Newcastle Falcons made it two wins out of two in the RFU Championship with a bonus-point victory over London Scottish in glorious sunshine at The Athletic Ground.
Leaving the capital with maximum points thanks to tries from Ally Hogg (3), Sean Tomes, Luke Fielden, Alex Crockett and James Hall, the northeasterners have cemented their place at the Championship summit ahead of next Friday’s showdown at home to Doncaster Knights (kick-off 8pm).
The Falcons registered the first score of the game on seven minutes courtesy of a Tomes try following an excellent rolling maul.
Hudson collected the ball safely from the line-out and the forwards charged towards the line with Tomes crashing over from close-range. Jimmy Gopperth converted five-metres in from the touchline for a 7-0 lead.
Straight from the kick-restart the visitors were penalised for off-side when Tomes pounced on the ball after Chris Pilgrim had knocked on. James Love arrowed his penalty between the sticks to reduce the arrears to 7-3.
The Falcons pack were at it again moments later with Hogg finishing off yet another rolling maul following a line-out 10-metres from the whitewash. Gopperth converted to extend his side’s lead to 14-3.
Hogg doubled his tally for the afternoon on 16 minutes, this time rounding off a scintillating passing move which involved Pilgrim, Gopperth and Crockett after the inform Tane Tu’ipulotu had turned the ball over. Gopperth added the extras to make it 21-3.
Midway through the first period, Pilgrim who has made a solid start to this season hobbled off the park and was replaced by Jordi Pasqualin.
After a vibrant start to proceedings, the Falcons’ lead was pegged back on 25 minutes when Richard Bolt profited from a well-worked line-out move which caught Richards’ men on the back-foot. Love failed to convert and the Falcons had a 21-8 lead.
10 minutes from the interval Love nailed a penalty 25-metres out to make it 21-11 in favour of the Falcons.
The Kingston Park outfit responded in emphatic fashion with Fielden notching up his third try of the campaign to secure the bonus point.
Hogg, Crockett and Will Welch demonstrated excellent ball handling skills down the far side before the ball was swung wide to Tu’ipulotu, who drew his man to unleash Fielden to the line. Gopperth made no mistake with the conversion to put the Falcons 28-11 ahead.
Newcastle were not done there, and on the stroke of half-time Crockett showed great vision to intercept the ball from half-way to race half the length of the field to touchdown. Gopperth converted from bang in front of the posts for a handsome 35-11 advantage going into the break.
HT: London Scottish 11 Newcastle Falcons 35
The Falcons came out for the second-half in positive mood and looked to maintain the same intensity as the first. And the Falcons wasted no time in adding further gloss to the score-line when replacement James Hall barged his way over the line.
20-metres from the line Hudson intercepted a looping pass before offloading to Rob Vickers who in turn passed to Tomes. From the breakdown Hall touched down with Gopperth converting for a 42-11 lead.
To the hosts credit they never gave up and on 53 minutes they were rewarded with a penalty try following some effective work in the scrum. Love converted to make it 42-18. In the build-up to the try Vickers was sent to the sin-bin for pulling down a rolling maul.
Buoyed by the extra man, Scottish put the pressure on the Falcons with a series of attacks but the visitors stood firm in defence.
On 70 minutes the Tyneside outfit punctured a whole in Scottish’s rearguard for a seventh time with Hogg completing his hat-trick, scooping the ball up from a driving scrum to score. Gopperth’s conversion made it 49-18.
However the men from the capital ended the game on a high with a quick-fire double. Mark Bright took a neat inside ball to scurry in under the posts before Tyler Hotson squeezed in at the corner.
Love converted both tries to end the game 49-32 to the Falcons. Ryan Shortland pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury in the build-up to the previous try.
Referee: Ross Campbell
London Scottish: 15 Jim Thompson, 14 James Love, 13 Dave McCall, 12 PJ Gidlow, 11 Miles Mantella, 10 Oliver Grove, 9 Richard Bolt, 1 Alexander Clarke, 2 Adam Kwasnicki, 3 Aaron Liffchak, 4 Tyler Hotson, 5 Samuel Twomy, 6 Joseph Trayfoot, 7 Mark Bright, 8 Chevy Pennycook
Replacements: 16 Mungo Strachan, 17 Alexander MacKenzie, 18 Josh Brown, 19 Benjamin Lonergan, 20 Ross Samson, 21 Daniel Mugford, 22 David Howells
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Luke Fielden, 14 Andy Higgins, 13 Alex Crockett, 12 Tane Tu’ipulotu, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Chris Pilgrim, 1 Grant Shiells, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 James Hall, 4 Sean Tomes, 5 James Hudson, 6 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Richard Mayhew
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 18 Scott MacLeod, 19 Mark Wilson, 20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 James Fitzpatrick, 22 Waisea Luveniyali