Newcastle Falcons 18-10 Northampton Saints, Kingston Park
Northampton Saints' bid for securing a play off spot has been dealt a major blow as they succumbed to a 18-10 defeat to Newcastle Falcons in the 19th round of the Gallagher Premiership at Kingston Park.
The result meant Northampton continue to remain at fifth place but the gap over fourth positioned Harlequins is at 11 points with just three more rounds left in the regular season while Newcastle have made a jump to 10th position with 39 points.
The game also witnessed 1,750 spectators attending the match for the first time since Newcastle's home game against Bedford since March last year. The encounter also saw Will Welch making his 250th Newcastle appearance.
Both the teams looked scrappy early in the opening half and the end of the first quarter saw both teams down to 14-men temporarily with Northampton's Tom James and Newcastle's Callum Chick sin-binned for deliberate knock on.
The deadlock finally broke in the 38th minute when James Grayson kicked a 42m penalty kick to get the visitors off the mark before Brett Connon kicked a three-pointer of his own just before the break to ensure the teams were levelled 3-3 at the end of the opening half.
Northampton were the quickest to get off the block in the second half when an offload from Grayson set up Paul Hill over the line in the 52nd minute before the fly-half kicked the extras to make it 3-10. Four minutes later the scores were once again levelled with this time Adam Radwan diving in at the right corner following a 5m scrum and Connon slotted the conversion.
The home side seized the lead in the 62nd minute when Matias Orlando fed Chidera Obonna as he dotted down in the left corner making it 15-10. Grayson had a chance to narrow down the deficit but his 40m penalty kick went wide of the posts before his counterpart Connon also missed a three-pointer in the 75th minute.
With two minutes left in the game, Connon with a relatively simpler chance with a 10m penalty kick ensured there was no slip up as Newcastle completed a 18-10 victory.
Team line up:
Newcastle: Penny; Radwan, Orlando, Burrell, Wacokecoke; Connon, Schreuder; Brocklebank, McGuigan, Davison, Peterson, Robinson, Welch, Wilson, Chick.
Reserves: Blamire, Cooper, Tampin, van der Walt, Fearns, Stuart, Hodgson, Obonna.
Northampton: Furbank; Sleightholme, Proctor, Hutchinson, Freeman; Grayson, James; Waller, Matavesi, Hill, Ribbans, Ratuniyarawa, Wood, Ludlam, Harrison.
Reserves: Haywood, Auterac, Painter, Coles, Adendorff, Taylor, Dingwall, Collins.
Widely regarded as the most competitive rugby union league in the world...it can only be the Gallagher Premiership.
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