Not only were 14 members of the match day 23 either current or recent members of the Senior Academy, but all 37 points were scored by home-grown players. Tom Collins led the way with a try in each half, with Teimana Harrison and Mike Haywood getting the pack on the score board and Howard Packman crossing over for a last-minute coup de grace.
With Will Hooley adding 12 points from the kicking tee, including a penalty which sealed the win after a late Falcons fightback had brought the visitors to within a converted try of winning, there was plenty to put a smile on the face of another sold-out Franklin’s Gardens crowd.
However the eventual maximum haul looked a long way off when Tom Catterick crossed for Newcastle with just three minutes on the clock.
The Falcons had started well, looking to bring the bulldozing Alesana Tuilagi into the action quickly and forcing the Saints onto the back foot.
However, aside from a late charge that was ended when Packman forced a fumble with a tackle from behind, Tuilagi was by-and-large kept under control by the hosts, although the big Samoan found himself at the heart of the first half’s key moment.
Collins had already got his first try when he was tackled dangerously by Tuilagi. Although play continued through a couple more phases, the assistant referee in front of the Tetley’s Stand had his flag raised. Tuilagi saw yellow, and in his absence Saints scored twice, Harrison at the back of a maul and Haywood the beneficiary of fine handling and awareness from Christian Day and Dom Waldouck.
When combined with Newcastle missing a proverbial open goal when Scott Macleod ignored a two-man overlap five metres out from the home line with a bit of white-line fever, it represented a 19-point turnaround that ultimately proved crucial.
If the first three tries were about good team play, the bonus point score was all about Collins, who seared his way through the Falcons midfield and swerved past the despairing Simon Hammersley on a 60-metre spring to the line.
That put Saints 29-16 up, and while Juan Pablo Socino briefly brought his team back to life after an Andy Davies quick penalty, Hooley’s penalty and Packman’s pace ensured that it was a brief flicker and Saints’ good home form continued for another week.
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Next up at Franklin’s Gardens are Exeter Chiefs on Friday, November 14th. Tickets are available right now at www.tinyurl.com/SAI-EXE-1415 and use [email protected] to beat the match day queues and save the admin fees.
3mins NEWC Try Catterick Con Clegg 0-7
7mins SAINTS Try Collins Con Hooley 7-7
11mins NEWC Pen Clegg 7-10
16mins SAINTS Pen Hooley 10-10
21mins NEWC Pen Clegg 10-13
26mins NEWC Yellow card Tuilagi
28mins SAINTS Try Harrison Con Hooley 17-13
31mins SAINTS Try Haywood 22-13
38mins NEWC Pen Clegg 22-16
HALF-TIME SAINTS 22 NEWCASTLE 16
55mins SAINTS Try Collins Con Hooley 29-16
72mins NEWC Try Socino Con Clegg 29-23
75mins SAINTS Pen Hooley 32-23
79mins SAINTS Try Packman 37-23
FULL-TIME SAINTS 37 NEWCASTLE 23