Young Newcastle side take third pre season win in Scottish Borders
Newcastle Falcons made it three wins from three in their pre-season schedule following a 12-57 win over Gala RFC on Friday evening.
In what was billed as a fixture for the club’s development team, a young side combined together well, scoring a total of nine tries and demonstrating that the Falcons squad of 2016/17 has a pleasing amount of strength in depth.
Played as four distinct quarters rather than the traditional halves on what the locals describe as a “dreich evening”, the Falcons were out of the blocks quickly, playing with ambition and finding width, belying what were tricky conditions.
The efforts drew reward within five minutes through Tane Takulua, as the scrum half went over for a close range effort converted by Catterick, but with the rain increasing in intensity, it became a prelude to a battle for territory as both sides played between the 22s.
It was arguably a battle that the visitors were edging and as the first quarter drew to a close, a penalty try following an infringement allowed the Falcons to double their lead.
After a low key but professional first 20 minutes, the game burst into life from the start of the second period, with Dean Richard’s side adding two quick fire tries to extend the lead to 0-28 within five minutes.
First up, Alex Rogers found himself with a free run to the line for a score converted by Catterick, before the prop and forward colleague Andrew Davidson combined to rumble into the home 22.
Their efforts allowed Catterick to draw in defenders and create an overlap, which was made use of in acrobatic style by winger Zach Kibirigie, taking the ball on a dive and sliding in for his side’s fourth try of the evening.
While the hosts opened their account next through Alan Emond, the visitors were enjoying the better of the period and were immediately back on the attack from the restart and again looking to play the ball through the hands despite the weather.
After a prolonged spell in the home 22, a scrum after the Falcons pack carried Gala back over their own line allowed Catterick to cap what had already been a solid night’s work with a well taken try. The fly half fed in by Takulua to extend the lead to 7-35 at the break.
There was another rapid start after the break for Newcastle, with replacement scrum half Ruaridh Dawson ghosting around defenders and setting up a position from which the Falcons were able to work through the phases and play Nick Civetta in for a well taken try.
It was the only score of the quarter though, as Gala enjoyed much of the possession though the Falcons set piece and defence kept their enthusiasm at bay.
The final quarter opened in the same fashion as the others, as the Falcons eight bundled over for a try from an unidentified forward before further gloss was added by Dan Marshall with two tries in the dying minutes, though the last was arguably the pick of them all.
Taking the ball in his own 22, England U18 international Max Davies broke up field with a surging run. While he didn’t have the legs to go all of the way, he made it as far as the Gala 10m line before putting out a beautiful pass that the charging Marshall gleefully collected.
With the clock already over the 80 minute mark, the conversion was un-attempted, leaving the Falcons to head home satisfied with their night’s work.
Dean Richards side complete their pre-season preparations with a second trip north next Friday against Edinburgh Rugby at BT Murrayfield Stadium.