Bath end Newcastle’s home run

Bath recorded a 33-20 bonus point victory over Newcastle in the Guinness Premiership on Sunday, and in doing so ended Newcastle’s unbeaten run at Kingston Park.

The game was marred by two serious injuries to Michael Lipman of Bath and Matt Burke of Newcastle. Lipman needed oxygen after taking a bang to the head and Burke was stretchered off with what seemed like a serious knee injury.

Newcastle were left chasing the game early on as Bath raced into a fifteen point lead thanks to tries from Shaun Berne and Michael Claassens, with Berne adding a conversion and a penalty.

They did claw their way back to within five points before tries from Ian Davey, Michael Stephenson secured all five points for an impressive Bath side.

In a curiously low-key match, Newcastle found themselves 10-0 down inside the first six minutes, Berne kicking an early penalty and shrugging off Andy Perry’s weak tackle to score under the posts.

Berne’s try seemed to shake Newcastle out of their lethargy but Tim Visser wasted a good chance when he tried to blast through with a two-man overlap waiting, and it could have been 15-0 when Ian Davey went over in the corner only for Danny Grewcock’s pass to be ruled forward.

Claassens’ pass to Berne was also forward as he went over in the opposite corner but Newcastle’s luck could not last forever.

The South African scrum-half darted in as the Falcons failed to ground a bouncing ball behind their own line and the scrum-half was awarded the try after referee Rob Debney went to the television match official.

Newcastle finally got their act together with Brent Wilson’s charge down the right and Matt Burke’s gliding run through midfield before Visser’s chip and chase had Bath’s defence scrambling as the ball ran dead.

The mounting pressure paid off with the Falcons spurning a penalty kick at goal to set up a succession of rucks and Tom May scored his fourth try in four home games from close range.

Burke converted and then clawed another three points back with a 47th-minute penalty.

However, Falcons’ failure to nail their first tackles cost them dear when big lock Peter Short trundled through and the ball was moved back inside for Davey to step through three tackles and score Bath’s third try.

Burke’s second penalty cut Bath’s lead before he limped off injured and Michael Stephenson skidded over in the corner for Bath’s bonus-point try.

There seemed no way back for Newcastle, especially when Ryan Davis kicked a 68th-minute drop goal, and Bath sealed the win when May was unable to gather a kick through and Bath simply moved it wide for Matt Banahan to rumble over in the corner.

That made it 33-12 but there was still time for Joe Shaw to score the home side’s second try down the left, Steve Jones converting.

The Scorers:

For Newcastle:

Tries: May, Shaw
Con: Burke
Pens: Burke 2

For Bath:

Tries: Berne, Claassens, Davey, Stephenson, Matt Banahan
Con: Berne
Pen: Berne
Drop goal: Davis

The teams:

Newcastle: 15 Matthew Burke (c), 14 Tom May, 13 Tim Visser, 12 Joe Shaw, 11 John Rudd, 10 Steve Jones, 9 Lee Dickson, 8 Russell Winter, 7 Brent Wilson, 6 Geoff Parling, 5 Mark Sorenson, 4 Andy Perry, 3 Micky Ward, 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Jon Golding.
Replacements: 16 Andy Long, 17 Joe McDonnell, 18 David Wilson, 19 Jason Oakes, 20 Eni Gesinde, 21 James Grindal, 22 Adam Dehaty.

Bath: 15 Michael Stephenson, 14 Ian Davey, 13 Alex Crockett (c), 12 Shaun Berne, 11 Andy Higgins, 10 Ryan Davis, 9 Michael Claassens, 8 Daniel Browne, 7 Michael Lipman, 6 Andy Beattie, 5 Danny Grewcock, 4 Peter Short, 3 Paulica Ion, 2 Pieter Dixon, 1 David Flatman.
Replacements: 16 Rob Hawkins, 17 Laurence Ovens, 18 Jonny Faamatuainu, 19 James Scaysb

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