Sunday 5 October 2014 – 3.00pm
Kingston Park, Newcastle
Aviva Premiership #5
I really struggled to sleep last night. I was probably still high from the afternoon. How I made it back to Cumbrialand straight after the match I don’t know, I felt high as a kite the whole drive, but it was just lovely to be contemplating a win for once.
Yes, it’s the morning after the Falcons’ first Premiership win for a few weeks short of a year, and what a win it was! A topsy-turvy game with a powerful and committed Exeter team that looked to have taken control with a 17-24 lead in the second half, until Tom Catterick’s converted try leveled the scores. The atmosphere, already hot, became thoroughly defiant at that stage. It was the spirit of Sale in 2012, of the playoff against Leeds. This was it – we are not going to lose.
The last few minutes after Noah Cato’s winning try were so horribly nerve-wracking – counting down the clock, the horror whenever Exeter got yet another penalty. All we can do is keep shouting and backing the team. And when the ball didn’t go straight out from that final scrum – aargh!!!
The relief when the ball flew high to the West Stand, the joy, the 500lb gorilla disappearing… fantastic! This was sport at its best, with tension, commitment, defiance, a cracking atmosphere. Would I swap Northampton’s start to the season for ours? Yes. Would I swap the way people are talking about Bath for the way people are talking about the Falcons? Yes. Would I swap places with a Bath or Northampton fan today? Not a chance.
All credit to the team for not letting their heads go down, whether it was at Exeter’s first try, the second that came from such a calamity from Alex Tait and Sinoti Sinoti, or going seven points down. There was real belief among the players, belief in themselves and each other, and belief in what they were trying to do. It has taken five games, but we have the win and now we have to keep doing the right thing and kick on. A look at the fixture list shows a golden opportunity to put together a little run of wins.
We’re not now suddenly going to climb the table and make a late dash for the playoffs, but there is some hope now that the monkey of twenty defeats is off the team’s baxk.
All eyes now on the big game at London Welsh on Saturday. On current form, we could well destroy them.
(Follow The South Stand Choir on Twitter: @SouthStandChoir)