Falcons' pace and fluency rewarded by Walder's boot

Newcastle 29 Wasps 28

If all Premiership matches played on international weekends were this good, there could be a case for staging more internationals. It was a game that had almost everything: a nerveless penalty from the touchline to win the game by Dave Walder in the sixth minute of stoppage time; two exceptional tries from Michael Roberts and a trademark touchdown by the elusive Ayoola Erinle; a remarkably self-assured debut by Toby Flood, and sufficient running and adventure from both sides to satisfy all those who like their rugby to be played with pace and width.

If all Premiership matches played on international weekends were this good, there could be a case for staging more internationals. It was a game that had almost everything: a nerveless penalty from the touchline to win the game by Dave Walder in the sixth minute of stoppage time; two exceptional tries from Michael Roberts and a trademark touchdown by the elusive Ayoola Erinle; a remarkably self-assured debut by Toby Flood, and sufficient running and adventure from both sides to satisfy all those who like their rugby to be played with pace and width.

For the home supporters, there was the added satisfaction of seeing Newcastle return to the top half of the table. Rob Andrew, the Falcons director of rugby joked: "It's just another day at the office - it was the same as every home game," before declaring "as good a win as we've had all season."

To take the pick of that lot, it was Flood's performance which deserves greatest praise. Just 19, he had only just recovered from a knee operation and was drafted in at full-back. Flood normally plays at outside-half for the Newcastle Academy team, and his pass out of the tackle to send Phil Dowson in for a sumptuous try just before the interval was a gem in a game which had more sparkle than a jeweller's shop window.

Although the match started with a mass brawl - no lasting damage was done - Phil Greening was given a warning as to his future behaviour and Newcastle gave warning that they were going to move the ball at every opportunity. By the time the break was reached, the Falcons were in front though not in command.

But they were playing with bravado and self-belief. Mark Wilkinson had contributed a try and Tom May three penalties and a conversion to make the score 16-11.

May started the riot of running with a beautifully clean break. A glazier could not have done it better. But the centre-turned-wing was hauled down with the line in sight. Wasps, it seemed, were going to be in for a breathless afternoon unless they could close down Newcastle's space. Lawrence Dallaglio's men never did, even after they went ahead for the first time with three minutes of normal time remaining.

At that stage it looked as if the Falcons had blown it. Tom Voyce received hoots of derision when he made a hash of dealing with a misdirected Newcastle kick, but somehow he recovered to release Roberts who made almost 60 metres for what had all the hallmarks of the winning try, especially as Mark van Gisbergen added a second conversion to put alongside his three penalties. But when Dallaglio was penalised for not rolling away at the tackle, up stepped Walder to deny disbelieving Wasps.

Newcastle: Tries Wilkinson, Dowson; Conversions May 2; Penalties May 3, Walder 2. Wasps: Tries Roberts 2, Erinle; Conversions Van Gisbergen 2; Penalties Van Gisbergen 3.

Newcastle: T Flood; T May, M Mayerhofler, E Atone (A Dehaty, 52), M Stephenson; M Wilkinson, J Grindal; I Peel (capt; J Isaacson, 30), M Thompson (A Long, 43), M Ward, L Gross (G Parling, 65), C Hamilton (M McCarthy, 79), S Sititi, C Harris, P Dowson.

Wasps: M Van Gisbergen; T Voyce, A Erinle (E Thrower, 68), M Priscott, M Roberts; H Biljon, A King; C Dowd, P Greening (J Barrett, 48), W Green (A McKenzie, 48; T Payne, 81), M Purdy (S Shaw, 48), R Birkett, J Hart, G Skivington (J O'Connor, 48), L Dallaglio (capt).

Referee: R Debney (Leicestershire).

Sport
sportSo, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Arts and Entertainment
Dennis speaks to his French teacher
tvThe Boy in the Dress, TV review
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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia was one of the 300 US cinemas screening
filmTim Walker settles down to watch the controversial gross-out satire
Sport
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballArsenal vs QPR match report
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
News
i100
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
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
News
i100
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

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