Newcastle continued their amazing season as they won their 19th game out of 19 games this season.
The Falcons were straight on the attack and bombarded the Keys line before number 8 Ollie Steadman crossed on his debut for the visitors crashing over from close range out wide. Outside half Jimmy Gopperth, on his 100th appearance for the Falcons kicked the touch line conversion.
The Falcons continued to heap the pressure on to Keys, who were
struggling to exit their own half, let alone create any sort of
opportunities. Gopperth kicked a penalty as Keys who despite defending
well conceded a straight forward penalty from in front of the sticks, in
the 18th minute. A second Gopperth penalty kept the scoreboard ticking
over after half an hour. Keys second row Danny Hodge was sent to the sin
bin, an area he is seemingly getting quite familiar with, for killing
the ball just before half time. Keys battled really well and can feel
quite proud of their defensive efforts and the fact that Newcastle were
still within touching distance at the interval
Half Time Score: Cross Keys 0 Newcastle Falcons 13
The second half started in much the same way as the first with the Falcons continuing to press the Keys line and it took under 5 minutes for Keys to be reduced to just 13 men with Scott Matthews seeing yellow for killing the ball at a ruck just as Hodge had done in the first half. The two man advantage began to show real benefits for the Falcons and Welsh international scrum half Warren Fury crossed in front of the scoreboard with Gopperth again kicking a fine conversion from the touchline, as the visitors began to pull away.
Keys finally started to get some territory and some possession and
Dorian Jones came close to crossing but his fly hack through was just
gathered by the Falcons before Keys could get to it. Keys were soon on
the scoreboard themselves when Jones after creating the good position
slotted over a penalty for Keys just before the hour.
Unfortunately for Keys that was about as good as it got and the Falcons came back with intent and they were rewarded for putting Keys scrum under pressure with a penalty try which Gopperth duly converted. Keys skipper, Rob Nash who came off the bench, became the third home player to go to the sin bin just 5 minutes from the end as he was penalized for an offense at the breakdown as Keys defended desperately to try and stop the Falcons getting the bonus point. That wasn't to be though as just after Nash was sent to the sidelines The Keys scrum once again came under huge pressure and Irish referee Eanna O'Dowd dealt Keys a cruel blow by harshly awarding the Falcons a second penalty try to secure the bonus point, again Gopperth converting.
Overall the effort of Keys cannot be faulted but ultimately the Falcons, as they have been for every other side they have faced this season were simply too good although two of their four tries came when Keys were down to 13 and then 14 men.
Penalty: Dorian Jones
Newcastle Falcons Scorers:-
Tries: Penalty Try (x2), Ollie Steadman & Warren Fury
Conversions: Jimmy Gopperth (x4)
Penalties: Jimmy Gopperth (x2)
Keys rugby committee man of the match: Sean Higgins