Match reaction: Bath Rugby 24-6 Newcastle Falcons

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Saturday 8 February 2014 – 3.00pm
The Recreation Ground, Bath
Aviva Premiership #13

The morning after the night before in Bath. It’s already better than the last time I woke up after matchday down here – my knee isn’t shooting and the fire alarm didn’t go off at 8am. My head? Meh.

The Supporters Club should do more of these overnight trips, we certainly have enough long distance games to do them. It was great to meet new people last night, put names to faces, and learn more about people I’ve been seeing at the match for years.

The game? Another meh. At half-time I really couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen a half of rugby dominated so much by one team. Until our equalising penalty don’t think the ball was in Bath’s half except for when we kicked off after Bath scored their kick, and yet the Plugs never looked like scoring a try really. We defended fantastically.

I can’t say we played well though. If we had 25% possession in the first half I’d be surprised. We offered nothing in attack – on the rare occasions we had the ball, there was no sign of any invention.

There was reason to be optimistic perhaps, and of course we did go 3-6up just after half-time. But then it all happened. We’ve already seen this season, most starkly at Northampton, what happens when you defend for 70 minutes against a good team and offer nothing creative. They stay patient, keep plugging away, then they eventually score and the game is lost.

If we balance Bath’s possession against our good defence, I’d say one more try for Bath and it would have been a fair result.

What to do? One thing might be to realise that we have a fly-half who is liable to do something stupid and give away a try, but who can also create tries. We are conceding already – one more won’t hurt and since we don’t really have an ultra-reliable goal kicker, tries are surely what we must be going for.

I noticed an interesting thing during the first half. After half an hour perhaps, Andy Saull’s shirt was brown. Standing behind the goal relatively close to the pitch, I got a decent view of the work he does, a lot of stealing and disruption. Definitely our man of the match for me.

Oh yes, sorry – the interesting thing. So Saull’s shirt was brown, and I looked around to see who also had a dirty shirt. None of the other forwards stood out, but Noah Cato and Phil Godman looked like they had been putting themselves about.

Godman didn’t have a great game yesterday but he had little to work with really and with how dominated we were as a team, any defensive fly-half would have had difficulties.

Apart from Saull, I can’t remember any player really standing out for the Falcons and with a scoreline of 24-6 perhaps that not surprising.

After the game it was great to spend some time with other members of the Falcons family and meet new people. Rugby is never just about the 80 minutes and that’s a very good thing – if it were, most of us would have given up a few years ago.

Right, off for a walk along the Avon now to clear the head. Running wasn’t really an option this morning!

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

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