Dean Richards will have been pleased with many aspects of his side's display

Newcastle Falcons 21 Bath Rugby 21

Tuesday 13 August 2013

A Ryan Shortland try two minutes from time snatched a draw against Bath Rugby in the French town of Beziers on Tuesday night.

It was no more than the Falcons deserved as they looked in decent shape in the first of their three warm-up games ahead of the new Aviva Premiership season.

The sides will meet again at Kingston Park on September 6 when the Aviva Premiership clicks into gear, and the early-evening run-out in temperatures hovering around the 30-degrees mark will have proved useful for both sets of players.

Bath centre Matt Banahan looked to have settled the result eight minutes from time, when he plucked a floated midfield pass out of their air for an interception run-in.

But a resurgent Newcastle battled back to level the scores on 78 minutes when Kiwi wing Ryan Shortland cut inside to score, Phil Godman converting.

The Scotland fly-half kicked three from three on the night – neither side opting to take three points as penalties were instead booted into touch.

It was from one such attacking line-out that Bath opened the scoring midway through the first-half, Anthony Perenise being driven over in the left corner before Tom Heathcote added the extras from out wide.

A 14-0 half-time lead was assured when full-back Anthony Watson picked a great line at pace to score under the posts, but the Falcons hit back convincingly after the break.

The second-half was only two minutes old when Shortland profited from quick hands and a well-worked set move at a close-range line-out down the left, Godman floating over the touchline conversion on a boiling evening.

And with gaps beginning to appear, a three-on-two allowed Noah Cato to score in the opposite corner, Godman again kicking the conversion.

That all set up a fitting finale, Banahan and Shortland’s tries ensuring neither side emerged victorious – a fair outcome in a game of positives for both clubs.

Newcastle Falcons: T Catterick, A Higgins, M Tait, A Crockett, S Brown, J Hodgson, C Pilgrim; G Strain, M Thompson, S Wilson, S Tomes, F McKenzie, R Mayhew, W Welch (captain), C York. Replacements: M Blair, C del Fava, M Tait, S MacLeod, P Godman, R Shortland, N Cato, O Tomaszczyk, R Vickers, S Lawson, D Barnes, J Helleur, A Tait, A Hogg, D Barrow.

Falcons scorers – Tries: R Shortland 2, N Cato. Conversions: P Godman 3.

Bath: A Watson, S Rokoduguni, M Banahan, O Devoto, T Biggs, T Heathcote, P Stringer; N Catt, R Batty, A Perenise, S Hooper, M Garvey, W Skuse, G Mercer, L Houston. Replacements: T Dunn, P James,K Palma-Newport, D Day, W Spencer,D Sisi, M Gilbert, N Koster, M Roberts, M Young, C Cook, A Fa’osiliva.

Bath scorers – Tries: A Perenise, A Watson, M Banahan. Conversions: T Heathcote 2 O Devoto.

Referee: R Poite (France)

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