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Page last updated at 19:32 GMT, Saturday, 3 September 2011 20:32 UK

Newcastle 9-22 Bath

Newcastle (9) 9
Pens: Gopperth 3
Bath (13) 22
Tries: Carraro Cons: Vesty
Pens: Vesty 4 Drop-goals: Vesty


Newcastle v Bath
Newcastle have not won their opening Premiership game for four years

Bath fly-half Sam Vesty kicked 17 points as they secured a comfortable Premiership win over Newcastle on the opening day of the season.

The visitors went ahead after seven minutes through Matt Carraro's try.

Vesty converted, added a drop-goal and a penalty as Jimmy Gopperth landed three first-half penalties for Falcons.

Three unanswered Bath penalties after the break reflected their domination of a laboured Newcastle side who struggled to create opportunities.

Bath have now gone unbeaten at Kingston Park in eight visits - and their run of victories in the North East never looked in doubt.

The visiting pack were dominant and, coupled with defensive errors by Falcons, led to Vesty's carving run to put his winger in under the posts early on.

Gopperth's kick out of hand led to a 12th-minute penalty that got the hosts off the mark but three minutes on Vesty landed a 30 metre drop-goal after Ben Williams punched a hole in midfield.

Newcastle fought their way back to make it 10-6 with 17 minutes gone.

Both stand-offs missed subsequent shots at goal before Vesty landed again just after the half hour.

Alex Tait and Chris Pilgrim were involved in a promising Newcastle attack but had to settle for another three points with half time beckoning.

Gopperth, normally so reliable with the boot, missed again from 50 metres in the dying moments of the half.

After the break it was largely one-way traffic as Newcastle conceded multiple penalties at the breakdown.

There was little to celebrate for the meagre home crowd and the performance leaves Falcons head coach Alan Tait with plenty to ponder ahead of the long journey to Exeter next weekend.

POST-MATCH REACTION

Newcastle coach Alan Tait:

"My job is now to get the players' heads up because we have Exeter away next and they are a big, fit, physical side and if you don't stop them, they will roll right over you.

"We gave away a really soft try early on and that gave them breathing space and they have class players who were able to control things. We then gave away three points within two minutes of the start of the second half with a daft penalty after we'd come close to scoring just before half-time.

"Bath really did a job on us and their defence was outstanding. But the big plus for us was that all our new lads put their hands up and that's pleasing. Richie Mayhew was outstanding on his debut."

Bath boss Ian McGeechan:

"I have two good coaches working alongside me and we get on well and have similar ideas, but I did wake up this morning thinking why the hell am I doing this again? But when you are involved with really good people and when you come away with a result like this it's really worth doing.

"The work Martin Haag and Brad Davis have put in along with the players showed tonight. This is not an easy place to come and win. I've come here with some very good sides and gone away beaten.

"It's also the first game of the season and the conditions weren't great so you're never quite sure how things are going to materialise. We made a few errors but, in the second half, we put the ball in the right area and took the points when they were there. We have something to work on now."

LINE-UPS

Newcastle: Goosen; Fielden, Eves, Helleur, Tait; Gopperth, Pilgrim; Shiells, Vickers, Wells; Hudson (capt), van der Heijden; Wilson, Welch, Mayhew.

Replacements: Graham, Frazier, Hall, Swinson, Hogg, Pasqualin, Fitzpatrick, Catterick.

Bath: Abendanon; Carraro, Hipkiss, Williams, Biggs; Vesty, Claassens; Flatman, Dixon, Palma-Newport; Hooper (capt), Caldwell; Skirving, Fearns, Taylor.

Replacements: Batty, Catt, Bell, Attwood, Mercer, McMillan, Roberts, Cuthbert.

Attendance: 3,650.

Referee: Martin Fox (RFU).



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see also
Hogg still keen on Scotland place
11 Aug 11 |  Newcastle
MacRae handed Falcons coach role
30 Jun 11 |  Newcastle
Carter prowess forced Donald move
19 Aug 11 |  Bath
Bath owner Craig targets very top
02 Aug 11 |  Bath


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