Unfortunately for the Newcastle Falcons, the Friday night chill did not freeze all of the assets Wasps had at their disposal at Kingston Park last night. The Guinness Premiership champions were missing their sizeable England contingent but still had the right boot of Dave Walder. The former Newcastle fly-half landed six penalties out of six to give his side a one-point advantage before replacement prop Charlie Beech barged over for the 78th-minute try that put the win in the bag for Ian McGeechan's men.
With just four minutes on the clock, Rory Clegg, Newcastle's stand-off, spun the ball out from an attacking line-out and Danny Williams skidded home in the far corner. Clegg squeezed over the conversion. But when Walder succeeded with his first pot at the posts, Wasps started to build a steady platform. Clegg added a penalty, giving the Falcons a 10-3 lead, but thereafter Walder could not stop banging over the three pointers. There were four more in the second quarter, nudging Wasps into a 15-10 lead.
Two minutes into the second half Newcastle were back in front, Tom May finishing a counter-attack from deep launched by a deft Clegg chip and the young fly-half adding the extras with his right boot. There the scores remained until Walder landed his sixth penalty with 12 minutes remaining. The Newcastle old boy fluffed three drop goals and also a conversion, a luxury after Beech had effectively secured the win.
Newcastle: Tries Williams, May; Penalty Clegg; Conversions Clegg 2. Wasps: Try Beech; Penalties Walder 6.
Newcastle: S Jones; D Williams, T May, T Tu'ipulotu, J Rudd (T Visser, 63); R Clegg, J Grindal (H Charlton, 69); J Golding, M Thompson (A Long, 50), D Wilson (M Ward, 63), G Parling (T Swinson, 54), M Sorenson, E Williamson, B Wilson, P Dowson (capt).
Wasps: L Mitchell; C Bishay, J Lewsey, M Van Gisbergen, T Voyce (J Staunton, 50-52; R Hoadley, 78); D Walder, E Reddan; T French, R Webber, P Barnard (C Beech, 48), G Skivington , R Birkett, D Leo (H Ellis, 55), S Betsen, J Worsley (capt) (J Hart, 35).
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