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but not taking them meant that when Sarries took possession they were able to work their way back up the pitch and get James Short over with Marcus Watson converting. He then scored and converted after the break and although Hamish Smales scored wide foe Sale to close the gap to 7 points a sin-binning offence by Josh Fowles led directly to Sarries third score and a 21-5 win. The Harlequins Newcastle game would


decide the other finalists and this was fiercely contested. After initial sallies by the Falcons Quins patiently built up an attack that was rewarded with a score for Miles Mantella but the conversion bounced out off the post. From the restart Quins stole possession and from a clever break Ollie Lindsay-Hague offloaded to Ross Chisholm to score which Ben Urdapiletta converted. Quins looked to mount a similar attack again and seal a win but following an interception Newcastle worked both sides of the pitch to find an eventual gap for Alex Tait to go over, Joel Hodgson converting in off the post. The tide had turned. After halftime the Falcons looked more fluid on the ball, though Quinn’s energy and commitment matched this for a while. However a try by Will Chudley squared the scores and Fielden scored on the hooter to take Newcastle through by a narrow margin. In the final group match Bath playing only for pride


appeared to be a different team and quickly took a two try lead as Sale made mistakes with their limited possession. After the break Sale quickly scored twice and close the gap to two points and appeared to have control of the game only for Tom Heathcote to get a second try for Bath With the final score by their captain Paul Roberts It was Bath who headed home the happier of the two sides. So the final was to be a repeat of 2010 and


the two best sides served up the best game of the contest. Newcastle made the stronger start and scored twice, firstly after Aaron Myers penetrated close to the line and Redford Pennicook slipped over from the tackle, then when they turned over a tackle and Tait strolled in from 25 yards 14-0. Saracens responded with a brilliant individual piece of gasmanship from Short beating 3 defenders down the left wing before cutting in under the post and this was followed up with more pace by Ben Ransom to with Watson converting again to even up the scores 14-14. By halftime it was a clear that both sides were trying to play a patient possession game looking for the gaps. Watson was the first to find one wriggling through before winning a 60 metre race to the line 14-21. Back came Newcastle and a clever cross field kick which caught Saracen’s off balanced was


gathered by Fielden for their third score19-21. Saracens were still looking sharp when they had the ball but Newcastle were now having most of the possession and after almost two minutes and numerous phases of play, they manoeuvred Tait over the line to edge ahead 24-21. Even in the closing stages of the match the defensive commitment was awesome with big hits coming in on all sides but eventually the game was won by a 35 metre break to the line by Captain Richard Mayhew converted by Chris Pilgrim to finish Newcastle 31 Saracens 21. It was a thrilling contest and the quality was


as good as any domestic Sevens match this season. Marcus Watson stood out for Saracens with his enthusiasm, guile and speed and 9 conversions. He was ably supported by Jean- Baptiste Bruzulier whose aggression created many of the openings. For Newcastle Luke Fielden was top try scorer with 6 of their 15 tries whilst Aaron Myers provided much of their control and direction. Although it seems that not all of the Premiership clubs are taking this seriously those that are provided an entertaining contest that will have satisfied the spectators who are taking time to be won over by Rugby’s 20twenty format. This completion will grow.


By Bob Foster


Issue 4 / www.ukrugbysevens.com / 43


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