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Falcons break their duck

Fri, 13 Sep 2013 21:37
Phil-godman-falcons Stephen-myler630

Newcastle Falcons secured their first victory at the second attempt on their return to the Premiership with a narrow 15-14 win over Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.

In a tightly contested game of few opportunities it was the kicking prowess of Falcons flyhalves Phil Godman and Rory Clegg that did the damage as Sale struggled at scrum time.

* In the other Friday game James Wilson grabbed the only try of the game as Northampton Saints defeated Harlequins 13-6 to begin their season with back-to-back victories in the Premiership.

We look at all Friday's action!

Harlequins 6-13 Northampton Saints

James Wilson grabbed the only try of the game as Northampton Saints defeated Harlequins 13-6 to begin their season with back-to-back victories in the Premiership.

In atrocious conditions at the Stoop the two sides began the second half locked at 3-3 after Northampton had failed to make the most of Wilson's incisive first-half break and the New Zealander had produced a try-saving tackle on Mike Brown.

However, after Quins failed with three penalty attempts at the start of the second half, Wilson provided the cutting edge for Saints, crossing in the corner just after the hour.

In all Harlequins missed five times from the kicking tee, with Nick Evans spurning four chances and replacement Ben Botica cracking his attempt into the post as they tasted defeat for the first time this season.

Harlequins dominated the opening five minutes and Saints winger Ken Pisi was forced to scramble back to thwart Tom Williams' chip and chase before Evans missed from the tee after Calum Clark was penalised.

However, it was Northampton who took the lead on ten minutes when Stephen Myler slotted a simple penalty after the Harlequins scrum was penalised in front of their own posts.

Harlequins could have levelled it almost immediately only for Evans to miss his second penalty of the night after which Joe Gray was helped off with an ankle injury to be replaced by Rob Buchanan.

Myler then missed with a penalty from the left touchline and with just over ten minutes of the half remaining Quins almost registered the first try of the night.

England captain Chris Robshaw swept up the ball after Northampton prop Alex Corbisiero was tackled deep in Quins territory and set the home side on the counter.

Saints winger George North, in his first real act of the half, was forced to carry the ball into touch but from a quick lineout play was switched to the left where Ugo Monye was narrowly beaten by the bounce of the ball.

Regardless, the home side held the momentum and when Northampton were penalised soon after, Evans made it third time lucky to level the scores.

Saints were penalised twice in the first four minutes of the second half with Evans missing the first attempt but succeeding with the second to edge the home side in front.

Northampton levelled through the boot of Myler before Evans missed from the tee for the fourth time.

It was to be Evans' last contribution as he was replaced by fellow Kiwi Botica, whose first act was to arrow a penalty attempt straight against the right post.

North attempted to spark the game into life with an electric break down the flank that left a pair of Quins defenders trailing in his wake only for the move to break down when Jamie Elliott was penalised for holding on.

Moments later Saints had the try they were seeking on 62 minutes when the ball was charged down from a scrum and after play was switched to the right by Luther Burrell, the impressive Wilson was on hand to slide over the line.

Myler converted to give Northampton a 13-6 lead and despite frantic late attempts Quins failed to find the try they required, with both sides finishing with 14 men after Nick Easter and Myler were yellow carded in separate incidents.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Pens:
Evans 2

For Northampton Saints:
Try:
Wilson
Con: Myler
Pens: Myler 2

Yellow cards: Nick Easter (Harlequins, 74), Stephen Myler (Northampton Saints, 76),

Teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (captain), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 George Merrick, 3 Paul Doran Jones, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Tom Guest, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Sam Smith.

Northampton Saints 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 James Wilson, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Kahn Fotuali'i, 8 Samu Manoa, 7 Calum Clark, 6 Tom Wood, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Tom Mercey, 2 Dylan Hartley (captain), 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Sam Dickinson, 20 Phil Dowson, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 George Pisi, 23 Jamie Elliott.

Referee: Andrew Small
Assistant Referees: Kevin Stewart and Nigel Carrick
TMO: David Grashoff

Sale Sharks 14-15 Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons secured their first victory at the second attempt on their return to the Premiership with a narrow 15-14 win over Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium.

In a tightly contested game of few opportunities it was the kicking prowess of Falcons fly-halves Phil Godman and Rory Clegg that did the damage as Sale struggled at scrum time.

Sale skipper Dan Braid crossed for the only try of the game after Newcastle were reduced to 14 men but couldn't see off their challengers from the North East.

Sharks fly-half Nick Macleod hit the left-hand upright with an early penalty for the home side but got a chance to redeem himself on six minutes, slotting home at the second time of asking as Sale dominated the early exchanges.

On 20 minutes, however, it was all square, Phil Godman levelling from the tee for the visitors from fully 35 metres out after Sale were penalised at the scrum - earning Newcastle their first points of the season.

Newcastle were only level for four minutes, however, Macleod with his second successful conversion of the evening to make it 6-3 from 30 yards out.

Sale continued to push on and the pressure eventually told as Dom Barrow saw yellow on 26 minutes for repeated infringement at the lineout, with Newcastle reduced to 14 men.

Sale opted to kick to touch and the ball was worked to Braid who shrugged off several would-be tacklers to crash over for the try and make it 11-3 within the minute. Macleod missed with the extras from wide on the right, an error Sale were to regret later in the game.

Tom Catterick attempted a booming penalty for the Falcons from well within his own half as the Falcons fought desperately for a way back into the match.

And five minutes before the break Sale were penalised at the scrum and Godman slotted the resulting kick as Newcastle chipped away at the Sharks lead.

The Scottish international fly-half added a third a minute before the interval to make it 11-9 as the sides trotted off at half-time.

Eight minutes after the break the battle of the fly-halves continued as the Falcons won another penalty, and Godman made no mistake with the boot to put Newcastle ahead for the first time in the game.

Starting the game in the unfamiliar position of centre, Sale's record Premiership try scorer Mark Cueto was excellent all evening, making one rapid break in the second half that had the Falcons defence scrambling to cover.

With 23 minutes to go Clegg came on at fly-half for Godman as Newcastle looked to find the try that would open up a gap on their opponents.

But hands in the ruck from Newcastle skipper Will Welch handed Sale the opportunity to re-take the lead, Macleod bisecting the posts with his penalty to make it 14-12 to the home side.

Clegg, looking to play the ball, was scragged by Cueto and held onto the ball under pressure as Sale won another penalty to alleviate any Newcastle pressure, Macleod clearing down the line.

Yet Sale had struggled at the scrum all night conceding a number of penalties and Clegg got the chance to restore Newcastle's lead with his first kick of the evening and kept his nerve to edge the Falcons ahead with 12 minutes to go.

Trailing by a single point going into the final five minutes Sale huffed and puffed but failed to create the chances that would have put Newcastle under any real pressure.

And despite struggling with their discipline in the first half, Newcastle held out relatively easy to claim their first points of the campaign.

The scorers:

For Sale Sharks:
Try:
Braid
Pens: Macleod 3

For Newcastle Falcons:
Pens:
Godman 4, Clegg

Yellow card: Dominic Barrow (Newcastle Falcons, 26),

Teams:

Sale Sharks: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Phil Mackenzie, 13 Mark Cueto, 12 Andy Forsyth, 11 Tom Brady, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (captain), 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Johnathan Mills, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Kirill Kulemin, 20 Josh Beaumont, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Rob Miller.

Newcastle Falcons: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Noah Cato, 13 Danny Barnes, 12 Adam Powell, 11 Tom Catterick, 10 Phil Godman, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Will Welch (captain), 6 Dom Barrow, 5 Scott MacLeod, 4 Fraser McKenzie, 3 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 Kieran Brookes, 18 Scott Wilson, 19 Carlo del Fava, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 James Fitzpatrick.

Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Andy Watson and Stuart Terheege
TMO: Sean Davey

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