Newcastle chief Richards enjoys victory over former club Quins
Seven years on from the Bloodgate affair at Harlequins that left Dean Richards out in the rugby wilderness for three seasons, the Newcastle boss enjoyed a bonus victory in a try-fest against his former club.
Richards, who lost his job in charge of Quins in 2009 after the use of a fake blood capsule in a Heineken Cup tie against Leinster, saw Newcastle run in six tries to follow up their victory at Northampton with a win that left Harlequins still without a success on the road.
The in-form Falcons needed tries in the final quarter by Canada lock Evan Olmstead and England Sevens star Marcus Watson to halt a second-half fightback that had taken Harlequins from 26-8 down to just 26-22 behind.
Argentina centre Juan Pablo Socino scored two tries and scrum-half Mickey Young and flanker Mark Wilson one each for the Falcons, who registered their first try bonus of the season.
Newcastle now have five wins from 10 Premiership matches, equalling their tally from the whole of last season's 22-match campaign.
Harlequins - who were without England players Chris Robshaw, Marland Yarde, Mike Brown, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler and Danny Care - have won all five of their home games but lost all five away.
They did, however, earn their first points on the road, Timn Visser's injury-time score against his former club earning a try bonus and Ruaridh Jackson's subsequent conversion earning a losing bonus point.
Fly-half Tim Swiel kicked Harlequins into a 3-0 lead with a seventh-minute penalty, but they were trailing after 12 minutes. Young broke smartly from the base of a scrum and exchanged passes with winger Alex Tait before scoring under the posts.
Fly-half Joel Hodgson added the conversion to give Newcastle a 7-3 lead, but Harlequins were not long in hitting back. An 18th-minute attack ended with former Newcastle winger Visser feeding hooker Rob Buchanan for a try in the right corner. Swiel was off target with the conversion attempt, but Harlequins were back in front 8-7
The lead continued to see-saw, Socino picking up a loose ball at a ruck and darting over the Harlequins try-line after 28 minutes and Hodgson landing the conversion to make it 14-8 to Newcastle.
The home side were on an attacking roll and three minutes later they had a third try, captain Wilson barging over from close range after a slick line-out move. Hodgson's conversion stretched the lead to 21-8 at the interval.
Two minutes into the second half Newcastle had their bonus point score, Socino taking a pass from fellow centre Fred Burdon and dashing over for his second try of the afternoon. This time Hodgson pushed the conversion wide, but the lead was up to 26-8.
Scrum-half Karl Dickson gave Harlequins hope of a fightback, diving over from close range for a 53rd-minute try that was converted by replacement fly-half Jackson.
That cut the home lead to 11 points and, when Dickson broke through the home defence for his second try, again converted by Jackson, Harlequins were just 26-22 down with 20 minutes still to play.
Olmstead's unconverted try after 65 minutes gave Newcastle breathing space at 31-22.
A Jackson penalty pegged the score back to 31-25, but then, with 76 minutes on the clock, Watson scored try number six for Newcastle in the left corner and full-back Delany converted.
To their credit, Quins salvaged dual consolation at the death, Visser crossing on the left for a try bonus and Jackson converting for a losing bonus point.