At long last we know where we stand for next season and can get on with it. Things can only be good with Semore and Deano calling the shots, so let’s see what sort of season we have to look forward to.
We will have the biggest budget in the Championship, so we have to be honest and admit from the start that we are entering the Championship with what looks like an unfair advantage. Expectations will be high, but the competition should not be underestimated. There are some strong teams, and every one of them will be itching to make us pay for any arrogance. They will all be out to beat us, keen to make us suffer, and rightly so. On paper it looks like we should walk it, but opposition teams won’t give a stuff about that, it will not be an easy ride.
Deano set a target when in the same position with Quins that they shouldn’t lose a single game, and I am sure he will be doing the same this season. They did lose one however, to Exeter if I remember right, so saying it is much easier than getting the results. The policy at Newcastle Falcons for next season is very simple – winning rugby. This has been the mantra ever since Deano agreed to take on the challenge, that is all he is interested in – winning rugby. That is what next season is geared towards and carries on from the excellent work laid down by Gary Gold & Mike Ford. Championship or Premiership makes no difference, the target remains the same, to get this club winning.
The opposition have a very big advantage however, and that is knowing championship rugby well, and it is quite different from what we have been used to. The sort of defensive games that we have been used to would bore the backsides off championship supporters even more than they bored us. There is much more creativity, it is an attacking game rather than played to limited game plans, and as a consequence it is a much better spectator sport. Prepare for a season of proper rugby. Expect to see more tries scored in games of heads up rugby, more running from deep, less of the tiresome ping pong. Last Christmas we took a Blues supporter along to KP to watch a game, he summed up the difference between championship & premiership rugby very simply – it is less stodgy.
The season itself is revised slightly from the insane structure of last season, where nearly every club had a crack at the play-offs. This season only the top four go through to play two legged semi-finals, then a two-legged final. There is also the British & Irish cup which comprises twelve teams from the Championship, six from Wales, three from Ireland and three from Scotland. We are in Pool 4 with Connacht, Newport and Cross Keys, and for those not familiar with Cross Keys they are just a few miles up the road from Newport. A trip to Galway to see Connacht is a must, a cracking rugby ground and a lovely town to spend a few days in.
Our provisional fixture list shapes up like this:
September 2nd Bristol Rugby v Newcastle Falcons
September 8th London Scottish v Newcastle Falcons
September 14th Newcastle Falcons v Doncaster Knights
September 23rd Cornish Pirates v Newcastle Falcons
September 28th Newcastle Falcons v Leeds Carnegie
October 6th Moseley v Newcastle Falcons
October 14th B&I Cup 1, Newcastle Falcons v Cross Keys
October 20th/21st B&I Cup 2, Connacht v Newcastle Falcons
October 26th Newcastle Falcons v Rotherham Titans
November 3rd Bedford Blues v Newcastle Falcons
November 9th Newcastle Falcons v Nottingham RFC
November 24th Jersey RFC v Newcastle Falcons
November 30th Newcastle Falcons v Plymouth Albion
December 9th B&I Cup 3, Newcastle Falcons v Newport
December 15th/16th B&I Cup 4, Newport v Newcastle Falcons
December 23rd Newcastle Falcons v London Scottish
January 1st Doncaster Knights v Newcastle Falcons
January 13th B&I Cup 5, Newcastle Falcons v Connact
January 19th/20th B&I Cup 6, Cross Keys v Newcastle Falcons
January 25th Newcastle Falcons v Cornish Pirates
February 9th/10th Leeds Carnegie v Newcastle Falcons
February 15th Newcastle Falcons v Moseley
March 2nd Rotherham Titans v Newcastle Falcons
March 8th Newcastle Falcons v Bedford Blues
March 22nd Nottingham Rugby v Newcastle Falcons
March 29th Newcastle Falcons v Jersey RFC
April 6th/7th B&I Cup quarter-finals
April 13th Plymouth Albion v Newcastle Falcons
April 19th Newcastle Falcons v Bristol Rugby
April 27th/28th B&I Cup semi-finals
May 4th/5th Semi-final 1
May 11th/12th Semi-final 2
May 17th/18th B&I Cup final
May23rd/24th Final 1
May 29th/30th Final 2
Home games will include 11 Championship and hopefully semi-final and final, in addition to B&I Cup games. In all we could have over 20 home games, which if I remember right are all included in the season tickets. I will try to confirm all of these details shortly.
What is certain is that next season is not to be missed. Having watched the Falcons sliding down the slippery slope for the past few seasons, we can look forward to the Richards Revolution with anticipation of good things ahead. We get the chance to visit some of the iconic clubs of rugby such as Mosely, Bedford, and now of course Jersey, as well as welcoming their supporters to Kingston Park. Highlights of the season include games against Bristol & Pirates, and of course our friends and neighbours at Leeds. Doncaster & Rotherham will be other welcome local derbies, a change from all games involving a long trip down south.
2012-13 is set to be one of those seasons to look back on with pride, to be able to say “I was there”. Don’t miss out.
There look to be some cracking fixtures, home & away, but the only cloud I see on the horizon is that May is very congested. If we do what we (expect?) want, & get to the league & cup finals, we'll effectively need two teams to ensure we have enough players to compete to win.
Bed space booked for Moseley, shame I'll be on a stag for Pirates away.
Good luck on winning back your place in the Premiership. A quick bounce back can be done. Speaking as a London Welsh supporter, you may find the B&I Cup a bit of a disappointment. You may also be quite shocked at how little press coverage the national press give any club or division other than those in the Premiership and have to work exceptionally hard to maintain a public profile. Being in the Championship, even for just a year, will introduce you to a range of really friendly clubs where you will be welcomed warmly provided you don't adopt a Harlequins-type swagger of 'we shouldn't really be here, and won't be for very long'. Looking forward to meeting you in home and away fixtures in a year's time.
Dan, we have had such a low profile for the past few seasons it really couldn't get much lower. We have also been relegation fodder for so long that we certainly can't pretend we shouldn't be there. Getting away from being the premiership whipping boys is going to be an almighyty relief, and with our ownership issues finally resolved & some proper structure put in place, this is the first time we have genuinely been able to look forward to the coming season.
As an oufsider (a glaws fan) you have 1 heck of an opener there what odds that will be the final. But you do have one advantage with all the issues you have had over the last few days Deano should not need to motivate the team.
A very good piece Monkey, I do agree that we should approach this coming season with a degree of caution added to a large slice of optimism.
The optimism being not that we are 'too good to be here' but that at last we seem to have a coaching team that can produce the goods. Mr Gold showed in a few weeks what could be done with the current squad and I anticipate Deano and his team pushing on from there.
So good times ahead.
Now if they could only sort out a roof for us North Standers and bring in some decent Ale!
No matter what happens,im sure your boys will enjoy playing in the Championship,and those of you that support your great club will enjoy visiting many a different ground.Obviously your boys will be favouites to bounce straight back up,and if you do well i hope you enjoyed your stay here with us ! but before the champange is opened and the cheering starts,there is a long hard season ahead !so let us all look forward to a great season,to those of you that visit Penzance come along to say hello to the boys and girls in "Naughty boys corner " and some of us are already planning a weekend up with you guys in January
Really looking forward to visiting some great clubs & welcoming their supporters up here in the far north. Better put a set of thermals on your Christmas list, it can get a bit crisp up here in January. I already have my sun cream & flip flops sorted for September.
Thanks monkey 1 could do with some advice mate,where do most of the away supporters stand/sit ? and could do with some premier inn hotel places if you could pass on the information,would be great,looking forward to meeting you and shaking your hand.
JANNER Thanks monkey 1 could do with some advice mate,where do most of the away supporters stand/sit ? and could do with some premier inn hotel places if you could pass on the information,would be great,looking forward to meeting you and shaking your hand.
The core, Falcon fans like Monkey stand in the South Stand, or if you have older bones like me I sit in the East Stand which is the smaller of the stands with seats( and attached to the club house!)There is a Novotel in Kingston Park (10-15 min walk or £5 in a taxi)or sometimes fans stay in the Toon and get the Metro out to the ground (airport line) As Monkey suggested it can get b****y cold in the winter up here like, especially if it happens to be a Friday night match!!
there are 2 premier inns close to the ground - at Woolsington and also at the airport (probably a bit noisy after a night on the beer). That said if a beer and a good night out is what you are looking for, book to stay in Jesmond or in the city centre and travel to the ground by Metro ot Taxi.
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