Match reaction: Newcastle Falcons 8-16 Sale Sharks


Friday 3 January 2014 – 7.45pm

Kingston Park, Newcastle

Aviva Premiership #12


I got on the train home from the office and got a text off the missus saying “Electricity’s off”. Not for the first time recently. I blame myself. The previous two times I’d tried to listen to Falcons games on the internet this season hadn’t worked out, so it was maybe fate that last night wouldn’t either.


No mobile signal in the Village of the Damned so no chance at following Twitter either.


Then, at 8.30pm, we had light again! It took me a few minutes to work out that the modem wasn’t working because we had the old phone plugged in instead, and then the internet wouldn’t work very quickly. Another reset of the modem. Finally I got the BBC commentary page up on the tablet. “This content is not available on your device” prompted a Homer Simpson-style yelp from me, and I whipped out the computer to try on there. “If this doesn’t work, I’m watching Hebburn,” I said.


It worked. We were 8-13 and a man down at half-time, and there didn’t seem too much positivity from the commentators at the break. I clung to what I later found out were straws – in 80 minutes we had doubled our try tally for the Premiership season.


In the second half, it just seemed that again and again the Falcons ran into walls and had no idea how to do anything different. “Stupid” was a word used by Big Smithy and friends several times. In the end, we couldn’t even keep hold of the bonus point.


There didn’t sound like there was any creativity at all, any possibility of doing something new or unpredictable. The cheer when Godman came off and Clegg on was probably the biggest of the second half, or so it sounded on the radio, but that led me to look at who we had on the bench.


Montanella, Tomaszczyk, Tomes, Mayhew, Clegg, Fitzpatrick. All useful players, but not ones who are going to change a game when we need something new. Five of those are big, physical guys, and Clegg is very much a steady Eddie at fly-half. Putting on someone like Hodgson, Kibirige or even if we were to bring Mark Wilson on for Mayhew gives the tiring Sale defence something a bit different to think about.


I’d like to think that we will go out in the next four games, in the Amlin and LV= Cups, and attack our opponents, try to build a winning style and a momentum. We have had six cup games so far this season, and with the possible exception of Brive away, utterly wasted the lot of them according to the league results that followed. We don’t have much time left.


Realistically, Worcester are not going to find the form to win four or five games while we do not win another this season, so we should be safe. Worcester this year are the worst team the Premiership since Rotherham lost 22 out of 22, so we should be letting the team off the leash rather than always looking over our shoulders. That isn’t working.


Belief in what you are doing is one thing. Recognising when to listen to Einstein’s “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” is a skill that the best managers have. It is time for Dean Richards to prove he is still up there with the best.


Too bad that in the coming Thursday night games there won’t be many people around to witness any improvement.



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


2 responses to “Match reaction: Newcastle Falcons 8-16 Sale Sharks

  1. An interesting game to miss…….

    I went to the game thinking this one was winnable and a good chance to put some more points on Worcester. The team came out and looked up for it, and my word it was like watching a different team. The new winger, looked good and keen to impress and brookes looked hungry. In short like watching a different team. We put the effort in pressed forward and it was good to watch.

    But then off the boil and back to plan A – kick. Then kick, and then kick, apply some pressure and then kick. (I think you may be spotting a trend here!) The game went flat. Fairly tight at half time and in most games i would have accepted it, but we *should* have been ahead by this point.

    Second half started brightly but again plan A. At this point the crowd who had at points been vocal started to get fed up, and around me in the North, I heard shouts of “dont kick” and “try something different” and that perhaps sums it up.

    Sinoti was very good and looks a really good addition to the squad.

    Re your point around Godman, I cheered him off I have to admit, as he’s been somewhat lacking in the last few games. Dare I say almost the weakest link? General discussion around us was why is he starting? A player if low of confidence, isnt going to gain any in the current climate.

    Scrum half was often too slow which didnt help, but a real positive was lineout which worked well and its not often we get to say that.

    MOTM for me was Lawson who appeared everywhere!

    Lastly, Mr Small didnt really help us, one of theirs could/should have been binned but such is life we cant do anything about that. If we converted some of our pressure then it would be an issue.

    good luck for attending your next game, or getting the power to hang in !

    Steve @ the northstand.

    • Cheers Steve, plan A just doesn’t seem to be working and when plan B did in the last 20 against Wasps, it was like they decided “Right, we can make some progress playing that way, now lets get back to making the kicking game work.” I think most of us would just like to see some signs of a winning game coming together, but in recent domestic games it hasn’t happened. The game plan in the cup games will be interesting.

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