Northampton Saints 39 Newcastle Falcons31

Northamptontook victory over Newcastle in the Aviva Premiership match at Franklin Gardenslast night, but the result was probably closer than they originally expected.In an exciting and high scoring match in which there were a total of nine tries,the Saints’ winning margin was only eight points over the Falcons by the end asthey took the game 39-31. Saints moved six points clear at the top of the tableover Bath as they racked up their tenth league win of the season, despite beingpegged back somewhat late on but holding on for victory.

Newcastle are tenth inthe league with only London Irish and struggling bottom side London Welsh belowthem.

Last night, the sides were level early on after StephenMyler’s try, conversion and penalty had been matched by Chris Harris’ try for Newcastleand kicks from Tom Catterick. The home side nudged themselves in front goinginto the half-time break through a George Pisi try that left the matchintriguely balanced at 17-10.

It looked like plain sailing for the league leaders afterthe break, however, when Calum Clark crossed the whitewash, followed by apenalty try that ensured Northampton took the all important bonus point onoffer. Even better was to come as England international centre, Luther Burrelladded his name to the tryscorers to make it five tries on the night for thehome team.

Myler’s kicking ensured that the points tally continued to tick overfor Northampton, with five successful kicks on the night, but was matched bythe success rate of Catterick for the opposition. Newcastle came back into thematch in the later stages and made a game of it with three further tries oftheir own through George McGuigan, Alex Tait and Richard Mayhew but could not overhaulthe Saints’ advantage.

Bath have the opportunity to reduce Northampton’s lead atthe top of the table on Sunday, when they travel to Leicester Tigers. The otherAviva Premiership matches being played on Sunday see a mid-table clash as Waspsentertain Sale, with London Welsh looking to improve their poor form thisseason as they host Harlequins. It looks like a tall order for the Welshthough having already conceded a mammoth514 points in the league this campaign with a meagre return of only 89 pointsfor themselves.