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Friday May 10, 2024

Cokanasiga scores thundering try as Bath stride on

Bath were richly rewarded for their long journey up to the northeast this evening as they came through 17 – 28 victors over Newcastle Falcons.

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Bath will return to the west country pleased to have escaped reasonably unharmed as they head into their final league match against league leaders Northampton Saints next weekend.

This evening’s match, which took place at Kingston Park, saw a Bath side flourish under the setting sun of Newcastle. The home side appeared to be no match for their opponents right from the get-go as Bath ran in two tries within the first 13 minutes.

First up it was South African prop Thomas Du Toit with a barreling close-range finish, shortly followed up by captain Ben Spencer with an effort of his own.

Newcastle, whilst lackluster in defence, showed some impressive attacking intent as they threatened the Bath line. Their progress back into the match, however, stuttered with each possible opportunity being marred by little mistakes in vital moments. A clear example of this came when inside centre Cameron Hutchison brilliantly broke through a scrambling Bath defence, creating the perfect two on one opportunity – only to fluff the final pass.

Just when it appeared as though the Falcons were starting to get a foothold into the match, Bath’s full strength backs flung the ball out to their big danger man, Joe Cokanasiga.

With 15 metres to the try line and four players to beat, big Joe did what he wouldn’t have had the confidence to do a couple of years ago and darted straight for the line. Like a prime Jonah Lomu the big man obliterated the Newcastle defence as he charged through the flailing bodies – before Finn Russell continued his 100% kicking record from the touchline.

Just when it looked like Bath could notch up a cricket score before halftime, Alfie Barbeary uncharacteristically dropped the restart. A solid scrum and a driving maul consequently led to try scoring extraordinaire Jamie Blamire to go over for Newcastle’s first.

In the spirit of the end to end match that it had become, another brilliant backs move from the travelling side shortly led to fullback Matt Gallagher sliding over for Bath’s bonus point. The first half concluded with a second from Jamie Blamire as Newcastle found their relentless pressure pay.

Half time: Newcastle Falcons 10 – 28 Bath Rugby

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The second half started much the way the first finished, but despite the fast start to proceedings, neither side were able to break the deadlock in the second half until the 63rd minute when scrum half Sam Stuart touched down to reignite Newcastle’s hopes after some intense pressure from a Newcastle side desperate for their first win of the season.

The match continued in the same vein, with Newcastle controlling the flow of the game in each aspect, but sadly masters of their own downfall, the Premiership strugglers proved to fall to self-mistakes and ill-discipline at the most vital of moments.

For those home fans looking for a fairytale comeback to brighten the mood, there was to be no happy ending. Bath held on for the final few moments under the backing of a broken sound system that blared The Final Countdown on repeat.

This victory put Bath fully in the playoff mix as they head into their final match against Northampton Saints next week. Newcastle, on the other hand, will head to Kingsholm to face fellow strugglers Gloucester as they get their last chance at a win this season.

Final Score: Newcastle Falcons 17 – 28 Bath Rugby

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