RUGBY UNION: Few comforts for Cramb

David Donaldson assess the big task facing Newcastle RFC's new manager
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The Independent Online
Wakefield 26 Newcastle 7

Perhaps Rob Andrew should have looked before he leapt into the arms of Sir John Hall. Were it not for the minor consolation of pounds 750,000, the England stand-off might have reconsidered his move to the North-east had he seen Newcastle swatted aside by Wakefield on Saturday.

Andrew, and the others who find the A1 northbound paved with gold, will have to make an immediate impact or the big names will be in danger of parading their expensive wares in the Third Division.

Ironically, given Andrew's recruitment, the one area Newcastle appear well off is at stand-off where Richard Cramb was a beacon of quality in a sea of mediocrity. He did well considering that he was still recovering from the shock of Andrew's appointment as director of development - and his own successor.

"I only found out when everyone else did," Cramb admitted. "I was as surprised as anyone. Rob is one of the biggest names in English sport. He has got 70-odd caps and you can't put a price on that sort of experience - although it looks like we have."

At the moment, the Wakefield coach, Jim Kilfoyle, has every justification for his belief that his side are the better bet to reach the First Division.

"Even with Rob Andrew and their full side out, Newcastle are not strong enough to get out of the Second Division. They will need a cadre of experienced players to do it," he said.

After Nick Green's 29th-minute pushover try, only determined tackling prevented Wakefield breaching the Newcastle line again until four minutes from time when the stand-off Richard Petyt jinked over.

Mike Jackson's conversion took him to 16 points before the referee awarded Newcastle an injury-time penalty try after Cramb was pulled back by Simon Croft. Tony Spreadbury was a victim of the pace of change in the North-east, continually referring to Newcastle as Gosforth. He need not worry - there will be plenty more victims to come.

Wakefield: Tries Green, Petyt; Conversions Jackson 2; Penalties Jackson 4. Newcastle: Try Penalty try; Conversion Clark.

Wakefield: M Jackson (capt); A Sleightholme, P Maynard, P White, N Miller; R Petyt, D Scully; R Latham, T Garnett, R Szabo, S Croft, D Falkingham, C Rushworth, N Green, K Yates.

Newcastle: I Chandler; T Penn, R Wilkinson (capt), J Fletcher, P Clark; R Cramb, G Robson; M Long, A Hetherington, P Bennett (J Lill, 38), F Mitchell, M Walker, N Frankland, D Holder, S Cassidy.

Referee: A Spreadbury (Bristol).