Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Walder Powers the Falcons to Victory

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Walder Powers the Falcons to Victory

Article excerpt

Newcastle set up the prospect of a return to Twickenham with one of their best defensive displays of the season to hold off a physical London Irish side at Kingston Park.

Last season, London Irish won a sixth round tie 17-16 in injury time at Kingston Park after they had trailed 16-5 - the Falcons were in no mood for a repeat of that.

They will now play Divison One side Pertemps Bees, who had a shock 28-24 win at Wasps, at home in the semi-finals in two weeks' time.

Newcastle can thank David Walder, the hero of Twickenham three years ago, as the England cap scored 19 points. Walder, who scored an injury-time try against Harlequins to clinch the cup for Newcastle in 2001, scored the full set with a converted try, three penalties and a drop goal.

The London side were due to fly in to Newcastle Airport on the morning of the game - and it proved to be a dreadful decision. The flight was delayed and they decided to fly to Edinburgh from where they drove down by coach, arriving just half an hour before kick-off.

They asked for a delay in the kick-off but were refused because of television scheduling and it was not the best preparation for the match which the Falcons had made possible by clearing several inches of snow off the covered pitch. They may not have had much of a warm-up but London Irish showed no effects of that as they started with real pace and Newcastle had to scramble a couple of times to halt Paul Sackey. But a couple of probing kicks from Walder had them on the back foot and the Falcons pack came close to driving over from a line-out only to settle for the penalty from Walder after five minutes to make it 3-0.

Hugh Vyvyan was caught pushing at the tail of a line-out even though it looked very much a case of obstruction by a London Irish player which led to the push and it was just one of several mystifying decisions from Tony Spreadbury and Mark Mapletoft levelled the scores with the 10th minute penalty.

Spreadbury seemed happy to let it became a very messy scrap before he penalised London Irish just inside their own half for Walder to make it 6-3. Almost immediately, he made an absolutely ludicrous decision when he played advantage to Newcastle - which he signalled - and when there was none he failed to give the penalty and compounded the error by penalising the Falcons at the ruck and Mapletoft levelled the scores in the 21st minute. …

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