Bristol End Falcons' Unbeaten Run
Newcastle Falcons 14 - 19 Bristol Rugby
Bristol Rugby ended Newcastle Falcons’ season-long unbeaten run with a stunning 19-14 victory at Kingston Park.
Fautua Otto’s first half try and fourteen points from the boot of Adrian Jarvis sealed a memorable win against the RFU Championship league leaders.
Despite the result, Andy Robinson’s side failed to achieve a top four finish, missing out on play-off qualification on the final day of the campaign.
In an evenly contested opening period, it was the visitors who could have broke the deadlock after five minutes, but Adrian Jarvis missed the target with a penalty opportunity.
However, Bristol did capitalize on a bright start when the fly half struck a three pointer soon after to put his side 0-3 ahead.
Jarvis extended the advantage with another penalty goal following a blistering thirty metre break from the impressive George Watkins.
Newcastle struggled to find any composure during the first period and were fortunate not to fall further behind as Iain Grieve, Ryan Edwards and Fautua Otto carved openings in the hosts’ defence.
Andy Robinson’s men grabbed the first try of the afternoon when Fautua Otto crossed for a superb team effort. The Samoan collected George Watkins’ smart offload to race in under the posts for a converted score.
Jimmy Gopperth struck a penalty attempt wide of the mark late in the first period as the Falcons upped the intensity, while Alex Tait came close to a try, only to be bundled into touch by Luke Eves’ superb cover tackle.
On the stroke of half-time, Newcastle found a route back into the game as Warren Fury nipped in to dab down in the corner. Gopperth slotted the extras to reduce arrears to 7-13 at the break.
Ally Hogg turned the tie on its head soon after the restart, galloping over from fifteen minutes after James Fitzpatrick had bulldozed his way through several attempted tackles. Gopperth’s successful conversion moved the score to 14-13.
A spell of Bristol pressure ensued and, although Jarvis saw his penalty attempt ricochet back off the post, the fly half made amends with a successful kick on the hour mark to regain a narrow advantage.
In a frenetic second half, Jarvis added a further penalty goal to give Bristol breathing space at 14-19, before Falcons came back strongly with individual breaks from Noah Cato and Adam Powell.
But, despite a late attacking onslaught, the league leaders couldn’t find a way through a stubborn defence and the visitors held firm for an impressive victory to end the season in style.
Tom Catterick; Noah Cato, Adam Powell, James Fitzpatrick, Alex Tait; Jimmy Gopperth, Warren Fury; Jonny Golding, Matt Thompson, Scott Wilson, Scott MacLeod, Carlo del Fava, Mark Wilson, Will Welch (c), Ally Hogg.
Replacements: Rob Vickers (for Matt Thompson, 60 mins), James Hall (for Scott Wilson, 63 mins), James Goode (for Carlo Del Fava, 60 mins), Richard Mayhew, Jordi Pasqualin, Joel Hodgson, Michael Tait.
Jon Goodridge; George Watkins, Fautua Otto, Luke Eves, Ryan Edwards; Adrian Jarvis, Ruki Tipuna; Kyle Traynor, Ross Johnston, Jason Hobson, Mariano Sambucetti, Glen Townson, Iain Grieve (c), James Merriman, Marco Mama.
Replacements: Rhys Lawrence (for Ross Johnston, 68 mins), Bruce Douglas (for Jason Hobson, 68 mins), Roy Winters (for Mariano Sambucetti, 56 mins), Mitch Eadie (for James Merriman, 57 mins), James Grindal (for Ruki Tipuna, 67 mins), Tristan Roberts (for Fautua Otto, 40 mins), Jack Tovey (for Jon Goodridge, 33 mins).
Referee: Ian Tempest