Falcons beat Bath for first win

Date published: January 2 2016

Newcastle picked up their first win of the Premiership season on Saturday as they kicked off 2016 with a 19-14 home victory over Bath.

The boot of Craig Willis helped Newcastle Falcons secure what was a hard-fought win.

A try from Guy Mercer enabled Bath to take an early lead which saw a visiting side packed with international quality take the initiative.

However, they were pegged back by a Rob Vickers try mid-way through the first-half.

In the second-half, a battle of the boot ensued between Rhys Priestland and Willis with the latter contributing 14 points for his side.

The match finished 19-14 to the Falcons who secure their first win since May last year, lifting them off the foot of the Premiership. Bath meanwhile remain rooted in mid-table following the defeat. Despite the losing bonus point they now sit seven points adrift of the play-off places.

Bath took the lead with a try in the fifth minute, Mercer touching the ball down following a driving maul from 10 metres out.

Matt Carley awarded the hosts a penalty in the 12th minute which was successfully kicked by Willis to make the score 3-5.

With 20 minutes gone, Vickers scored a try for Newcastle, the hooker burrowing through the Bath defence to reward a strong spell of possession and territory for the home side. Willis added the extras to give his side a five point advantage.

Priestland kept Bath in touch with a penalty in the 27th minute after Nili Latu played the ball on the floor.

Henry Thomas was sent to the sin-bin in the 35th minute following a team warning, with Willis accurate with the resultant penalty to give his side a five point lead at the interval.

Following the break Priestland notched home a penalty for the visitors to maintain pressure on the Falcons. The Welshman repeated the feat in the 57th minute, kicking Bath into the lead with a penalty.

Newcastle reclaimed their lead with a penalty from Willis with Bath unable to cope with the hosts' substitutions as Willis sealed the victory with another penalty in the last minute.

The scorers:

For Newcastle:
Try: Vickers
Con: Willis
Pen: Willis 4

For Bath:
Try: Mercer
Pen: Priestland 3

Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Marcus Watson, 10 Craig Willis, 9 Michael Young, 8 Nili Latu, 7 Will Welch (c), 6 Ally Hogg, 5 Sean Robinson, 4 Mark Wilson, 3 Jon Welsh, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Rob Vickers.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Alex Rogers, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Todd Clever, 21 Sonatane Takulua, 22 Tom Catterick, 23 Belisario Agulla.

Bath: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Horacio Agulla, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Ollie Devoto, 11 Matt Banahan, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Niko Matawalu, 8 David Denton, 7 Guy Mercer (c), 6 Leroy Houston, 5 Charlie Ewels, 4 Matt Garvey, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Ross Batty, 1 Nick Auterac.
Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 David Wilson, 19 Dominic Day, 20 Francois Louw, 21 Jonathan Evans, 22 George Ford, 23 Anthony Watson.

Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant Referees: Wayne Falla, John Meredith
TMO: Sean Davey