Newcastle Falcons’ ambitions of repeating their sevens success of 2011 were foiled after losing to Gloucester and Saracens in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management 7s Finals held in Bath on Friday night.
However, the Falcons can take real heart from their sevens campaign with a string of academy products stepping up to the mark on the big stage.
Picking up from where he left off from last week’s qualifiers in Northampton, Simon Hammersley demonstrated control and vision with ball in hand, while Cumbrian Chris Harris underlined his potency in attack – scoring arguably the try of the evening against Saracens in his side’s final match of Pool B.
Meanwhile Sean Brown and Andy Davies gave solid accounts of themselves as did Harrison Collins under the guidance of the more senior figures of Chris York and Tom Catterick.
The Falcons were pitted with eventual winners Gloucester and a strong Sarries outfit in Pool B of the competition with each club vying for top spot which would be enough to seal a place in the final.
Taking on the Cherry and Whites in their opening game of the night, the Falcons went down 21-0 after making a bright start to proceedings.
Despite having the best of the early possession, it was Gloucester who broke the deadlock through Steph Reynolds, who touched down in the corner.
7-0 up at the break, Gloucester doubled their tally to make it 14-0 before extending their lead to 21-0. Hammersley went close to salvaging a consolation score with the final play, but the Yorkshireman was thwarted just short of the whitewash.
Newcastle were back in action against Saracens in their last match of the Series, and the Tyneside club pushed the Londoners all the way only to be narrowly defeated 19-15.
The aforementioned Harris scored the pick of the tries in this competitive of encounters.
Reflecting on the youth in the squad, assistant coach Mark Laycock said: “All four corners of our region have been represented and it can only inspire the kids watching the sevens on TV to see players from their neck of the woods pulling on the Newcastle Falcons jersey.
“Whether it’s Chris Harris (Cumbria), Tom Catterick (Durham), James Fitzpatrick (Tyne & Wear), Ben Morris (Yorkshire), Andy Davies (Cheshire) or Glen Young (Borders) there is a genuine connection with the rugby community across the region because these lads are demonstrating what can be achieved with hard work.”
Newcastle Falcons: 1 Harrison Collins, 2 Ben Morris, 3 James Fitzpatrick, 4 Glen Young, 5 Michael Tait, 6 Tom Catterick (c), 7 Chris York, 8 Chris Harris, 9 Andy Davies, 10 Andrew Higgins, 11 Sean Brown, 12 Simon Hammersley