonna, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Callum Pascoe; 1 Conrad Cade, 2 Charlie Maddison, 3 Oscar Caudle, 4 Bailey Ransom, 5 Rob Farrar, 6 Josh Basham, 7 Guy Graham, 8 Callum Chick.
Replacements: Phil Brantingham, George Williams (Northumbria University), 4 Bailey Ransom, Freddie Lockwood, Harry Hill, Connor Collett, Simon Uzokwe, Tom Marshall, Will Haydon-Wood, Charlie Wilson, Joel Matavesi.
Falcons scorers - Tries: Josh Hodge, Charlie Maddison 2, Alex Tait, Charlie Wilson. Conversions: Brett Connon 3.
Watsonians: 15 Jamie Forbes, 14 Kody Mcgovern, 13 Andrew Chalmers, 12 David Innes, 11 Angus Guthrie, 10 Lee Millar, 9 Murray Scott; 1 Sam Grahamslaw, 2 Cal Davies, 3 Jack Stanley, 4 Finlay Simpson, 5 Jamie Hodgson, 6 Michael Badenhorst, 7 James Miller, 8 Morgan Inness.
Replacements: Campbell Wilson, Harrison Courtney, William Gibson, Brian Leitch, Harry Fisher, Gregor Nelson, Ali Harris, Ewan Fox, Ru Smith, Lomond Macpherson.
Watsonians scorers - Tries: Ru Smith.