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Report: Newcastle Falcons U18s 35-34 Bristol Bears U18s

Bristol Bears Academy U18s suffered a heartbreaking last-gasp defeat to finish sixth in the 2020 U18s League.

Bristol led 34-28 into the final stages thanks to a remarkable comeback, but were sunk by Falcons' late converted try.

The Falcons led 21-0 at the half-hour mark through scores from Ben Robson and Mathew Ward’s brace, before Chay Mullins pulled one back for the Bears to make it 21-7 at the interval.

Newcastle then found themselves trailing 26-21 just a quarter of an hour later after tries from Ollie Holiday and Harry Rowson’s double put Bristol ahead.

The two teams then exchanged scores with Ollie Fletcher crossing over and Rowson completing his hat-trick, before Jac Lloyd - younger brother of Ioan - slotted over a penalty to give Bears the advantage.

However, in the last play of the game, Peacock’s bulldozed his way across the try line to leave Blackett kicking for victory, and he converted to send Newcastle’s players into wild celebrations.

Bristol Bears Academy Senior Manager Gethin Watts admitted his side was disappointed to fall at the death, but saw plenty to be optimistic about the side’s future.

“We weren’t at the races in the first half and gifted them too many points,” said Watts.

“But I think we were good value in the second half and all credit to Newcastle coming back to the end. It probably epitomises a back-and-forth game and was a decent match for the neutral.

“At the end of the day: it’s about these boys developing in high-pressure situations with the game on a knife edge. They will definitely benefit from this experience.”

Newcastle Falcons: Robinson, Robertson, Moore, Greenlaw, Ward, Blackett, Douglas, Dormer, Chaplin, Brantingham, Robson, Peacock, Tait, Pepper, Vassello

Replacements: Fletcher, Siddle, Thompson, Hill, Tiffen, Naylor, Gough, Spencer

Bristol Bears: Mullin, Josland, Rowson, Power, Holiday, Wilstead, Smith, Turner, Curry, Thompson, Taylor, Rice, Dick, Collier, Duncan

Replacements: Taufa, Perry, Sims, Hughes, Judkins, Lloyd, Scholfiend

Newcastle: Tries: Robson 11, Ward 13, 28, Fletcher 48, Peacock 74, Conversions: Blackett 12, 13, 29, 49, 75

Bristol Bears Tries: Mullin 35, Rowson 38, 43, 67 Holiday 44, Conversions: Wilstead 35, 38, Lloyd, 53, Penalty: Lloyd 61

Yellow card: Curry 70