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Glory Night 2

Simply brilliant

By Leipziger
April 24 2010

Last night Edgeley Park saw an absolutely heart-pounding 80 minutes of rugby as the Falcons' nerve-shredding 30-32 victory banished any relegation fears. This truly was Premiership rugby at its very, very best.  

Jimmy 'The Wizard' Gopperth will get a lot of the back pages but his creativity and kicking were matched by the front row power of Grant Shiells and Kieran Brookes and James Hudson's lineout domination.

From dawn onwards yesterday social networks showed messages of support and tension about this vital game, but the general mood was that we could be in for a special evening.

The nuisance of the workday crawled along until finally it was time to head off to Stockport. Three coach-loads came from Kingston Park while enough others travelled independently to guarantee a strong away presence on the terraces. Even the absence of Carl Hayman couldn't dampen the atmosphere.

Jimmy Gopperth kicked two penalties after Charlie Hodgson missed a chance to put Sale ahead. The second one might have been more if we had tapped quickly five metres out, but Gopperth battered his way over the try-line soon enough anyway right in front of the screaming Geordie hordes.

The conversion gave us a dream 0-13 start, although a penalty by Hodgson reduced the lead. Just after the half-hour Sale's running game paid dividends with Marika Vakacegu scoring in the corner and Hodgson converted.

Two more penalties from Gopperth however gave us a nine-point advantage at half-time, secured by some sterling defensive work in the final few seconds of the half. The first 40 had been incredibly exciting with both teams looking to run the ball where possible and the result still completely in the balance.

Gopperth extended the lead just after the break and for the first time we dared to believe it was possible, and with Sale threatening James Hudson pounced on a loose ball to allow us to clear. However, Hodgson's boot kicked over three unanswered penalties and a drop-goal to equalise.

From a lineout in their 22 however Sale lost the ball and Micky Young pounced to score our second try, and though Gopperth converted from out wide and Hodgson quickly kicked another penalty.

With ten minutes left Sale looked like they had scored by the posts, but the referee blew the whistle and surprisingly gave the hosts a scrum, from which Kristian Ormsby scored anyway. The vital conversion missed, and now we were behind for the first time.

With a one-point deficit, my mindset changed slightly. The worry that we might lose the lead was gone as we were now in a more familiar position, unfortunately.

It was simple now – either score or rely on Leeds to save us from a last-day relegation shoot-out. A drop-goal missed but with five minutes left we won a penalty. Some supporters couldn't watch. Captain Gopperth stepped up and kicked the ball high into the Cheshire night. It's all up to the touch judges now. The flags...went up, and sparked pandemonium in the east corner of the DLA Piper Stand!

Oh my life! Just minutes to go and a two-point lead, the task on the pitch was defend for your lives, off the pitch to shout and chant with whatever voice we had left. Into the last couple of minutes, Sale's forwards foraged away on the 22 and tried to get Hodgson into a drop-goal position. Josh Afu was poised to charge him but eventually Hodgson found a good and unmarked spot.

With just seconds on the clock, the former England man kicked and it looked like the ball had gone over. Actually, it dropped to Amesbury just to the right of the posts, and his touchdown ended the match.

Phew! I'm knackered just writing that! The players came over to celebrate with the travelling fans and it all got too much for one supporter who ran onto the pitch to hug a number of players. The rest of us kept singing and drinking , and gave those players we saw outside the stadium a rousing send-off back north. This game was everything that rugby should be, the glory and entertainment of Bristol and Bath combined with the tension and relief of Irish and Wasps.

If any fan was thinking “Why do I still bother?” on their way to last night's game, now they have their answer.

For me, I am reminded of an advert I once saw that read: Some games leave you high, some games leave you low. Some games just never leave you.

Get in!

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Glory Night 2 (IP Logged)
24/04/2010 15:41
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Re: Glory Night 2
24/04/2010 16:20
Phwa...Goosebumps. Again.

Re: Glory Night 2
telfs123 (IP Logged)
24/04/2010 16:30
outstanding report of an outstanding performane. as predicted by touchy.

Re: Glory Night 2
Rugby Rose (IP Logged)
24/04/2010 16:51
Thanks to Leipziger for his report - certainly fills in the blanks that the copious amounts of alcohol created!

Many thanks to the team, the club for the buses - and aforementioned alcohol, friendly and welcoming hosts!

A great great result!

Re: Glory Night 2
Monkey1 (IP Logged)
24/04/2010 18:04
Great one Leipy, I bet you enjoyed writing that one.

For me, I am reminded of an advert I once saw that read: Some games leave you high, some games leave you low. Some games just never leave you.

That sums it up beautifully.

Re: Glory Night 2
davietoon (IP Logged)
24/04/2010 20:19
Nice work Leipy told you you'd be writing a report of our great performance. Wish I'd been there season tickets in our house have increased from 2 to 3


Re: Glory Night 2
westand (IP Logged)
24/04/2010 20:56
Sorry Leipy, I just could not read your report. Nerves were on edge last night. I honestly cannot , dare not put myself through it again.

Re: Glory Night 2
falcon phil (IP Logged)
25/04/2010 21:23
Leipy great report have just got back from annual weekend in Cheshire with big sis and have to say what a fantastically exciting game which looking back I really enjoyed but as sale came back and the endless pick and drives as the clock counted down before Charlie fluffed his DG put years on me and our Dan. But that's what being a falcons fan is all about!
Jimmy was superb Swins,Hudsa & Josh immense but the front row was superb Rob is a class act but grant & Brooksy stepped up- well done boys
Truely proud to be at edgeley and a falcon!

Re: Glory Night 2
citizen-slacker (IP Logged)
26/04/2010 13:39
A corker of a game, end to end, stunning work defensively from the Falcons, especially Hudson stealing the ball at the bottom of a ruck, that I think won us the game.

Other highlights, Chip skinning Spud ((Sm22) laugh, I nearly peed myself), the scrum, Jimmy & Tulip running the show & another thumping tackle by Bobo.
Monkey for supplying me with a pint of Vitamin G, when the bars had sold out by the end of half time (faint whiff of shifting units before the end of season?). Levi & Afu making hard yards.
Keeping with the positive (& here I go, ready to be shot down), let's keep Bates until at least Christmas. He said that he struggled to get the side together for preseason, so has been struggling to get a cohesive unit. Tatey, I have no doubt is a great coach, but I'm willing to give in & see what Bates has to offer in getting his squad to play the way he wants them too. If there is still no plan b & complaints that the refs are not playing fair, then yeah, let him go. Until then though, let's build & see.

Re: Glory Night 2
steve1888 (IP Logged)
26/04/2010 13:54
Slacker - thats almost as stupid as your prediction that Bath would get relegated tongue sticking out smiley Bates has to go for off the pitch reasons as well as on the pitch.

If he stays in charge Season tickets will be shocking, signings wont happen as good as we want and the side will be as@#$%&as it has been for most of this season and lack motivation.

The sooner the decision is made for him to go the better.

Re: Glory Night 2
Monkey1 (IP Logged)
26/04/2010 14:36
...let's keep Bates until at least Christmas. He said that he struggled to get the side together for preseason, so has been struggling to get a cohesive unit. Tatey, I have no doubt is a great coach, but I'm willing to give in & see what Bates has to offer in getting his squad to play the way he wants them to.

That really doesn't stack up CS. The Bates plan depended very much on a good clear out last summer, putting a team together that would remain largely stable for 2 seasons, by now that team would be of mid-table standard, ready for a few tweaks with signings this summer, ready to earn HC status during the 2010/11 season, up another gear to be competitive at HC standard for the 2011/12 season.

All of that has been blown to shreds. We are basically still at the starting point 12 months on, but a lot of the 2 year contracts that would ensure stability will end next year, so we are back to square one but without the prospect of 2 years of stability. The budget is shot to hell because attendances should have gone up on the back of a decent season, not down due to the worst home performances ever, a drop of 2,000 average on the gates equates to about 0.5m ticket revenue down the toilet never mind the additional income from bars & merchandise.

Nobody could reasonably look at that disaster of a situation & think hey ho, can't be helped, let's just carry on.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2010:04:26:14:37:54 by Monkey1.

Re: Glory Night 2
TouchLine (IP Logged)
26/04/2010 15:32
I agree, lets keep Bates.

He's done a great job in securing that elusive bottom three spot yet cleverly avoiding relegation.

He has developed a game plan that no other DoR has employed with such consistency and persistence.

Ok, he needs a little work on his interview technique but a few lessons from Squeaky and I've no doubt he'd be a star on the after dinner circuit too.

Re: Glory Night 2
Monkey1 (IP Logged)
26/04/2010 15:33

Re: Glory Night 2
citizen-slacker (IP Logged)
26/04/2010 16:05
In my defense, a) I was responding to request for a little positivity; b) when I picked Bath to go down they looked to be in the same sort of freefall as Stains were the season they went down; c) I've had a weekend fuelled by IPA, Guinness & Stella so I may not be entirely with it.

After dinner should be mints, shouldn't it?

Re: Glory Night 2
Leipziger (IP Logged)
26/04/2010 16:06
If we get rid of Bates at Christmas the new man (Tait or whoever by then) has no time to work with the team or get his own new players in, and if we do get rid of him then it means we will be battling relegation and have wasted another season anyway. Get rid now or at the latest the Monday after the Wasps game and give Tait the best possible chance.

Re: Glory Night 2
TouchLine (IP Logged)
26/04/2010 16:46
After dinner should be mints, shouldn't it?

They'd be cheaper than Squeaky

Re: Glory Night 2
DGNTR (IP Logged)
26/04/2010 18:52
CS, you have clearly lost the plot.

Bates had his entire squad (barring one or two) available to him pre-season. He's had all season to get them playing right yet he's butchered half of their games and his handling of the press has been an utter embarrassment to the club, the players, the fans and himself.

He's a pillock, he's incompetent and he needs to go, NOW.

Re: Glory Night 2
jonnya27 (IP Logged)
27/04/2010 03:11
what a fantastic result on Friday night lads - well played!! im just reading the write up and review in my hotel in Tokyo - sounds like it was a brilliant night. cant wait for the wasps match - i:ll be back for the that. i think all the fans should run on to the pitch at the end of the match and congratulate the players! anyway - I will defo be renewing my season ticket when I get back to Newcastle. Sounds like Brookes and Shiells again played really well. I hope we do sign some more quality players over the summer though - and I hope Hayman and Golding are fit to play in the last match of the season!! I actually got quite emotional reading the match review - sad eh! ha ha. so pleased for the whole team!!

Re: Glory Night 2
north angel (IP Logged)
27/04/2010 08:11
Leipy,Another great report as i have said before you should be doing it professionally. What a great night the presure was intense. I well brassed off all Sale bods by me with my celebrations.Fantastic keep up the good work the Angel.Come on Falcons.

Re: Glory Night 2
Monkey1 (IP Logged)
27/04/2010 09:23
We have said for a long time that Leipy's reports are better than many from the media.

Re: Glory Night 2
TouchLine (IP Logged)
27/04/2010 09:25
I would go further and say better than most.

Re: Glory Night 2
DGNTR (IP Logged)
27/04/2010 12:14
I'd go further and say they're better than all.

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