Northampton 17 - Newcastle 7
That was truly the loudest game I have had the pleasure of being at (except
for an international).
Northampton are the first British team this season the defeat Newcastle,
and they did it with some style!
We went 20 odd minutes without any points on the board as both teams were
intent on going for the full 7. Eventually Northampton after much pounding
of the Newcastle line decided to settle for 3. 3-0
Newcastle responded through Dean Ryan (the most boooed man), slicing
through and going under the posts. Both teams were playing so close to
offside that if a breakthrough was made it took a sterling effort to stop
Possession in the first half was about 50-50, but Newcastle were giving
penalties away frequently, and compounded a few of them with some chat to
the ref - Grayson and Dawson varied the options brilliantly, always aware
of what Newcastle were up to, if they thought they were off guard off
Dawson would go with a tap, otherwise Grayson would drill it into touch and
the Northampton line-out worked very well for a nice change! Clarke,
Chandler and Philips outshining Nesdale, Weir and Archer. Clarke tried
every lineout trick in the book.
Grayson kicked one more penalty to stay in touch - first half ended 6-7.
Second half - saw the game flowing one way then the next, and some of the
hardest hits this season, one particular hit Rodber on Tuigamala who he'd
missed about a minute earlier and they both bounced, the thing that the
Saints got so right this time was that Tuigamala, Tait and Lam didn't
really feature. There was alot of interceptions as both teams were playing
very flat. Alot of heart stopping moments!
Grayson delivered a drop goal after one wave of attack - he had moments
before been late tackled (the kind that had a punch contained in it), the
touch judge had seen this and advised after the drop goal a penalty
re-start, Grayson went for the posts from the centre but it was too
blustery to be a perfect kicking day. 9-7
The play that led to the Allen try was truely awsome, the intial break by
Allen, Rodber taking it and driving on supported by that great forward
HarveyThorneycroft:-), Gregor Townsend just pounding into three of four
Newcastle players and driving them backwards, then *the* quickest hands
from Dawson and Grayson, and Hunters intellegent drawing of the two
opposition props and sweet pass to the birthday boy (Matt Allen) -
completely brilliant! Helped partially by Dean Ryan deciding he was going
to rain a few punches in on (I think Harvey) in midfield while the Saints
were busy scoring. Grayson's conversion attempt came off the posts. 14-7
After the try, Newcastle again came back and Tony Underwood ran a beautiful
line from halfway and was inches short of the line when Matt Allen hauled
him down. In another attack by Newcastle Gary Armstrong got to within
inches again but Dawson this time brought him down.
The deciding score in the 80 something minute was another long range drop
goal by Grayson. Newcastle came back again and even though it then wouldn't
have mattered if a try in convertable distance had been conceeded
Northampton defended brilliantly. Newcastle were running it out of their
half, they passed it 4 times and each time Matt Allen was there checking
or tackling the player with the ball till eventually he decked the fourth
player, that for me epitomised the Saints performance - never giving up.
It a refreshing prospect that the draw for the semi-final's tommorow
contains 4 teams who've never won the cup - Wasps have been losing finalist
3 times, Sale and Northampton losing finalists once, and I don't think
Sarries have ever made it to the final. I don't care who we get just make
it a home tie please!
The Saints supporters album ..
"Oh when the Saints......."
"The Mighty Tim"
And a new entry this week (Gordon Terrace fans know what to fill in the
blanks ..... "If you hate ---- ---- clap your hands" (childish isn't