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Championship: Newcastle to play Bedford for a place in Aviva Premiership
Newcastle Falcons will face the Bedford Blues in the Championship play-off final following a 15-6 win and 34-30 aggregate triumph over Leeds Carnegie at Kingston Park.
The Falcons were a much-improved team from that which suffered a 24-19 loss to Leeds on Bank Holiday Monday, with their pack laying the platform for excellent field position.
Leeds were the first team with an attempt at points, but Joe Ford's drop-goal attempt was short and wide.
The Falcons responded positively and back-to-back penalties from Jimmy Gopperth gave the home team a 6-0 lead and a one-point advantage on aggregate.
Although Gopperth pushed his next attempt wide of the near post he converted the subsequent two in the 26th and 33rd minutes for a 12-0 lead.
Signs of life
Ford reduced the arrears as Leeds finally showed signs of life, but they squandered the chance to score again when Ford missed with a penalty on the stroke of half time.
Leeds did pull another three points back thanks to Ford's drop-goal, but Newcastle responded ten minutes later through New Zealander Gopperth's successful penalty.
Newcastle could have put the game beyond Leeds although the usually reliable Gopperth missed his next two penalties, points that could have put the visitors more than a converted try behind.
Leeds' defence somehow managed to prevent Newcastle from scoring any more points, but without troubling the scoreboard themselves they will still be in the Championship next season.
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|Saturday 6th September|
|15:00||Bristol vs Worcester|
|15:00||Cornish Pirates vs Leeds Carnegie|
|15:00||Doncaster vs Plymouth Albion|
|15:00||London Scottish vs Rotherham Titans|
|15:00||Nottingham vs Bedford|
|15:00||Moseley vs Jersey|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Bedford vs Rotherham Titans|
|15:00||Cornish Pirates vs London Scottish|
|15:00||Jersey vs Doncaster|
|15:00||Plymouth Albion vs Nottingham|
|15:00||Leeds Carnegie vs Bristol|
|15:00||Worcester vs Moseley|
|Saturday 20th September|
|15:00||Moseley vs Leeds Carnegie|
|15:00||London Scottish vs Bedford|
|15:00||Rotherham Titans vs Plymouth Albion|
|15:00||Doncaster vs Worcester|
|15:00||Bristol vs Cornish Pirates|
|15:00||Nottingham vs Jersey|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Jersey vs Rotherham Titans|
|15:00||Leeds Carnegie vs Doncaster|
|15:00||Plymouth Albion vs Bedford|
|15:00||Cornish Pirates vs Moseley|
|15:00||Worcester vs Nottingham|
|15:00||Bristol vs London Scottish|
|Saturday 4th October|
|15:00||London Scottish vs Plymouth Albion|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com