October 7 2012
The Falcons yesterday negotiated a potentially tricky banana skin in the Midlands well, scoring seven tries and over 50 points against a committed Moseley side.
Led by the flying Joel Hodgson and a powerful pack to whom Moseley often had no answer, our boys got their fifth bonus point of the season and now sit pretty at the top of the Championship with 29 points from 30.
Indeed the forwards scored all seven tries, back-rowers counting for six, including pairs from Richard Mayhew and birthday-boy replacement Mark Wilson.
Dean Richards made several changes to the team that hammered Leeds for the final round of the first batch of league fixtures, with Alex Tait, Jamie Helleur, Grant Shiells, Matt Thompson and Scott MacLeod all getting starts. Captain Will Welch returned from injury and Joel Hodgson continued in the number 10 shirt, keeping Jimmy Gopperth at full-back.
We tried to assert dominance from the start, the forwards winning a central penalty and allowing Gopperth to kick over the first points of the afternoon. Tane Tu'ipulotu and Carlo del Fava carried well throughout the game and laid the platform for some of the Falcons' better attacks.
Moseley equalised through a penalty by Oliver Thomas but we soon got the first try. Hodgson raced through the home defence towards the posts and though it looked like he might have gone himself, the youngster unselfishly passed to the onrushing Thompson to make sure.
Gopperth kicked the easy conversion and then traded further penalties with Thomas.
Just before the break Gopperth sent a penalty towards the car park and from the line-out, our forwards rolled Moseley back for Richard Mayhew to touch down.
Our maul is proving a very effective weapon in this division, and we should take the opportunity to perfect tactics and techniques with it ahead of the harder tasks to come in 2013 and beyond.
In the second half the hosts continued to defend valiantly but couldn't hold back the Geordie flood. Welch was first on the scoresheet after the break, finishing off a backs move on the far left, before Mayhew secured the extra point with a try almost identical to his first, from a drving maul.
Gopperth's conversion of the bonus-point score put us 32-6 ahead.
Moseley's Ollie Robinson got his side a try that will annoy the management but did not worry supporters, finishing off a maul in front of the executive portakabins. Thomas converted.
With our pack driving Moseley back in a strong scrum, Ally Hogg continued a good start to the season by scoring the fifth try, again convereted.
Replacement Mark Wilson then got his brace, though a pass inside when he was tackled in front of the line would have denied him one of those tries. The Cumbrian is another player who has looked solid so far this year when given a chance.
Conversions of the last two tries by Gopperth took us to 53 points for the second successive week.
After this 13-53 win, the Falcons are top of the Championship with 29 points from 30, two above Bedford and 11 ahead of Plymouth and Leeds in joint-third.
Now we have a couple of cup games to work out some issues, including trying to get our backs to operate as seemlessly as the forwards are, ahead of what now looks like a key game at Bedford in early November.
But so far, so good I reckon.