RUGBY UNION: WASPS can afford no more slip ups in the Anglo-Welsh Cup after Dai Young’s men lost 41-53 to Newcastle Falcons at the Ricoh Arena on Saturday.
Newcastle edged the try fest game, which saw a total of 14 touch downs with the Falcons securing eight while Wasps could only manage six.
Craig Willis earned Newcastle the lead when his kick after four minutes following a penalty put the Falcons ahead.
Wasps responded three minutes later when a penalty was kicked to touch in the right corner. The subsequent line out was quickly recycled to allow Jack Willis to power over from close range, Rob Miller converted to put Wasps 7-3 up.
Aaron O’Sullivan scored his first try for Wasps just three minutes later as the hosts led 12-3.
That was soon extended to 19-3 when Owain James went over near the right corner while Rob Miller hit the conversion down the middle to stretch Wasps’ lead to 19-3.
The Falcons hit back when tries for Adam Radwan and Santiago Socino went over. Craig Willis managed one conversion as Wasps held a four-point lead.
Newcastle quickly turned the lead in their favour though when Simon Uzokwe got back to his feet after being brought down just before the line to bag Faclons’ fourth try as they led 22-19.
Rob Miller then levelled the game with a kick before half-time to end an entertaining opening half.
The pendulum swung back in Wasps’ favour on 43 minutes when Gabriel Oghre raced down the right where he was eventually brought down inside Falcons’ 22. He managed to keep the ball alive though and offloaded it to Owain James, whose pass to Guy Armitage allowed the 25-year-old to cross over. Rob Miller missed the tricky conversion.
But Newcastle fought back to level the game at 27-27 through Gary Graham before a try apiece for both sides made it 34-34 with 23 minutes remaining.
The lead swung back in Newcastle’s favour when Joel Hodgson bagged Falcons’ sixth try as the visitors led 41-34. The game appeared to then go beyond Wasps’ reach as lock Andrew Davidson stretched Newcastle’s lead to 48-34.
But a try from Guy Armitage 11 minutes from time narrowed Falcons’ lead to seven points.
Hopes of a draw – or possibly a win – for Wasps were evaporated eight minutes from time when Uzokwe crossed over to build a 12-point cushion.
Newcastle held on to win the game.
Wasps are next in action this Friday against Ospreys in their second Anglo-Welsh contest. Kick-off is at 7.30pm.