Northampton Saints 39 Newcastle Falcons 31

Northampton took victory over Newcastle in the Aviva Premiership match at Franklin Gardens last 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 as they took the game 39-31. Saints moved six points clear at the top of the table over Bath as they racked up their tenth league win of the season, despite being pegged back somewhat late on but holding on for victory. Newcastle are tenth in the league with only London Irish and struggling bottom side London Welsh below them.

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

It looked like plain sailing for the league leaders after the break, however, when Calum Clark crossed the whitewash, followed by a penalty try that ensured Northampton took the all important bonus point on offer. Even better was to come as England international centre, Luther Burrell added his name to the tryscorers to make it five tries on the night for the home team. Myler’s kicking ensured that the points tally continued to tick over for Northampton, with five successful kicks on the night, but was matched by the success rate of Catterick for the opposition. Newcastle came back into the match in the later stages and made a game of it with three further tries of their own through George McGuigan, Alex Tait and Richard Mayhew but could not overhaul the Saints’ advantage.

Bath have the opportunity to reduce Northampton’s lead at the top of the table on Sunday, when they travel to Leicester Tigers. The other Aviva Premiership matches being played on Sunday see a mid-table clash as Wasps entertain Sale, with London Welsh looking to improve their poor form this season as they host Harlequins. It looks like a tall order for the Welsh though having already conceded a mammoth 514 points in the league this campaign with a meagre return of only 89 points for themselves.

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