Bath 13 Newcastle Falcons 20
So torrid had been the majority of Bath’s first home game of the season – they were 20-3 down against Newcastle with only 10 minutes to play – their raucous reaction when centre Max Ojomoh went over for a try showed their desperation for something to cheer about.
Bath had been slow starters against Sale the previous week despite taking the match to a one-point game and it was clear that Dean Richards, Newcastle’s director of rugby, and his coaching team and analysts had been poring over this to force a repeat performance.
The hosts lacked experience in key positions – although Orlando Bailey at fly-half continues to look a promising prospect – with the absence of Danny Cipriani through injury and scrum-half Ben Spencer, as well as Lions Anthony Watson and Taulupe Faletau, leading to a lack of savvy, which was not helped by a struggling scrum and ill-discipline.
Stuart Hooper, the Bath rugby director, lamented his side’s set-piece woes. “We didn’t have a set-piece in the first half. We got penalised at scrum time, and then we gave away breakdown penalties to compound that,” he said.
“Whichever way you play in the Premiership, you have got to build pressure through territory or possession, and we didn’t get either.”
Sam Underhill’s departure in the 11th minute after taking a blow to the knee was a portent of danger for Bath.
Adam Radwan should go into England camp with confidence after opening the scoring. The wing marked his England debut against Canada in July with a hat-trick.
Dave Walder, Newcastle’s head coach, praised the 23 year-old: “You give him a sniff, and I don’t think there are many in the Premiership who are faster or whose footwork is as good.”
Iwan Stephens made it a good day for Newcastle’s wings, scoring after 35 minutes, before hooker George McGuigan went over on the stroke of half-time.
Scoring sequence: 0-5 Radwan try, 0-8 Haydon-Wood pen, 3-8 Bailey pen, 3-13 Stephens try, 3-18 McGuigan try, 3-20 Haydon-Wood con, 8-20 Ojomoh try, 10-20 Bailey con, 13-20 Bailey pen.
Bath: T de Glanville; S Rokoduguni, J Joseph (M Clark 61), M Ojomoh, W Muir; O Bailey, O Fox (M Green 61); J Schoeman (B Obano 40), T Dunn (J du Toit 49), J Jonker (D Rae 40), M Williams (J Coetzee 54), C Ewels, M Reid, S Underhill (T Ellis 11), J Bayliss.
Newcastle: T Penny; A Radwan, B Stevenson, P Lucock (G Wacokecoke 75), I Stephens; W Haydon-Wood, L Schreuder; A Brocklebank (K Cooper 67), G McGuigan, R Palframan (M Tampin 32), G Peterson (M Fuser 72), S Robinson, P van der Walt, W Welch, C Fearns (G Graham 61).
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys.