Falcons put an end to Bath's golden run
Newcastle 19 Bath 17
Sunday 26 October 2003
It will be the end of the season before we will know if John Connolly has sparked a revolution at Bath or if their early-season form has been no more than a mini-revival after the horrors of last May, when they escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth, beating Newcastle in the final game.
Connolly was yesterday understandably disappointed at the manner of Bath's first defeat of the season, even if his team still sit at the top of the Premiership table. "We have the right mental attitude," he said, "and we're still a good side, even if defeat hurts. But we'll bounce back."
Since Connolly's arrival in the summer, Bath have undergone a remarkable transformation. Even without Danny Grewcock, their pack are as formidable as any in the Premiership. When all their backs return from the World Cup they could be some side, and perhaps then we shall see the Bath of old.
However their forwards made a strangely muted start at Kingston Park yesterday and nearly conceded an early try when Hugh Vyvyan almost squeezed in at the left corner. Once they established a foothold in Newcastle territory, Olly Barkley banged over a short penalty, to equal Dave Walder's first strike on 10 minutes.
Barkley kicked another to tie the scores after Walder's second. By then Newcastle had lost their scrum-half, Hall Charlton, with a head injury. But for a side unbeaten in their opening six games, Bath looked bereft of attacking ideas or the craft needed to open up the Falcons' defence. Not that Newcastle were notably superior in that department, but at least they made every effort to create some space for their runners. The tryless half finished with Walder and Barkley missing with penalties, though Walder was then on target from 40 metres, to leave the Falcons 9-6 ahead at the break.
From the restart what had been a game on the somnambulant side of dreary sprung to life. Isaac Feau'nati began the fun with a try from an overlap to give Bath the lead for the first time in the match. But Matt Perry spoiled the good work of his forwards by making an awful hash of a speculative kick and chase from Mark Mayerhofler. Replacement flanker Phil Dowson made the most of Jamie Noon's tackle on the Bath full-back and bagged a try which turned likely defeat into victory. Walder's conversion and a fourth penalty sealed it for the Falcons.
Newcastle: D Walder; T May, J Noon, M Mayerhofler, M Stephenson; P Godman, H Charlton (J Grindal, 19); I Peel (D Wilson, h-t), N Makin, M Ward, G Archer, C Hamilton (P Dowson, 67), J Dunbar (E Taione, 74), W Britz, H Vyvyan (capt).
Bath: M Perry (R Blake, 70); A Higgins, A Crockett (G Knox, 65), O Barkley, B Daniel (J Williams, 54); C Malone, M Wood; D Flatman, J Humphreys (capt; L Mears, 52), D Bell (M Stevens, 39), S Borthwick, R Fidler, A Beattie, M Lipman, I Feau'nati.
Referee: D Thompson (Ashington).
Arsenal vs Besiktas: Seven reasons why Arsenal could suffer a Champions League upset
Manchester United transfer news: Is Angel Di Maria really worth £59.7m?
MK Dons vs Manchester United League Cup match report: Louis van Gaal is humiliated after Jonny Evans' error sparks drubbing
Fernando Torres: Chelsea striker insisting on permanent AC Milan deal - reports
Angel Di Maria to Manchester United: Winger was once sold for 35 footballs - now it's £60m
- 1 Rice Bucket Challenge: India's take on the Ice Bucket Challenge 'for Indian needs'
- 2 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 Rubble Bucket Challenge: Ice Bucket Challenge adapted in solidarity with Gazans whose homes have been destroyed in conflict
- 5 Teenager dies after suspected ice bucket challenge goes horribly wrong
Exclusive: We share blame for creating 'jihad generation', says Muslim strategist
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
Jeremy Clarkson is a cultural tumour and needs to be removed, says comedian Frankie Boyle
Air strikes? Talk of God? Barack Obama is following the jihadists’ script after James Foley beheading