April 16 2012
The Falcons could be off the bottom of the Premiership come 10pm on Friday night!
Admittedly a bonus-point win over Saracens at KP seems unlikely, but who’d have thought on Saturday we would get our first victory at Gloucester in 14 years?
The Falcons put in a superb performance to win away on English soil for the first time since March last year and Harlequins’ beating of Wasps means the gap at the bottom the Premiership is now just four points.
Our lads’ desire was clear from the start and produced a penalty for Jimmy Gopperth to kick over, and the lead was doubled after 20 minutes.
Gloucester’s backs had plenty of ball but did not look as incisive as might have been expected. Freddie Burns equalised with two penalties but home indiscipline was punished again by Gopperth.
Just before half-time the lead was extended to 6-12 with another penalty, Peter Stringer’s tap that saw him touch down being ruled out since we had already indicated a kick for goal.
Six points ahead at the break would have been brilliant, but there was still time for Ally Hogg to race through the home defence and score beside the posts! Gopperth’s easy conversion made the half-time score 6-19 and the Falcons were roared off the field to the sound of the Blaydon Races in the middle of the Shed.
Plenty of photos were taken of the scoreboard by away fans! Who knew whether that would be as good as it got?
Burns kicked his third penalty in the second half and then traded misses with Gopperth.
Gloucester’s backs began to put a good spell of domination together and the Falcons had to defend for their lives. Breaks by Mike Tindall and Charlie Sharples were stopped near the line. Finally though Akapusi Qera found a gap on the far left to the delight of the Shedheads.
Though Burns missed the conversion, he kicked a penalty and with 10 minutes to go the hosts were in the lead for the first time. Dang.
Still, not very long to go so lets keep our voices going. The Falcons kept their heads and went on the attack, and we won a penalty on the right. Gopperth stepped up and his true boot put the Falcons back into a slender lead. What drama there was at Kingsholm.
With three minutes to go, the Falcons had a lineout in the away 22 as home fans streamed for the exits. They might have thought the game was over but no away supporters did. The ball went high, over the entire line and all I could see was Gloucester breaking and scoring.
But no, the ball fell into the arms of replacement Mark Wilson and nobody seemed to know what was happening. Wilson sprinted for the line and scored the most unlikely try, sending most away fans wild!
Apart from me, I was in disbelief at the whole thing!
The conversion gave us a nine-point lead, and the Falcons ran the clock down well until finally kicking for touch and securing a vital victory in the relegation battle.
Corne Uys, Euan Murray and Jamie Helleur took the brunt of the fans’ celebrations afterwards, taking hugs from as many supporters as could get to them in front of an empty Shed that still reverberated to the sound of cheering Geordies.
I wonder if it was a coincidence that at the off licence beside Kingsholm after the game, the beer fridge was quite full apart from one little row that held three lonely bottles of Brown Ale?
I doubt I’m the only Falcons fan still suffering slight effects from alcohol consumption on Saturday night. A few drinks were well-earned by fans and players though!
If you haven’t got your £10 ticket for Saracens yet, what on Earth are you waiting for?