Monday, 10 September 2012

High Noone as Tigers tame flustered Falcons.

Michael Noone made a dream start to his Tigers career as he scored a scorching breakaway try on debut. After smart work from Scott Steele turned ball over from a Newcastle scrum Noone showed the Geordie pack a clean pair of heels as he outpaced the cover defence to touch down in the left hand corner.  As the saying goes No-one is perfect!

Tigers raced away to a 7 try win securing the bonus point after only 22 minutes, as a scintillating first half hour put the Tigers way beyond the grasp of the Newcastle side.

After the first try established the lead it was never lost, on 13 minutes after heavy pressure from the forwards the otherwise unimpressive Bowden danced through the Newcastle defence to touch down under the posts.   Cornwell added the extras to make it 12-3.

Newcastle did claw a try back and it was the least they deserved for a concerted if blunt forward effort eventually relented to allow the backs the ball. It was shifted right to left and Michael Tait scored in the corner.

The next try was scored by Adam Thompstone after very strong running from the impressive Alex Lewington.  His strength through contact is reminiscant of great wingers of the past like Dave Lougheed or Horacio Agulla. 

Lewington was creator again as opposite winger Henry Purdy barged over for the bonus point try.  On the wrap around Lewington barged past 5 defenders before releasing Purdy, who still had work to do himself beating the Newcastle hooker to the line.

Purdy bagged his brace just 5 minutes later as a solid scrum fronted up by former Newcastle Royal Grammar School-Boy Fraser Balmain and former Falcon Kieran Brookes allowed Tigers an attacking platform to work from.  Morris took the ball to the line before releasing Purdy, a summer signing from Wasps academy, who beat his man on the outside possibly benefitting from no TMO as he was rapidly approaching the touchline.

Milky Bar Kid look alike Joel Hodgson slotted a penalty to round off the half.

The start of the second half has been a good time for Leicester this season with the first team bagging tries in both games so far.  The A team didn’t want to be outdone and duly had their own fast start in front of most of the first team squad, plus Tigers legends John Wells, sitting next to Geordan Murphy, and Freddie Tuilagi in deep conversation with Dean Richards.  If a stack of Samoans turn up to Newcastle in the coming weeks we will know why!  Scott Steele took the ball from a quick ruck, shifting on the Dan Bowden.  Bowden threw a trademark wide miss pass, whether he is capable of passing under 15 metres is yet to be established, to Morris who drew in more defenders before Thompstone, playing 13, had a strong finish from 20 yards.  He was brought down on the line and it wasn’t immediately clear whether he or debutant Noone had got the score.  Thompstone was awarded it and thus sealed his brace for the night.

Newcastle then laid siege to the Tigers line thanks to some refereeing that wouldn’t have been out of place in an under 14s match, fittingly as the touch judge Rob Debney was my old school teacher!  Eventually the Geordies tired of trying to force a try over and settled for another Milky Bar Kid penalty.

Tigers 7th and final try came after a lovely weighted chip from Syston’s Matt Cornwell, fresh from his spell in Mogliano, set up a Falcons line out 5 metres out.  The Geordie line out misfired all game, less so after the introduction of kiwi first team hooker Mike Mayhew but he suffered just the same this time as Tigers poached the line out.  Relentless drives resulted in Fraser Balmain being awarded a try.  Surely a good repost to the club that didn’t think him good enough at 18.

Ironically Falcons hooker George McGuigan was to profit from an over thrown lineout as he got a consolation try right at the death.  A good run from Falcon’s England group prospect Zack Kilbridge was snuffed out by a strong Matt Cornwell cover tackle, however Jimmy Stevens couldn’t find his man and the ball dropped into McGuigan’s thankful hands. 

Impressive performances:
Alex Lewington: strong carries made the difference early doors must be in line for a Premiership start soon.
 Fraser Balmain & Kieran Brookes: solid all day in the set piece and a real nuisance in the breakdown.  Responded well to a poor return last week and Balmian took his try well.

Needs to improve:
Dan Bowden: Needs to cut out the silly miss passes and focus on getting the ball through the hands.  If Allen went down today I’d rather have Matt Cornwell play 12 at Wembley.  Looked much more effective when he was more direct and using the short passes.

Man of the Match:
Has to go to Michael Noone, fantastic try to start the night off and was a real terrier the whole night.  Hopefully will sign on full time and could start pushing Waldrom and Crane for starts if this performance was anything to go by.

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