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Aviva Premiership: Newcastle Falcons soundly beaten 21-0 by Bath on top flight return
- Aviva Premiership Preview
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Newcastle's return to the Aviva Premiership started in uninspiring fashion as failed to register a single point in a dismal 21-0 home defeat by Bath at Kingston Park.
George Ford kicked three penalties and a conversion for Bath, with Anthony Perenise crossing and a late penalty try sealing the win, as the home side failed to master the wind and rain in the season's opener.
The visitors started the brighter of the two sides and, despite the slippery conditions, showed their intentions of wanting to run the ball. That earned them their first chance of points, with Bath's new fly-half Ford taking aim at the posts and rifling his penalty attempt straight through the middle for an early lead.
There was then a lengthy injury delay following some broken play as Falcons centre Jamie Helleur left the field on a stretcher after what looked to be a nasty head injury, to be replaced by Adam Powell.
The relentless rain saw the first half degenerate into a scrappy, aerial battle, with traction on the ground and the ball at a premium, and sideways movement the only direction readily available to either sides' attacking efforts.
Bath full-back Anthony Watson punctuated the scrappiness with a good break and Falcons' debutant prop Kieran Brookes replied shortly after with a solid run in midfield, feeding the ball to wing Noah Cato, who was hauled down inside the Bath 22 in Newcastle's most threatening move.
The Falcons finally found their feet at the scrum, with a penalty awarded after it turned, but fly-half Phil Godman was unable to covert the points in the swirling conditions.
Ford on song
Ford was more successful at the other end, though, with a 40-metre kick just making it over the crossbar after lock Carlo del Fava was penalised for being offside.
Gavin Henson was then met with boos usually reserved for pantomine villains after he replaced the injured Kyle Eastmond from the bench in the final minute of the first half as the clock ticked down on a dismal opening 40 minutes.
The former Wales international's first touch came early in the second half, but was a rather embarrassing netball-style chest pass which went straight into touch.
Newcastle looked much brighter, with a break upfield from the scrum only stopped after a pass to Danny Barnes went to ground, with new man Andy Saull opening up Bath's defence after a quick tap from Blair.
Ford edged the visitors into a 9-0 lead from close to the touchline after Newcastle were penalised following a drive forward from Bath.
Bath then dealt Newcastle a hammer blow as they claimed the game's opening try, with substitute prop Perenise awarded the score after crashing over at the back of a rolling maul.
Bath wrapped up the win with a late penalty try with Ford adding the extras as Newcastle started their campaign in the worst possible way.
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|Friday 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com