Match reaction: Newcastle Falcons 37-15 Rugby Calvisano


Sunday 8 December 2013 – 3.00pm

Kingston Park, Newcastle

Amlin Challenge Cup Pool 3 #3

With Thursday’s fifteen-hour power cut behind us (though not the pain in my back from chopping logs that afternoon on a very short stump), and the wi-fi signal holding out, I was all set yesterday afternoon to listen to the rugby while doing some serious typing.

The BBC commentary page seemed to be working OK, only there was no sound. Some seemed to get it working, but I was not the only one who didn’t. Never mind, and with one side of the screen filled with Twitter I spent the game flicking my eyes between there, Microsoft Word and my notepad.

I was a little disappointed to see that the first score was a penalty kick – with respect to Calvisano, they weren’t a team expected to offer much resistance – but the tries came and hopefully those backs out there will have got some confidence.

Not that I expect to see Alex Crockett playing in the Premiership any time soon.

I guess that, after all the condemnation the team got last week, these Amlin games are a no-win situation for the Falcons – win convincingly and that’s what is expected, struggle and the critics pile in again. We can only do what’s needed though and a bonus point victory takes us to the top of the pool after Brive, like ourselves in October, had a slim victory over Bucharest in Romania.

The front row seem to have played well from various comments, and Zach Kibirige too, getting more ball than against London Irish in the LV= Cup. Rory Clegg not so much though, and Joel Hodgson will no doubt be kicking himself for getting a yellow card on a rare outing, though opinion is split over how deserved the card was.

On that subject – EIGHT yellow cards? The referee will have been up all night reporting on them.

Before the game, the crowd was described as “sparse” on Twitter. An attendance of under 3,000, even for a European game on a horrible December day, is not great, and some fans weren’t too impressed with the atmosphere. I guess the weather, the opposition, full-price (mostly) and the lack of tries this season may have all come together to put people off.

Writing this by hand on the train home from the office today, I wrote a couple of paragraphs about why I didn’t go to the game yesterday but most of it was quite negative so actually I’m going to leave it out. One positive reason is that I have something on and spent a few hours on it yesterday, but I could physically have got there.

Next season will be better!

Last comment on yesterday’s result – great to see Noah Cato among the tries. For me, he has had a lot of unwarranted criticism this season that is a hangover from our indifferent start in the Championship. I’ve found that if Falcons players do not hit the ground running, it tends to take a long time for some fans to be won over, however well they do. It’s not like the rest of the team are running in the tries. Maybe this will be a turning point for Cato.

More importantly, with any luck it might be a turning point for the whole team too!

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


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