Newcastle Falcons 9-22 Bath, Aviva Premiership, September 3
Bath cruise past Falcons
September 3, 2011
Highlights of Newcastle Falcons' loss to Bath%]
Bath opened their Aviva Premiership campaign with a 22-9 victory over Newcastle Falcons at Kingston Park on Saturday night.
A try from Matt Carraro and eight points from the boot of Sam Vesty helped Bath into a 13-9 lead at the break, with Jimmy Gopperth landing three penalties for Newcastle by way of response. Bath eased home thereafter courtesy of three further penalties from Vesty.
Bath's pack dominated the game and Newcastle did themselves no favours by conceding lots of penalties, mainly at the breakdown.
The match did not start well for the Falcons - they made a mess of their first line-out to concede possession and were then penalised at the first scrum for taking it down. They also conceded the opening try after just eight minutes when Vesty sliced through the Falcons midfield and delivered a perfectly-timed pass for Carraro to score under the posts. Vesty made it 7-0 with the conversion.
It took Newcastle a while to get going before a catch and drive and a crossfield kick from Gopperth stretched Bath and a penalty resulted, which the Falcons No.10 landed in the 12th minute for 7-3.
Ben Williams banged through on the crash ball enough to put Newcastle on the back foot and Vesty clipped over a 30-metre drop goal for 10-3 in the 15th minute.
Back came Newcastle, who now looked far more lively, and some steady forward drives led to a penalty for offside from which Gopperth made it 10-6.
He missed out with a 55-metre shot shortly afterwards and Vesty also missed much simpler chance with both sides straying offside in a tight midfield struggle. But he did stretch Bath's lead to 13-6 with a penalty in the 33rd minute.
The award came much to Newcastle's disgust as it followed a crooked line-out throw by Bath which referee Martin Fox missed, as he did with a late tackle on Luke Fielden as the winger kicked through. Newcastle had every right to feel aggrieved and it showed as they tore into Bath.
Alex Tait and Chris Pilgrim both went close in a searing attack which rather fizzled out but led to a penalty which Gopperth knocked over for 13-9 in the 37th minute. Gopperth had another crack from 50 metres right on half-time but he was no more successful this time as he had been earlier on from 55 metres.
Again Newcastle failed to look after the ball at the start of the second half and compounded the error by giving away another penalty for going in at the side. Vesty easily made it 16-9 and then 19-9 after Newcastle were penalised again at the scrum just before the hour.
And it was Vesty who put the game beyond Newcastle's reach with his fifth penalty in the 63rd minute as the Falcons struggled to break the Bath forwards' stranglehold on the match.
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