Friday 14 September 2012 – 8.00pm
Kingston Park, Newcastle
RFU Championship #3
The Falcons may have made hard work of beating Doncaster last night but 15 points out of 15 is as much we can expect so it was hardly a disastrous evening.
Fair enough most people seemed to expect 50 points but it doesn’t always go that way and Doncaster are not a bad team, they were very dogged and got away with a lot, bar the two yellow cards obviously, though the referee had little choice with either.
At the end of the day, the 22-game regular season is just an audition for the play-offs and the Premiership next season and this was just game three. All we have to do in this stage is finish in the top four.
Obviously there is a lot to work on as plenty of players have said on Twitter, but the season hasn’t been bad so far, certainly compared to most of the last few.
There were some good shows last night, Rory Lawson looks like he can do more with the ball in hand than pretty much any scrum-half we’ve had since the Armstrong, and I thought James Hudson and Jonny Golding had storming games. The forwards were generally solid bar a couple of dodgy scrums.
The backs seemed to lack a bit of direction and I’m afraid I have to agree with those who say that Waisea Luveniyali wasn’t great. I’m not sure where he really fits in when we have Gopperth, Hodgson and if need be Catterick. The pace seemed to pick up when Joel Hodgson came on for a lively cameo.
In fact I thought he had scored the third try, or maybe it was Lawson. The person in front of me thought it was Mark Wilson. The offy says Hudson. We had no idea, since only one speaker seemed to be working in the South Stand and it was over to the left.
Not the best start to the season on that front, nor was the lack of a clock. The one in the South has been completely taken out; with no apparent announcements when the teams came out, I thought maybe the MC had nicked it when he was sacked.
We should get the guy who does Sachsen (Chemie) Leipzig games, or at least did in 2004, he knew how to whip up a crowd and probably he wouldn’t even need a microphone.
On the plus side, the bars seemed to be quite well-staffed from what I could tell. There was a good, relaxed atmosphere most of the evening, in stark contrast to most games in the Premiership when it is either tense or depressed.
Back to matters on the pitch, the result was never really in doubt once the referee finally got bored of Doncaster’s pack infringing and gave a penalty try in the first half. Kicking a few penalties was probably sensible to calm everybody and secure the win, as Doncaster weren’t likely to score a try. If things seem difficult, get the game won first then worry about the tries later. It’s what Leicester have been doing for years and clearly it works.
The first half was probably the worst of the six we’ve had in the league so far, but it livened up after the break as Doncaster retired. If we can get a win at Pirates next week, even without a bonus point, that’ll be 19 points after four games and continue the good start.
Early contender for quote of the season last night: Me old lady turns to Slacker and says “I’m picking up a dog tomorrow!” (I’m not a big fan of dogs but at least it’s the right colour, black). Slacker turns on the razor-sharp wit: “Well we’ve all done that after a night out.”
It seems strange now to think I’ll not be at another game until Moseley away. The big question is whether to stick around in the office and listen to Big Smithy next Sunday, or race home to listen to the game, since I’ll be up at 1.40am on the Monday morning.
(Follow The South Stand Choir: @SouthStandChoir)