Match reaction: Newcastle Falcons 29-9 Nottingham

Friday 9 November 2012 – 8.00pm

Kingston Park, Newcastle

RFU Championship #9

I go to far more Falcons matches that I don’t go to, at least the first team, so it was a bit weird listening to the game on BBC Newcastle. Once the commentary finally began working online about 10 minutes in, as suddenly Big Smithy’s unmistakeable accent filled my living room. Not the kitchen though, the tumble dryer was still on.

So finally I could go and make me toast. I don’t like eating when, well, not stressed, but when something isn’t working.

It must have been about 10 minutes in, and after 20 minutes Nottingham kicked a penalty. I wondered if this was the first time we’ve been losing at home this season, but alas we weren’t losing – Twitter showed a 7-3 lead, but no tweet about the actual try. I was surprised neither Smithy nor Mark Laycock beside him mentioned the score for so long.

I see from the offy that Richard Mayhew was the scorer.

Discipline didn’t sound too good in the first half, even if the commentators were not quite in agreement with the referee at every decision. They were pretty shocked that it took six scrum penalties to give us a penalty try later in the game, and Laycock made a good point when saying that five minutes of potential rugby time had been wasted.

This is a major reason why the scrum has to be sorted out, it is very frustrating to watch and I bet the players out there, especially the backs on a cold night, don’t enjoy constant resets either.

That said, it appears Oliver Tomaszczyk had a particularly strong game up front. Indeed his opposite Matt Parr was sin-binned in the final 10 minutes.

That led to the penalty try and then a man up the Falcons got the bonus point through the returning Luke Fielden.

So, it sounded like a solid night’s work, at least in the second half when the Falcons turned the screw a bit after a sluggish first 40. I think the problem we have playing for 80 minutes needs to be sorted ahead of the play-offs, where nerves and psychology can come into play and where mistakes may be far more costly, and a potential return to the Premiership, where they are far more likely to be punished.

I’m not expecting us to win the league next season if we go up, or perhaps even qualify for the Heineken at the first attempt, but you’d hope we’d be well clear of relegation by March or April. That is what we also have to be working towards, as well as the obvious goal of promotion.

Bedford grabbed a tight win at Doncaster last night to re-take second place but we are now 12 points ahead of the Blues, squeaking an extra point on them and increasing our lead at the top from eight as Nottingham drop to third. Next up in the league is Jersey two weeks from today, and I really cannot wait for that one.

Obviously on Tuesday there is the friendly at home to Tonga also, which for those going should be quite a night, not just watching an international side in action but also seeing them perform the Sipi Tau war dance pre-match. I’ve always been a fan of the Haka, and their Samoan and Tongan equivalents.

Anyway, back to the radio, I listen to a lot of football on 5 Live (I blame my occasional anger management issues on growing up to the sound of Alan Green) and TalkSport, and those guys talk a lot. But in rugby, when the ball is in play there is always something happening and it is only when you’ve been up in the commentary box, as I have on several occasions in the fanzone with Smithy and previously Kevin too, that you realise how hard a job it is to talk that quickly, watch what is going on, and also think about the next issue to bring up.

It’s giving me a sore throat just to think about it.

(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)


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