A Fin Smith penalty with the last kick of the game gave Warriors Under-18s victory over Newcastle Falcons at Sixways in the Premiership Rugby Under-18s Academy League.
Notching up their third successive league victory of the campaign, Warriors had to work hard for their win against an abrasive Falcons outfit who were dogged throughout.
Harry Spencer opened the scoring for Warriors as early as the first minute, the outside centre pushing his way over the try line in the near corner thanks to a neat carry and offload from the impressive Jack Forsythe.
Eight minutes later Warriors doubled their try-scoring tally for the afternoon, this time Ollie Wynn scything in with Forsythe again the architect with ball in hand. Smith made no mistake with the conversion to give Warriors a 12-0 lead.
Newcastle immediately hit back through Ben Douglas, the scrum-half spotting a gap in Warriors’ defensive line to dot down from close-range after the ball was shifted wide at speed. James Blackett clipped the outside of the post with the conversion and Warriors still had the edge at 12-5.
Warriors continued to play an expansive game with wings Tobi Wilson and Alex Evans looking to puncture holes in Falcons’ armoury out wide. However, the Tyneside outfit were equal to Warriors’ attacking threat, with a combination of textbook tackling and a desire to defend coming to the fore.
The visitors were rewarded for their tenacity in defence on the stroke of half-time when Matty Ward sprinted the length of the field against the run of play to touchdown. With Warriors working through the phases inches from Newcastle’s try line, the ball was flung wide only for Ward to intercept and leave a series of Warriors defenders in his wake on his way to the whitewash. Blackett’s simple conversion made it 12-12 going into the break.
Four minutes into the second period Warriors were back in front courtesy of a Tom Miles try, the replacement number-nine jinxing his way to the try line after Forsythe had crashed his way through a gap to get his side within touching distance of the chalk. Smith’s conversion put Warriors 19-12 ahead.
Newcastle to their credit were not deterred by the early second half set-back and continued to thwart Warriors’ attacking threat while also threatening a score themselves. 11 minutes from time Falcons’ replacement hooker Ollie Fletcher added the final touches to a dominant rolling maul, with Blackett converting superbly to set up a tense finale at 19-apiece.
With a draw looking like a fair result, Warriors were awarded a penalty at the death which Smith duly obliged with to give his side a crucial win as the business end of the campaign looms large.
Warriors U18s | 15 Fin Morgan, 14 Alex Evans, 13 Harry Spencer, 12 Seb Atkinson, 11 Tobi Wilson, 10 Fin Smith, 9 Ollie Wynn, 1 Ben Murphy, 2 Joe Richardson, 3 Mitch Reeve, 4 Imoesi Ogwemoh, 5 Charlie Hagen, 6 Ewan Guy, 7 Finlay Thomas, 8 Jack Forsythe
Replacements | 16 Jon Lilley, 17 Ben Rowley, 18 Adam Lane, 19 Jack Lewis, 20 Tom Miles, 21 Isaac Wilding
1m | Spencer try 5-0
9m | Wynn try 10-0
10m | Smith con 12-0
12m | Douglas try 12-5
35m | Ward try 12-10
35m | Blackett con 12-12
39m | Miles try 17-12
40m | Smith con 19-12
53m | Fletcher try 19-17
54m | Blackett con 19-19
70m | Smith pen 22-19