Match preview: Wasps v Newcastle Falcons

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Sunday 28 September 2014 – 2.00pm

Adams Park, High Wycombe

Aviva Premiership #4

 

Like most people I imagine, I have always referred to Wasps as ‘Wasps’, even since they adopted the ‘London’ tag in 1999. However, to see it written above as just ‘Wasps’ seems strange now.

 

The Falcons make a quick return to High Wycombe this Sunday looking to avoid the psychological milestone of twenty consecutive Premiership defeats, having hit fifteen in that run at Adams Park back in May. Travelling Geordies saw an entertaining game that day and returned home contemplating not one but two bonus points.

 

It was topsy-turvy with Joel Hodgson converting all five (yes five – scored by Noah Cato (two), Mike Blair, George McGuigan and Hodgson himself) Newcastle tries, but ultimately Wasps (there I did it again) won out 44-38.

 

Flamboyantly-haired flanker Ashley Johnson was among the home side’s try-scorers, following on from his leading the Falcons a merry dance at KP last Christmas. Johnson also scored in Wasps’ last home game, a 20-16 defeat of champions Northampton. Former England winger Tom Varndell also crossed the white line and Andy Goode and Ruaridh Jackson’s boots completed the upset.

 

Scottish international Jackson is one player we won’t have to worry about on Sunday, as sadly for the fly-half, his club and Scotland, he will be out with ACL injury for a fair few months.

 

Sunday could be one of our last visits to the High Wycombe industrial estates that contains Adams Park (although for the second season in a row I won’t be there) as Wasps are reported to be looking at moving up to Coventry, where the Ricoh Arena could be their new home. If the Falcons were to get a first league win for eleven months, it would be only a third win at Wasps’ current ground.

 

Our first win at Adams Park came in early January 2010, when Steve Bates’ side reversed the equivalent game’s scoreline the previous season and won 6-12. Dave Walder – now of our parish again of course – and Mark van Gisbergen scored penalties for Wasps, but Jimmy Gopperth’s four kicks gave us victory in a game that really announced Jonny Golding to the wider rugby world as he put in a one-hour man of the match performance.

 

There were a few contenders for the next ‘Falcons that time forgot’ in our team for that win – Rob Vickerman, Charlie Amesbury, Josh Afu, Filipo Levi, and the indomitable Gcobani ‘We’re on the pitch’ Bobo.

 

The aforementioned game in April 2009 is one that will live long in the memory of many who were there for one moment. Danny Cipriani missed a penalty, but taking the Falcons’ drop-out in his own half, Wasps’ fly-half just dropped the ball and nonchalantly booted it back through the posts. Whatever your opinion of Cipriani, you just had to applaud that.

 

Falcons away to Wasps:

31/03/1979             Sunbury                     Club Match                W24-6

30/01/1982             Sunbury                     Club Match                W23-12

29/01/1983             Sunbury                     Club Match                D6-6

30/03/1985             Sunbury                     Club Match                L0-32

29/11/1986             Sudbury                     Club Match                L13-22

07/04/1990             Sunbury                     Club Match                L0-38

28/09/1991             Sudbury                     Club Match                L6-23

25/09/1993             Sunbury                     Division 1                   L21-38

16/12/1995             Sunbury                     Club Match                L5-13

22/04/1998             Loftus Road                Premiership 1           L17-18

18/04/1999             Loftus Road                Premiership 1           L33-34

30/10/1999             Loftus Road                Premiership 1           D19-19

30/01/2000             Loftus Road                Cup R5                       L30-36

28/03/2001             Loftus Road                Premiership               L7-44

11/11/2001             Loftus Road                Premiership               W33-30

01/03/2003             Adams Park               Premiership               L12-13

02/11/2003             Adams Park               Premiership               L26-30

10/10/2004             Adams Park               Premiership               L29-43

08/01/2006             Adams Park               Premiership               L6-21

15/10/2006             Adams Park               Premiership               L15-35

25/11/2007             Adams Park               Premiership               L12-35

01/12/2007             Adams Park               Cup                             L6-24

05/04/2009             Adams Park               Premiership               L6-12

03/01/2010             Adams Park               Premiership               W12-6

02/01/2011             Adams Park               Premiership               L16-33

05/05/2012             Adams Park               Premiership               W14-10

03/05/2014             Adams Park               Premiership               L38-44

 

5 May 2012 – that day will also live long in the memory of every Falcons fan who was among the 500 of us who outsang almost 10,000 home supporters and comprehensively won the battle on the terraces, even if tries from James Fitzpatrick and Peter Stringer were not enough to overhaul Wasps at the bottom of the table.

 

“Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, we’re going to Jersey!” We went. “To be relegated would be a great adventure.” It was.

 

 

Just a preview of past games today from info on my hard disk as we’re on the Isle of Mull, with not much internet connection and even less time to upload this. Hopefully I might find somewhere to get commentary on Sunday, otherwise, back on the mainland I’ll be digging out a curry house with Wifi to find out the score.

 

Happy weekend everyone!

 

 

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

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