Falcons All Set for a Happy New Year; Future Is Looking Bright at Kingston Park after a Year of Turmoil
AS we approach Christmas and the halfway point of the season it is great to see Newcastle Falcons remaining unbeaten.
They have 52 league points in the bag to sit 12 clear of Bedford and they are already through to the quarter-finals of the British and Irish Cup with two group games left - you can't ask for more than that.
It is a very encouraging situation for all concerned at Kingston Park, but they still have 11 league games plus the play-offs to negotiate in pursuit of their ultimate goal of promotion.
Dean Richards (pictured right) and his staff are doing a good job of making sure the players are able to deliver on a consistent basis.
One of the most significant things has been their ability to cope during the times when injuries have affected their key men.
Their eventual success will depend on this ability to manage their playing resource, and it is a tribute to the work of the backroom staff at the club they seem to have reached this important stage of the season with the bulk of their squad intact. Over the past 12 months the Falcons have experienced all the highs and particularly lows of what professional sport has to offer. Coming under new ownership, changing coaches twice, coping with the threat of relegation and then eventually succumbing to it.
This in contrast to the optimism generated by a fresh start in the championship and the success the club have enjoyed since September has been marked.
Having somebody like Dean there has been crucial because he has been through it all before. That previous experience has enabled him to create an environment on and off the field with people who are delivering the results.
This in turn has meant everyone involved can look forward to the New Year with renewed optimism.
The other thing to mention is their dominance has allowed them to give their younger players some game-time at first-team level. …