The Falcons fledglings went on the road to play the East Lothian Falcons last weekend at Under-16 and Under-18 level with both sides leaving Scotland with four tries and a win. East Lothian U16s 5-22 Newcastle Falcons U16s
Newcastle started brightly with Dan Marshall making a scintillating break down the touchline before he was hauled down just short of the try line and had to retire through injury in the process.
East Lothian were tenacious at the breakdown and posed the Falcons some problems from a string of good turnovers.
The deadlock was eventually broken following strong carries from hooker Jack Beckwith which led to Adam Redman crossing for a try down the right, converted by Callum Burn.
Shortly afterwards a lineout in the East Lothian 22 metre zone brought the second score of the game when flanker Alex Duke was at the back of the maul as it crossed over the line. Burn could not convert from the left touchline.
Despite the endeavours of both sides to move the ball into space, unforced errors and ill-discipline from both teams meant the half drew to a close at 12-0.
After some wise words from forwards coach Ed Midcalf, the game resumed with both teams upping their game.
East Lothian flew out of the blocks with a rampant attack in what were dour weather conditions for playing rugby.
Some resolute defence held the Scotsmen out before Lloyd Pursers intercept try extended the Falcons lead to 17.
The Falcons were now in full stride and strong carries from Harry Borthwick took them deep into opposition territory.
Unfortunately it was ill-discipline again which delayed the inevitable fourth try. Cumbrian Richard Addison sniping over from close range.
A late score from the ever energetic and industrious East Lothian Falcons brought the game to a close, final score East Lothian 5-22 Newcastle Falcons.
Academy manager Mark Laycock said: “Today was a tough test. It took us a long time to adapt to how effective Scottish players are in the breakdown.
“Once we started to show a bit more tenacity and determination in the contact area we looked dangerous and on a brighter day we could have scored a couple more tries. It was a good way to finish the season with a win and also some important lessons for the players to take into next season”
East Lothian U18s 3-26 Newcastle Falcons U18s
The game started in the rain making the conditions extremely slippery when handling, however both teams produced some good rugby.
East Lothian took the lead with an early penalty converted by No.10 Josh Atkin. Newcastle hit back with a well-executed driven lineout from about 10 metres out, Ollie Hodgson was able to steer his pack over the line to be credited for the try. Craig Willis then converted.
Newcastle hit again soon after thanks to a box-kick by Ollie Warner from the half-way line. Craig Willis collected the kick just outside the 22 metre line and unchallenged, he then offloaded to Luke Wilson, who in turn found his Billingham teammate Tom Small for the score. Willis Converted.
Again the midfield was involved in the third try, prying apart the East Lothian centres and allowing an inside ball from Luke Wilson to reach Sean Brown who raced in from 15 metres. Falcons led 19-3 at half-time.
The second-half saw a flurry of yellow cards with East Lothian being reduced to 13 men and Newcastle Falcons to 14 for off side offences.
Newcastle's final try came from a line out. Scrum-half Charlie Birkett received a ball from the tail, threw a dummy and went through a gap. He rounded his defender with a powerful step and hand off and with the full-back to beat, he unselfishly passed to the hard-working support player Craig Willis. Luke Wilson converted.
Academy head coach James Ponton, was supported by former Falcons and England fly-half Dave Walder as backs coach, who said: “It was a good result today but there are plenty of things to work on. Dave (Walder) has given the players some great tips and ideas to take into the off season.”
Newcastle Falcons U18s: 15 Tom Penny, 14 Sean Brown, 13 Tom Small, 12 Luke Wilson, 11 Jack Blakeney-Edwards, 10 Craig Willis, 9 Ollie Warner, 1 Aston Whitlow, 2 Ben Wilkinson, 3 Dave Taylor, 4 Glen Young, 5 Ollie Hodgson (c), 6 Tom Gulland, 7 Stuart Cannon, 8 Nick Cairns
Replacements: 16 Dan Elkington, 17 Mark Forster, 18 Jon Coser, 19 Guy Coser, 20 Charlie Birkett, 21 Matty Douglas, 22 Iain Sims