Metcalfe towers

Newcastle 26 Moseley 5
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The Independent Online
YOU have to hand it to Sir John Hall. The hype matches the reality at St James's Park, and his optimism about a similar glorious future at Kingston Park, home of his rugby club, seems well-founded. He wrote in yesterday's match programme: "Exciting times are ahead - make no mistake about that."

A start was made towards those exciting times as Newcastle comfortably progressed into the last 16 of the Pilkington Cup at the expense of the sadly outclassed Moseley.

Without the ineligible Rob Andrew and his glamorous signings, Newcastle were in control throughout, scoring four tries to one. The Birmingham club - fourth in League Two compared to the bottom place of Sir John's acquisition - began as marginal favourites yesterday, with two league victories against Newcastle under their belt.

However, the boot was soon on the other foot. Hooker Neil Frankland was driven over after 17 minutes following aggressive approach play by scrum- half George Robson and No 8 Richard Arnold. Moseley, struggling for possession and territory, could not contain a vigorous performance by their opponents' pack, typified by the commitment of Arnold. Shortly after helping to create the opening try, hescored himself, and with Richard Cramb adding a second conversion, Andrew's charges led 14-0.

Moseley's one chance before the break was fluffed: after 20 minutes Alastair Kerr was presented with a straightforward penalty opportunity but his effort fell short.

After a first-half display producing negligible ball and scarce attacking positions, Moseley's skipper Neil Martin must have questioned his side's ability. Newcastle, though, could have no complaints, and the second half began in identical fashion with the home side on the attack.

The third try was not long in arriving. Richard Metcalfe, who is just over seven feet tall, won a line-out on Moseley's line and the pack gathered to drive over loose-head prop Matt Long.Metcalfe threatened consistently, scoring as Newcastle seized a match-winning 24-0 lead. Three minutes after Newcastle's fourth try, Moseley offered a brief glimpse of a revival. Centre Jan Bonney burst through and laid on a try for wing Dave Wilkinson.

Moseley tried hard to counter-attack but made no impact. Their desperate predicament was summed up when scrum-half Mark Chudleigh limped off.

Newcastle: I McLennan; M Brummit, J Fletcher, R Wilkinson (capt), I Chandler, R Cramb, G Robson, M Long, N Frankland, P Van Zandvliet, F Mitchell, R Metcalfe, D Holder, S Cassidy, R Arnold.

Moseley: C Dossett; D Hanson, B Massey, J Bonney, D Wilkinson, A Kerr, M Chudleigh (Miles, 70), R Fuller, D Ball, N Webber, M Bright, B Langley, N Martin (capt), M Ord, S Owen.

Referee: S Piercy (Yorkshire).

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