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).
Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies from spine injury after doing somersault celebration
Liverpool vs Real Madrid: Isco will provide just as great a threat at Anfield as the injured Gareth Bale would have
Angel Di Maria injury: Manchester United sweat over fitness of record signing as he is in danger of missing Chelsea clash
West Brom vs Manchester United player ratings: Saido Berahino scores highest, whilst Marcos Rojo scores lowest
Video: Boxer Vido Loncar brutally assaults referee following defeat
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world