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Praise for Falcons debutants
NEWCASTLE Falcons boss Dean Richards was full of praise for debutants Zach Kibirige and Scott Wilson after the 52-5 home win against Cross Keys in the British and Irish Cup.
"They were the two bright sparks," he said. "I'm going to put all the frustration to one side and say those two boys were outstanding."
With former Wales player Warren Fury also impressing at scrum half, the Falcons looked to play an expansive game from the outset and led 24-0 at half-time. They bagged four tries in each half, with Kibirige among the scorers.
In National One, Tynedale lost to the last kick of the game for the second successive week, a touchline conversion giving Coventry a 23-22 away win.
Tynedale won the try-count 4-2 but the absence of a recognised kicker again proved costly.
Coventry dominated the first half and led 13-5 then went further ahead through their third penalty. Tynedale came back strongly with tries by No 8 Ollie Stedman, winger Alan Rogers and full back Peter Moralee, with a conversion by Jack Harrison giving them a six-point lead.
But a Coventry winger squeezed in at the corner in the sixth minute of injury time and the conversion sealed it.
Darlington Mowden Park further underlined their right to a top four spot in National Two North by proving they can slug it out in tough conditions at Bromsgrove.
With heavy rain falling in the second half, they couldn't play their usual high-speed game but stern defence allowed them to hang on for a 13-5 win, their fifth in succession.
Against a big side on a small pitch, Mowden tackled heroically to withstand a battering in the first 15 minutes. Young prop Ben Simpson stood up to the pressure and Henry Forbes, who was involved in the Yorkshire Under 20 trials yesterday, impressed when he replaced injured lock Chris Campbell just before half-time.
Once Mowden started to win some ball they ran at Bromsgrove and a break by Grant Connon took them into the left corner, where quickly recycled ball allowed skipper Junior Fagalilo to barge over.
Connon converted and added a penalty for a 10-0 lead at the interval, when a huge hailstorm descended.
Bromsgrove again came out strongly and scored a well-worked try through the forwards after ten minutes. But Mowden refused to buckle and went further ahead after 67 minutes when Connon kicked a penalty after he had chipped ahead and was held back.
Westoe are still without a win after going down 21-8 at Birmingham and Solihull, despite a fine performance from scrum half Matthew Mellish following his return from Blaydon.
The Bees led 21-3 just after half-time but Westoe stood firm and scored through winger Michael Potts six minutes from time.
Billingham moved up to fourth in National Three North when a try from the last move of the game clinched a 27-23 win away to bottom club Birkenhead Park.
West Hartlepool ended their losing run with a 28-19 home win against Kendal with a fine solo try from fly half Stu Waites earning the bonus point and sparing them from a third successive tense finish.
Tries by Ryan Painter, Greg Edwards and half-time replacement Andrew Foreman, all converted by Waites, had West 21-0 up just after the interval.
Kendal had barely threatened, but they drove a maul over the line then the No 8 scored from short range and the two conversions made it 21-14.
Waites eased West's nerves 15 minutes from time when he slipped through a gap and rounded the full-back to go under the posts. Kendal dominated the last ten minutes, but had only one try to show for it.
Jack Bircham kicked a penalty three minutes from time to ease Middlesbrough's worries in North One East with a 17-16 home win against Morley.
In an improved performance, fly half Simon O'Farrell initially did the kicking, landing two early penalties before going off the boil.
Morley got on top to lead 10-6 at half-time, but Boro dominated most of the second half and ex-colt Lewis Macsween, a half-time replacement on the wing, scored after 48 minutes. Lock Dave Hinchley also went on at half-time for his first appearance for over a year.
Bircham's first penalty stretched the lead to 14-10 but Morley replied with two before his winning kick.
Darlington lost 42-7 at Pocklington, where they were unhappy with a referee who left them with 13 players on the pitch at the end.
Winger David Mackfall was sent off after lashing out with his boot when he was punched to the ground by a player who remained unpunished. Scrum half Mark Baldwin was already in the sin bin, allegedly for not releasing in the tackle, although he hadn't made the tackle.
With all their farmers, including Richard Snowball, still working, Darlington were grateful to have Manchester University student Owen Waldin available to help in a generally improved performance at fly half.
Dan Carter also did well at centre and hooker Rob Goddard was as industrious as ever. Prop Joe Oselton scored the try, converted by Waldin, as they stayed in touch until midway through the second half.
After leading 12-5 at half time, courtesy of four Jeremy Good penalties, Stockton's sloppy defending, plus a yellow card for Good, allowed Guisborough to run in three quick converted tries.
Prop Mark Conway pulled one back late in the game, .but Stockton remain in fourth place.