Wasps edge close encounter
Newcastle and Wasps could not light up a cold and grey North-East afternoon in an error-strewn LV=Cup clash which finished 9-3 in the visitors' favour at Kingston Park.
Newcastle were already out of contention for the quarter-finals after last weekend's defeat at Cardiff Blues, while Wasps' chances of qualifying had disappeared after yesterday's results and some big names were missing because of Six Nations and England Saxons duty.
Hall Charlton took over the Falcons captaincy from New Zealand prop Carl Hayman, who started on the bench. Dave Walder, who was often Charlton's half-back partner in his Newcastle days, led Wasps instead of Joe Worsley with the Londoners having some big names away on Six Nations and England Saxons duty.
It looked like Alex Tait had crossed for a try in the very first minute, but Newcastle were pulled back for crossing and they had to wait until Rob Miller's 14th-minute penalty for the lead.
And it was Miller's kick downfield that sparked a massive period of Falcons pressure with wing Danny Williams forcing Walder to concede a five-metre scrum.
Newcastle battered away at the Wasps line but Tait was again guilty of running behind one of his own players and another penalty for crossing allowed Wasps to clear.
The Falcons dominated possession and territory for much of the half, but the Newcastle scrum lost its edge in the final 10 minutes of the opening 40 and were lucky not to concede a pushover try. Walder made do with an injury-time penalty to level the scores at the break.
Newcastle brought on Hayman and Grant Shiells to bolster their front row at the start of the second half and Wasps were immediately penalised at the first scrum but it did little to halt the number of errors on both sides.
Walder kicked a 57th penalty to make it 6-3 and with both sides using the second half to run their benches there was precious little fluent play, much to disgust of the 4,651 crowd who let their feelings be known in no uncertain terms.
With three minutes left Walder kicked his third penalty for 9-3 and that was enough to see Wasp through to a victory of little consequence.