A strong second half showing helped Premiership side Newcastle to a win in their opening round of the Premiership Cup, against a determined Ampthill side at Dillingham Park.
In the early stages however, Ampthill built significant pressure and after nearly scoring twice they did open the scoring in the 10th minute. After building the phases, scrum half Charlie Bracken’s fizzing pass created an overlap, finished off by winger Josh Skelcey after delightful hands from hooker Syd Blackmore.
Newcastle struggled for any attacking momentum in the first 20 mins, but after the scheduled drinks break, the Falcons struck almost immediately afterwards, with a flowing move finished off by winger Ben Stevenson in the 21st minute, following a brilliant offload by Elliot Obatoyinbo.
Just under 10 minutes later, Newcastle academy product Freddie Lockwood bulldozed his way across the line, giving the Falcons a 12-7 half time lead.
Newcastle head coach Andy Codling was particularly pleased with his side’s ability in the scrum. “When you play in weather like this, the ability to control the tempo is important and if you have an area that is dominant, the ability to go back to it is critical and we did it at key times” Codling said.
Ampthill added three points from the restart. Parks dissecting the posts with a penalty from all of 46m. However Newcastle scored the first try of the half in the 46th minute. A clever cross-field kick from earlier try scorer Stevenson was picked up by his wing partner Iwan Stephens, who had a procession to the try line.
Just minutes later, Stephens scored his second try of the afternoon after another brilliant piece of skill by Obatoyinbo, breaking the line from inside his own half before the ball was eventually spread to Stephens, who scored with ease, extending the lead to 26-10.
In the 62nd minute, the Falcons effectively put the game to bed, with a rolling maul from close range, finished off by substitute back, Guy Pepper.
But Ampthill weren’t done yet, after an interception by full back Tom Bacon, who ran from inside his own 22, beating a last-ditch tap tackle to stroll over the try line in the 72nd minute.
Newcastle finished the scoring just three minutes later, with replacement lock Kiran McDonald forcing his way over from close range.
Reflecting on the loss, Ampthill head coach Paul Turner said, ‘I’m disappointed with the final result, but I’m proud of the players”. “There were parts of the game where I felt we were right in the game against a Premiership outfit”
Ampthill Points Scorers:
Tries: Skelcey 10, Bacon 72
Conversions: Parks 11, 73
Penalties: Parks 42
Ampthill Player of the Match: Oli Morris