Newcastle Falcons women put in a spirited performance in only their second ever match against on Sunday lunchtime, as the took on Exeter Chiefs Women in an invitational friendly at Kingston Park Stadium.
Rob Vickers’ side showed significant signs of progress since their first ever match last November, with growing levels of co-ordination and cohesion on display throughout as the club continue to target inclusion in the Tyrrells Premier 15s competition.
The Falcons drew first blood after a solid opening saw fullback Georgia Cutt go close to a try inside just three minutes, as they made the most of space created by the Chiefs eagerness to commit in defence.
Creating numbers on the left, Emily Oliver was found in a virtually empty quarter of the field which the winger sped over with ease to get her side off the mark.
The Chiefs hit back five minutes later in similar fashion through Garnet Mackinder, who found herself with an easy run to the line after a superb show and go in the centre of the park drew in the Falcons defence.
After a period of play centred around half-way it was the Chiefs who moved ahead on the scoreboard as they enjoyed a prolonged period camped on the Falcons line.
Showing patience in the build up, Charlie Budge was driven over for an unconverted score but one that put the visitors in front for less than a minute as Newcastle posted an almost instant riposte.
Having been denied at the outset, Cutt was on the end of the scoring pass as Newcastle made the most of regathering the restart, marched upfield and then skilfully worked the ball along the line into her waiting hands.
The Chiefs reassumed the lead six minutes from the break through Ebony Jeffries, but it had been an equal half that both sides would have been played with.
Cancelling each other out for the first half of the second forty, it was the Chiefs who made the next impression on the scoreboard as Jeffries bagged her brace, but the Falcons continued to plug away and created a number of opportunities that they were only just unable to put away.
With 10 minutes to go and acres of space behind the Exeter defensive line Oliver put boot to ball to set up a footrace that the Chiefs only just won but it would prove to be the last real opportunity that the hosts would have in the match.
Spending much of the final five minutes camped in the Falcons 22, the Chiefs were repeatedly repelled by committed Falcons defence, but with the last play of the game Jeffries was played into a gap to seal the result for Exeter
Newcastle Falcons: Georgia Cutt, Emily Oliver, Zoe Hornby, Sam Hulme, Theresa McGillivary, Jess Dodds, Caitlin Morrell, Jo Sales, Ellie Pigford, Amy Needham, Jess Tolson, Lydia Cowell, Ceri Storer, Jill Riley, Izzy Northrop, Charlotte Firth, Suzanne Falconer, Brogan Churm, Lauren Roberts, Miriam Church, Claire Topham, Caitlin Sedgeworth, Grace Morgan, Cathee Potter
Tries – Oliver (11) Cutt (25)
Exeter Chiefs: Nell Ridgeway, Garnet Mackinder, Lottie Holland, Mollie Pepper, Paulina Toresator, Izzy Love, Matilda Toresator, Michaella Roberts, Charlie Budge, Libby Peake, Lou Anning, Kayleigh Armstrong, Jo McBain, Ebony Jeffries, Linde Van Der Velden, Amelia Marshall, Abby Middlebrooke, Milla Lynch-Barsby, Mya Andrews, Niamh Terry, Gabby Gower, Frankie Perry
Tries – Mackinder (16) Budge (23) Jeffries (34, 60, 80)
Goals – Pepper (60)