Newcastle Falcons strengthened their play-off hopes when they beat Bath and Saracens moved provisionally top of the table thanks to victory at Sale Sharks.
Newcastle Falcons 29-12 Bath
The Falcons proved too strong for their more fancied visitors when they secured a deserved bonus-point victory at Kingston Park on Friday.
Newcastle were dominant for large periods especially during the opening half and they held a comfortable 21-0 lead at the interval after converted tries from Sinoti Sinoti, Toby Flood and Kyle Cooper, which were all converted by Flood.
Sinoti dotted down as early as the fifth minute after Josh Matavesi did the bulk of the groundwork with a superb line break in the build-up. Ten minutes later, the home side added their second try when Flood slipped out of a tackle before crossing the whitewash.
The rest of the half was more subdued although the Falcons finished stronger and four minutes before half-time, Cooper barged over from close quarters after the hosts launched a driving maul deep inside Bath’s half.
To their credit, Bath came out swinging after the break and six minutes into the half Cooper Vuna went over in the left-hand corner for their opening try which was converted by Freddie Burns.
That did not deter Newcastle though and five minutes later, Vereniki Goneva crossed for their bonus-point try after gathering a perfectly-weighted pass from Nili Latu.
Flood added a penalty in the 76th minute before Anthony Perenise scored a consolation try for the visitors in the game’s closing stages.
For Newcastle Falcons:
Tries: Sinoti, Flood, Cooper, Goneva
Cons: Flood 3
Tries: Vuna, Perenise
Sale Sharks 3-13 Saracens
Saracens were made to graft for this result but they eventually secured victory against a spirted Sale Sharks side who were unlucky not to score any tries as they had plenty of possession.
As the scoreline suggests, this was a slugfest and the game’s only try was scored in the 13th minute when Liam Williams glided through a gap in Sale’s defence before showing a superb turn of speed on his way over the try-line.
Ben Spencer slotted the conversion but there was little interesting to report for the next 15 minutes. The game came alive in the 31st minute when Williams and Rob Webber were involved in an off-the-ball scuffle which resulted in both players being sent to the sin bin.
Shortly afterwards, Faf de Klerk slotted a penalty for the hosts but that was the only time they would score points in this match. On the stroke of half-time, Spencer added a penalty and the teams changed sides at half-time with Sarries leading 10-3.
The second half was a tight tussle with the only points of the half scored by Spencer when he slotted his second penalty in the 51st minute.
For Sale Sharks:
Pen: De Klerk
Yellow Card: Webber
Pens: Spencer 2
Yellow Card: Williams