Newcastle Falcons were made to work hard for their 15th successive victory on Sunday after withstanding a valiant effort from bottom-of-the-table Yorkshire Carnegie.
The win extends the Falcons’ lead at the top of the Greene King IPA Championship table to nine points, but they led only 12-10 at half-time and had to wait until the 72nd minute for their four-try bonus point.
Newcastle began the game with plenty of intensity and willingness to keep the ball in hand, earning their first points on four minutes when Jamie Blamire’s line-break took him from half-way to the 22, where he fed Sonatane Takulua for a sprint to the left corner.
The home side hit back through a Ryan Shaw penalty from in front of the posts, Newcastle trying to add to their lead when Arscott chipped over the onrushing defensive line only for a cruel bounce of the ball to elude Tim Swiel 20 metres out.
There was a sting in the tail on 25 minutes when a charged-down clearance kick enabled home flanker Alex Humfrey to score a converted try between the posts, but their lead lasted less than a minute as the Falcons kicked a penalty to the left corner where Blamire scored from a catch-and-drive.
Joel Hodgson sent over the conversion, his side going on to steal a crucial lineout inside their own 22 as Yorkshire kicked a penalty to the right corner without return.
Neither side could find further points in what remained of the first half, Newcastle taking a 12-10 lead into the changing rooms after failing to convert another close-range line-out opportunity.
Yorkshire had the first chance to draw blood after the interval but Shaw’s 48-metre penalty attempt fell just short of the crossbar, Newcastle eventually finding the opening score of the half when Tim Swiel scored in the left corner from a simple transfer along the back line.
Hodgson converted impressively from the touchline, his side almost producing a bonus point just before the hour mark when a close-range pick-and-go saw them knocking on over the try-line.
Swiel was then held up over the try-line in the right corner as the pressure continued to build, but the bonus point finally arrived on 72 minutes when Callum Chick grounded from a five-metre scrum after five red-zone penalties, the home side losing prop Sione Faletau to the sin bin as a result.
Michael Young crossed for the fifth after collecting a Johnny Williams offload, and number six was a bit special as debutant Josh Hodge jinked his way out of his own 22 before turning on the turbos and sprinting to the left corner.
It proved to be the last scoring play of the day, Newcastle being made to work hard but ultimately getting what they had came for.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Josh Hodge, 13 Dominic Waldouck (captain), 12 Johnny Williams (George Wacokecoke, 74), 11 Tim Swiel, 10 Joel Hodgson (Brett Connon, 72), 9 Sonatane Takulua (Michael Young, 72); 1 Sam Lockwood (Trevor Davison, 52), 2 Jamie Blamire (Charlie Maddison, 52), 3 Logovi’I Mulipola (Mike Daniels, 52), 4 Greg Peterson (Toby Salmon, 72), 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 6 Callum Chick, 7 Gary Graham, 8 Nemani Nagusa (Simon Uzokwe, 74).
Falcons scorers - Tries: Sonatane Takulua, Jamie Blamire, Tim Swiel, Callum Chick, Michael Young, Josh Hodge. Conversions: Joel Hodgson 2, Brett Connon.
Yorkshire Carnegie: 15 James Robins, 14 Andrew Lawson, 13 Tom Varndell, 12 Joe Carlisle, 11 Ryan Shaw, 10 Dan Lancaster, 9 James Elliott (Joe Green, 11); 1 Conor Davidson, 2 Adam Brown, 3 Sione Faletau, 4 Jake Brady (captain), 5 Ed Bloodworth, 6 Trystan Lloyd (Jarrid Els, 31), 7 Alex Humfrey, 8 Tom Whitehurst.
Yorkshire scorers - Tries: Alex Humfrey. Conversions: Ryan Shaw. Penalties: Ryan Shaw.
Referee: Joe James. Attendance: 2,121.