Newcastle Falcons tightened their grip on a play-off berth with a bonus point triumph over Moseley at Kingston Park.
A Tom Catterick double and tries from Rob Vickers, Jimmy Gopperth and Ally Hogg secured maximum points for the Falcons.
The hosts got the scoreboard ticking over with just two minutes on the clock courtesy of Catterick. Gopperth’s cross-field kick was gathered cleanly by winger Ryan Shortland, who sprinted clear before unleashing Catterick to the line. Gopperth pulled the conversion to the left of the upright and the Falcons led 5-0.
Glynn Hughes reduced the deficit to 5-3 with a 25-metre penalty on the far side following an infringement at the ruck, but the Falcons soon restored their superiority through Vickers.
From the kick-restart the northeasterners marched back up field with a series of strong carries. Camped five-metres from the visitors’ line James Goode and Scott MacLeod drove the ball up, before Vickers took the initiative, burrowing his way over the whitewash. Gopperth made no mistake with the extras to extend his side’s lead to 12-3.
There was no doubt that the West Midland club came to Kingston Park with a physical approach, and on 18 minutes there was a scuffle at the scrum which referee Llyr ApGerraint-Roberts quickly foiled. And with half-time looming, Moseley demonstrated their physical prowess at the scrum once more, winning a penalty 35-metres out, but Hughes failed with his attempt and the score remained 12-3 in favour of the Falcons. After three minutes of injury time in which Moseley put pressure on the Falcons’ defensive line, the hosts stood firm to end the half 12-3 ahead.
A few choice words may have been said at the break in the Falcons dressing room, and within the first minute of the second stanza Catterick was in for his brace for the evening.
Taiasina Tu’ifua and Welshman Goode made hard yards upfront, before the ball was spun wide to Catterick who side-stepped his marker on his way to the line. Gopperth hit the conversion across the face of goal and the home side held the upper hand at 17-3.
On 45 minutes Catterick should have grabbed his hat-trick, but with the try line beckoning the Darlington-born full-back knocked-on following a sweeping move. With a certain try spurned, Newcastle would not be denied two minutes later when Gopperth was put in for a simple try on the over-lap. The Kiwi fly-half was unable to convert and the Falcons were in the ascendancy at 22-3.
With an hour played replacement Ollie Stedman scored a try on his home debut as the Falcons secured the bonus point in fine style. The former Tynedale hit-man, who had already shown his power upfront moments after his introduction, scythed past three defenders to touchdown in the corner. Gopperth executed the touchline conversion to perfection to make it 29-3.
Falcons lock MacLeod was sent to the bin on 72 minutes for persistent infringements at the breakdown. Down to 14 men Moseley threw everything at the Newcastle rear-guard, but defence coach Graham Steadman who was watching in the vacated North Stand will have been delighted with his side’s defensive display.
With 80 minutes visible on the brand new scoreboard, the Falcons rounded off the contest in style with Hogg touching down on his return. Ushering the ball towards the Moseley try line at the scrum, Hogg got downward pressure on the ball. Gopperth was successful with the conversion to end the game 36-3.
Newcastle Falcons: 15 Tom Catterick, 14 Andy Higgins, 13 Michael Tait, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Jimmy Gopperth, 9 Rory Lawson, 1 Jonny Golding, 2 Rob Vickers, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 4 James Goode, 5 Scott MacLeod, 6 Taiasina Tu’ifua, 7 Will Welch (c), 8 Ally Hogg
Replacements: 16 Matt Thompson, 17 James Hall, 18 James Hudson, 19 Ollie Stedman, 20 Jordi Pasqualin, 21 Joel Hodgson, 22 Alex Crockett
Moseley: 15 Billy Robinson, 14 Simon Hunt, 13 Greg King, 12 Anthony Carter, 11 Scott Armstrong, 10 Glynn Hughes, 9 Sam Brown, 1 Tom Warren, 2 Adam Caves, 3 Ben Evans, 4 Addison Lockley, 5 Mike Powell, 6 Sam Dickinson, 7 Oliver Robinson, 8 Ben Pienaar
Replacements: 16 Sam Wilkes, 17 Danny Herriott, 18 Neil Mason, 19 Buster Lawrence, 20 Ben Pons, 21 Ollie Thomas, 22 Brad Hunt