Falcons upset the history books
By Leipziger
January 2 2016

The day was 25 October 2003.

Matthew Burke was still a twinkle in Rob Andrew’s eye; Carl Hayman was the same to John Fletcher. George Dubya Bush was US president, Bobby Robson was manager of Newcastle United, and I lived in Leipzig.


England were still about a month away from winning the Rugby World Cup for the first time.


That was the last time our Falcons beat Bath at home – until today.


The most unlikely home win of the season has become a reality, and how! It was a victory in the Falcons’ best traditions. Tension, hope, despair, ecstacy, horror, a last-play score… and an atmosphere that threatened to lift the roof off Kingston Park’s South Stand.


The team even did their best to throw it all away at one stage – losing a penalty lineout on the Bath 22 on our first attack of the second half, imminently conceding three points, and then sending the kick-off straight out. It’s never simple!


But it was our first Premiership win of 2015/16 and leaves us with a 100% record in 2016. But more importantly, thanks to London Irish simultaneously losing at Gloucester, the Falcons have jumped up to second bottom and have a golden opportunity to put some daylight between ourselves and the Exiles in Reading a week today.


Technically this wasn’t a complete performance by the Falcons at all. But it did have those special qualities that Geordie sports fans love so much: guts, desire, heart and an unbreakable iron will. Plenty of all of them. It would have been so easy for the lads’ heads to drop after Bath’s try, or after we went behind in the second half, especially after we’d missed two penalty kicks. We’ve seen it before.


But our good show at Leicester last week showed that while we may not beat the Premiership’s top teams often, we can compete with them and have no reason to be afraid of anybody. We showed a willingness to play different styles of rugby as needs dictated, rather than sticking to a rigid gameplan that may or may not be working. The execution was not always perfect, but that happens.


Craig Willis had another very good game despite missing two kicks, his running game was exciting to watch and he made a couple of great breaks. The forwards struggled in the scrum at times but for the most part did well at the breakdown, led by Nili Latu again. We should remember too that we lost Jon Welsh in the first half, but didn’t seem to suffer too much for it.


There were some other good individual performances, but the team overall defended with great heart when we were under the cosh for most of the second half. Overall, there was a refusal to be defeated that was reminiscent of Sale in 2012 and Exeter in 2014, and the rewards was a famous victory.


In case you’re interested, the last time we won this match Phil Dowson scored our try and Dave Walder kicked four penalties and a conversion in a 19-17 victory. Alex Crockett and Andy ‘Gannin along the Scotswood Road’ Higgins were in the Bath team.


The victory song sounded very good on the drive home tonight. Lets be able to play it again net week!