Garvey and Gomarsall tear apart Newcastle

Gloucester 31 - Newcastle 17
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The Independent Online

There is a new roof on the Shed, but if Gloucester ever produce anything to match the blistering try scored by Marcel Garvey in this match, they will have their hands full keeping it in place.

The Shedheads, part of the record-breaking 13,000 crowd, also enjoyed watching the superlative Cherry and White pack destroying the Falcons forwards. It took a couple of replacements at half-time for Newcastle to conjure up some kind of contest up front, but by then it was too late.

They had suffered a keen blow with the 24th minute loss of the centre Joe Shaw, and his replacement, the precociously talented Mathew Tait, was stuck out on the wing to Newcastle's cost. What the Falcons lacked, though, was a quick-witted, aggressive scrum-half like Andy Gomarsall, who induced a resounding roar from the Shed with a quickly taken penalty in the 14th minute, with the Falcons full-back Matt Burke well out of position.

"I had seen Matt Burke take the ball then give away that penalty," explained Gomarsall, "so I knew there was no full-back cover, and as soon as I heard Marcel calling out on my shoulder I knew what I had to do." What he did was chip the ball towards the corner. Garvey left everyone in his slipstream and touched down.

"It was nice to see Marcel sprinting through," added Gomarsall. It was also nice to see Gomarsall in such commanding form, though it has to be said that without his magnificent pack he would have struggled. They dominated the set-piece and the line-out and turned the breakdown into a Falcon-free area. Once again the front-row rookies Nick Wood and Terry Sigley belied their lack of experience. Once more Peter Buxton, a converted flanker, flourished at lock.

Newcastle will have to work hard on those two aspects. Gloucester had better ensure they have access to further roofing materials for the Shed.

Gloucester: Tries Garvey, Brown, Simpson-Daniel; Conversions Paul 2; Penalties Paul 3, McRae. Newcastle: Try Stephenson; Penalties Wilkinson 4.

Gloucester: J Goodridge; M Garvey (J Bailey, 38-40), T Fanolua, H Paul, J Simpson-Daniel; D McRae, A Gomarsall; N Wood (S Emms, 59), O Azam (C Fortey, 58), T Sigley, P Buxton, A Brown, J Boer (capt), A Balding (A Eustace, 50), A Hazell.

Newcastle: M Burke; T May, J Noon, J Shaw (M Tait, 24), M Stephenson; J Wilkinson (co-capt), J Grindal (H Charlton, 55); I Peel (co-capt; J Isaacson, 40), M Thompson (A Long, 40), M Hurter (Peel, 63), L Gross (C Hamilton, 75), S Grimes, M McCarthy (C Charvis, 40), P Dowson, S Setiti.

Referee: A Rowden (Berkshire)