Harlequins edged a spirited Newcastle side 18-14 at The Stoop on Saturday for a win that keeps them in the mix for a play-off spot.
Harlequins edged out a spirited Newcastle side 18-14 at The Stoop on Saturday for a result that keeps them in the mix for a play-off spot.
Quins were seeking to build on last week's narrow win over Wasps, while Falcons were looking to bounce back from an away reverse against Bath.
Two tries in the first-half laid a solid platform for the hosts, but Newcastle regrouped after the break and can count themselves as unlucky to lose.
Ollie Lindsay-Hague sprinted over for a scintillating first try of the game on 12 minutes to give Quins the lead, and though the conversion was missed, the hosts added to their advantage later in the second-half when Sam Smith crossed.
Smith's score in the corner was given the green light by the TMO, and Botica was this time on target with the extras to make it 12-0.
Rory Clegg narrowed the deficit for Falcons with a penalty goal on the half hour, and it remained that way until the early stages of the second half, when Clegg added two more penalty goals to narrow Quins' lead to three.
But the real drama came in the 70th minute, when Newcastle breached their hosts' line to take a dramatic lead. The TMO was again called into action, and found no issue with Alex Tait's try, which Clegg failed to convert, leaving the score at 12-14.
But indiscipline from the visitors would cost them the win, as Botica stepped up to calmly slot over two penalties in the final four minutes of the match to put Quins back in front for a decisive second time.
Tries: Lindsay-Hague, Smith
Pen: Botica 2
Pen: Clegg 3
Harlequins: 15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Sam Smith, 13 Tom Casson, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Paul Doran Jones, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Darryl Marfo, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Tom Guest, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Louis Grimoldby, 23 Paul Sackey
Newcastle: 15 Noah Cato, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Gonzalo Tiesi, 12 Jamie Helleur, 11 Ryan Shortland, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Mike Blair, 8 Mark Wilson, 7 Andy Saull, 6 Will Welch (c), 5 Fraser McKenzie, 4 Scott MacLeod, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Rob Vickers
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Gary Strain, 18 Oliver Tomaszczyk, 19 Sean Tomes, 20 Ally Hogg, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Joel Hodgson, 23 Adam Powell
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Andrew Pearce, Luke Pearce
Television match official: Graham Hughes