Man of the Match performance heralds local players return to the Fly Half spot.
With the Falcons flying high in European competition, last Friday’s Challenge Cup match against Stade Francais saw the return to the Fly Half jersey of Tom Catterick as the club continued its policy of using the cross border competition as an opportunity to play a predominantly English qualified team.
Having originally joined the club as a fly half in the summer of 2009, Catterick has found himself mainly used as a Fullback or Wing in his time at Kingston Park, but relished his opportunity to act as play-maker against the French heavyweights.
Speaking over the weekend, Catterick said; “I thought it was really good and really enjoyed the run out at fly half. There’s still a lot of things to work on and I was very rusty in the first ten minutes, including missing those two very kick-able kicks, but from their, I just tried to keep my head down from there and keep working. Overall I really enjoyed it, and really enjoyed the run out with the boys.”
Often referred to as one of the loneliest jobs in sport, with the burden of keeping the scoreboard ticking over usually falling to the number 10, Catterick brushed off any adverse effects from his early misses to deliver a performance that showed vision and skill, particularly for Simon Hammersley's first half score, that earned him a Man of the Match accolade with the Darlington born player stating it was overall, an enjoyable game.
“I enjoyed the extra responsibility that comes with playing at fly half although it’s something I could definitely get better at. Speaking with John [Wells] after the game, he said I have to be a bit more dominant sometimes but I really enjoy that responsibility and I think today in patches we played really well. You know, getting on the front foot and hopefully the boys will say I directed them around well.”
A pulsating match that saw the Falcons match their illustrious visitors and score four tries en route to their third win from three in the competition, the momentum is building as the club looks to secure a quarter final berth for the first time in five years. Looking back on the game, Catterick said:
“I think the boys can be proud. Every time we've come out in this competition we've come out to win and put in reasonably good performances. Today we left it until the last minute to win when we probably could have put a few more points on the board and we helped them out a little bit more. But three wins from three is something we can’t complain and we can only go across to France on Thursday and hopefully try to get another win.”
“When the Stade team came out it wasn't a case of ‘oh no’, it was ‘here we go boys let’s really get stuck into them’. It’s always good to play against world-class players and to know they've brought a team of that quality, to turn them over with quite a young squad that hasn't played together for a while is really impressive. Like we said there are always things for us to work on but to turn a team over at home like that in front of a good crowd, you can’t beat it.”
Looking to keep the winning feeling in the squad, the team face arguably their biggest challenge of the campaign on Thursday as they head to the Stade Jean-Bouin, with Stade eager to avoid a repeat of their round one loss to Newport Gwent Dragons Catterick is eager to retain his involvement in the squad.
“I don’t know where I’ll be playing but hopefully I will be in Thursday’s squad somewhere. I’d love to make the trip over there, because playing Stade in Paris will be a great atmosphere and hopefully they’ll put the same team out and we can really get into them again. To get a win over there while they’re playing at home would be something special.”