Centre saves Gloucester
James Simpson-Daniel's last gasp try earned Gloucester an 18-18 draw with Newcastle.
By Phil Jackson
Last Updated: 27/10/07 6:04pm
James Simpson-Daniel's last gasp try earned Gloucester an 18-18 draw with Newcastle Falcons in their EDF Energy Cup opener on Saturday.
The centre returned from a three-week absence to score two tries and rescue Gloucester at Kingsholm.
Fly-half Willie Walker missed the injury-time conversion chance, which would have wrapped up all the points, but defeat would have been harsh on the Falcons, who led right through the match.
Ollie Phillips put Newcastle ahead in the second minute, when scrum-half Hall Charlton fed Toby Flood from the scrum. Winger Tom May's addition in the line then helped create extra space for Phillips to pierce the gap between Iain Balshaw and Karl Pryce and touch down for the game's opening try.
Guinness Premiership leaders Gloucester then made a number of uncharacteristic handling errors that cost them the chance to level.
Home debutant Chris Paterson got Gloucester on the board 15 minutes in, but tenacious tackling preserved the Falcons' advantage and they countered just before half-time.
Gloucester were pressured into conceding a penalty line-out five metres out and hooker Matt Thompson powered over the line in the rolling maul which followed. Newcastle went into the interval 12-3 up as a result.
Walker took over the kicking duties from an injured Paterson soon after the restart, and the replacement missed his first penalty before putting his second one over.
His opposite number Flood added two more penalties though, and Newcastle had an 18-6 lead with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Simpson-Daniel's converted try running from midfield breathed life back into Gloucester's cause three minutes later and Flood's two failed drop goal attempts, and poor handling from winger May on the tryline went on to prove costly for the visitors.
Despite Walker's failure to convert Simpson-Daniel's second try in injury time, Gloucester can count themselves lucky not to have opened their Anglo-Welsh cup campaign with a defeat.