Rugby Union: Wilkinson deepens Bath's misery

Newcastle 25

Bath 22

JONNY WILKINSON, the 19-year-old Newcastle player being groomed for stardom by Rob Andrew, spared his mentor's blushes with a flawless display of kicking at Kingston Park yesterday.

Wilkinson landed his sixth penalty, to make it seven successes from seven attempts, just one minute from time to settle a pulsating Tetley's Bitter Cup fourth-round tie. His straight 40-metre kick sailed unerringly between the posts to complete Newcastle's remarkable fight-back from a 22-6 half- time deficit which owed much to a nightmare five minutes suffered by Andrew.

After losing his right-hand man, Dean Ryan, to Bristol in mid-week it simply didn't look like being Andrew's day. Penalised for a high tackle on Gareth Cooper, he saw Mike Catt give Bath an 8-6 lead after 31 minutes and two converted tries before half-time put the visitors in command.

The first followed Iain Balshaw's interception of an Andrew pass, allowing Bath to turn defence into attack, with Cooper chipping to the line, where the ball was recycled for Catt to cut through under the posts. Russell Earnshaw, deputising for Eric Peters, then touched down after a Newcastle clearance was charged down and Catt's second conversion seemed to leave the Falcons' Cup hopes in tatters.

Within 10 minutes of the re-start, however, Wilkinson had struck three times to set up the storming finish and Newcastle drew level eight minutes from time when Ross Beattie seized on a loose ball to burst through under the posts, giving Wilkinson a simple conversion.

Newcastle twice went close to scoring in the first three minutes, with Va'aiga Tuigamala heavily involved both times. First he introduced himself to Balshaw by bouncing off the youngster's tackle and sending Stuart Legg hurtling towards the corner. Legg's kick went dead, but Bath were immediately back under pressure as Tuigamala surprised them by kicking into space and hacking on almost to the line where Marius Hurter, the South African prop, seemed to have driven over. He was penalised for a double movement, however, and Newcastle had nothing to show for their early supremacy.

Wilkinson put them ahead with a 35-metre penalty after 13 minutes, but Bath went in front three minutes later when they kicked a penalty to touch and Richard Webster was driven over from the lineout.

The lead did little for Andy Robinson's peace of mind and the embattled Bath coach was clearly infuriated when referee Ashley Rowden bowed to a touch-judge's intervention and penalised Webster for trying to ruck Peter Walton out of the way. "It's a man's game," shouted Robinson, knowing that Walton had been lying on the wrong side.

Bath repelled two more barnstorming surges by Tuigamala and although Wilkinson put Newcastle 6-5 ahead the lead was again short-lived as Andrew's high tackle proved a turning point.

Andrew almost redeemed himself when a late drop-goal attempt drifted left of the posts, but at least it led to the drop-out at which Bath were fatally penalised when Ben Sturnham was guilty of leaning on an opponent. Wilkinson's resultant penalty ensured that Newcastle overhauled the sort of lead which the Bath of old would not have surrendered.

Robinson said afterwards: "At half-time we said it was nil-nil. We were taking nothing for granted but we missed one tackle and allowed Beattie to score. The season's not over. There are three months to go and we are a professional side."

Newcastle: S Legg; J Naylor, M Shaw, R Andrew (capt), V Tuigamala; J Wilkinson, G Armstrong; G Graham, R Nesdale, M Hurter, G Archer, D Weir, P Walton, R Beattie, J Cartmell.

Bath: M Perry (I Evans, 52 min); I Balshaw, K Maggs, J Guscott, A Adebayo; M Catt, G Cooper; D Hilton (K Yates, 65 min), M Regan, V Ubogu, M Haag, S Borthwick, R Earnshaw, D Lyle, R Webster (capt B Sturnham, 51 min).

Referee: A Rowden (RFU).

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Robin van Persie scores the third for Manchester United with a perfectly-guided header
footballLive! Chelsea vs West Ham kicked off 10 Boxing Day matches, with Arsenal vs QPR closing the action
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
football
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all