The Craic
Fading Festive Fizzle
By Irish 'Stoker
January 3 2018

After succumbing to a heavy cough and cold the day game, I was looking forward to some Irish cheer but with the festive fizzle finally fading and the New Year fun not quite at the door, the Newcastle Falcons flew in to visit the Madstad.

The weather was bleak and grey to match the Falcons kit but the flood lights flickered into life for what should be the darkest fixture (in terms of daylight) this season. Having watched the “Friday night under the lights” from the relative comfort of my living room I was hoping for more of the industry, effort and spark to liven this fixture that I had seen for periods at Worcester.

Irish started well and seemed to have allayed some of the defensive frailties that had dogged previous games. The inclusion of Coman back in the pack and a partnership of Fowlie / Williams in the centres with Big Joe given licence to come and help out seemed to be steadying the ship.

Treviranus was the go to crash man and made several big gains all through the match. Good to see the big man back up to speed and hungry for work. Speaking of food….

The inter-festive fixture drew a reasonable crowd all busy handing round leftovers and newly purchased provender like it was going out of fashion the mission being to stop anybodies calorific intake dropping below 2000 an hour!

For those of us coming to the game with paranoia levels raised that we did not get the “luck of the Irish” that we are duty bound to the sight that a certain Dean Richards would be running the line did nothing – even if Caimh did stipulate that it “wasn’t that one”

It was long after I dug into a wedge shaped piece of Christmas cake resembling a snow covered battle cruiser that things started to fall apart. The rub of the green/rule interpretation saw Newcastle benefit from a double bit of good fortune to rack up the first try of the fixture. Tait capitalising on a charged down clearance after Irish had ripped the ball from the tackle/Newcastle had spilled the ball forward.

Only moments later a “rarer this game” defensive lapse allowed Newcastle and Tait to go 2 tries to the good with an expertly executed cross field kick

The damage was completed just before halftime with Coman in the bin for repeated maul offences the ball was again worked cross field for the Falcons 3rd try of the half.

HT 9-20

To Irish’s credit that was the end of the Falcons scoring. The combination of defensive efforts all be it “last ditch” at times kept the visitors at bay and with Tonks accurate with the boot on 5 occasions it enabled the home team to claw (or should I say talon?) back the visitors and keep in touch for a losing BP.

The bench provided solid replacement when needed although there was a noticeable uplift in pace on the ruck ball once steele had given way to Meehan. This may have been due to the chase for the winning score but a welcome change all the same.

Irish just seemed to run out of time on this one with Newcastle recording their fist win in the league here since 2009

FT 15-20

A couple of frustrating games over the festive period ending in scant returns for the effort Irish put in. Time is running for what is looking like a “great escape” Let’s just hope that they get to feast on the points bounty available in 2018 and unlike the rest of us that should probably go easy on what we devour. “Ok go on then just one more slice of cake”.