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As you were at the bottom of the league

By Leipziger
November 6 2011

The Falcons and Worcester ended Friday night as they had begun it, five points apart at the bottom of the Premiership as we missed a golden opportunity to move closer to the Warriors.

As it is, it looks like it will now be very difficult for the Falcons to avoid finishing 12th in the table. Not impossible, but very difficult.


Following an offer of £10 a ticket, just over 7,000 people packed into KP on a dark Friday evening. Nerves were fraying in the Hiding Place pre-match and the South Stand punters were huddling around the bars waiting for their wee nip of courage.


On the long walk down Newbiggin Lane I had remembered Owen Wilson's line in Armageddon, something like “I'm 98% excited and 2% scared. Or maybe it's 2% excited and 98% scared. That's what makes it so intense!” I do like pre-match tension.


Alan Tait had hoped to have Richard Mayhew in the team but his place was taken late on by Mark Wilson, and Jeremy Manning dropped to the bench in favour of Greg Goosen. Another change at scrum-half brought Jordi Pasqualin in.


For Worcester, local interest was provided by former blacks Adam Balding and Oliver Tomaszczyk being on the away bench.


In a feisty encounter Joe Carlisle opened the scoring with a penalty, but Jimmy Gopperth equalised following a strong home attack. The fly-halves exchanged further kicks ahead of the first try.


Shaun Perry was the scorer, rounding through a gap in the Falcons defence on the left side. I didn't even know Perry, once considered the saviour of England before he ran into South Africa in the 2007 World Cup groups, was still playing.


Carlisle converted and the first half ended nervously for the Falcons, but we managed to stay in touch at 6-13.


The Falcons came out of the dressing room a seemingly different team, and Gopperth quickly reduced the deficit with a third penalty.


A break by Alex Tait towards the line almost yielded a try but his offload to Corne Uys was knocked on by the centre with the tryline agonisingly close. These are things that just don't go your way when you are bottom of the league. Or, as Mrs Gunzee suggested in Quote of the Day, “Maybe he doesn't like wet balls”.


Despite the Falcons putting Worcester under pressure, with several replacements including Tim Swinson, Jeremy Manning and Chris Pilgrim now on the pitch, we couldn't score and Andy “the big fella” Goode came on and kicked a penalty from just inside his own half.


All hope of a win seemed to have disappeared, but there was still the possibility of a draw and roared on by a vocal crowd, a powerful attack ended with Michael Mayhew diving over for the crucial try.


The only person in the ground (OK probably not the only one) who didn't know it was a try straight away was celebrity referee Wayne Barnes, who signalled to the TV referee. How the TMO could tell when Barnes couldn't, since he was looking straight at the play, I don't know, but with both sides in position for the conversion, the right decision was made.


Gopperth added the extras and at 16-16 at least it seemed we would not fall further behind Worcester.


Swinson pounced on a loose ball on the right deep in the away half and looked to me like he had gone into touch, but he passed to Ally Hogg who steamed towards the line, only to be pulled back for an alleged knock-on by Swinson that TV replays showed to be incorrect.


Still, the officials don't have TV replays to help them.


From the scrum Worcester to their credit played for the win, but a knock-on at the base by Perry ended the game.


So, honours even in the first Big One of this season. It's not all doom and gloom though, remember, “To be relegated would be a great adventure”.

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As you were at the bottom of the league (IP Logged)
06/11/2011 13:03
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Re: As you were at the bottom of the league
DGNTR (IP Logged)
06/11/2011 23:53
Nice one Leipy.

To be fair to Barnes, the TV replays showed that Mayhew only just grounded the ball on the try line and I'm sure he was also looking at whether there was any hint of a double movement. It was touch and go on the slo-mo replay, would have been even more so in live play.

Correct decision in the end though, no doubt about that.

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