Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fumbling Falcons Pay the Penalty

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Fumbling Falcons Pay the Penalty

Article excerpt

Byline: By Duncan Madsen

It was not so much a comedy but a tragedy of errors by Newcastle that gifted Saracens their first ever professional victory at Kingston Park yesterday.

For every one of Sarries' 25 points was the direct result of a Falcons mistake as Newcastle gift-wrapped the Watford-based club four precious Zurich Premiership points.

The generosity began as early as the 10th minute when after taking the lead through a Dave Walder penalty, Newcastle palmed the resultant restart kick straight to their opponents on the charge.

With the home defence on the back foot, Saracens won a series of rucks before centre Paul Bailey strode over for the simplest of tries to leave Andy Goode with an even easier conversion.

Mistake one, seven points, mistake two came after 24 minutes when Garath Archer was penalised for holding on after being tackled - once again no quick support at the breakdown - and Goode's reliable boot made it 3-10.

You would think Newcastle would learn but no, as just four minutes later James Grindal knocked on, Saracens snapped up the loose ball and Goode dropped a goal to make it 3-13.

The Falcons ability to self-destruct wasn't finished, however, and a missed tackle in midfield just outside the visitors' 22 allowed Sarries to launch an attack which saw Goode break clear and kick ahead before taking a dive which would have done credit to an Olympic springboard specialist.

The ball finished up in touch 10 metres from the Newcastle line and after a flurry of activity and a brief chat with his touch judge, referee Steve Lander ran behind the posts to award a penalty try.

The crowd went wild, thinking it was for the alleged trip on Goode but the Newcastle offence was Michael Stephenson deliberately preventing a quick lineout throw when he was standing illegally inside the five-metre line and in the ref's view a try would probably have been scored. …

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