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Falcons edged out in Llanelli thriller.

Byline: By Jack Pickering

A late try from British Lions No 8 Scott Quinnell sealed the fate of Newcastle Falcons during an entertaining clash at Llanelli last night.

Going into injury time, Newcastle only trailed 35-33 - the difference between the sides being a missed conversion by replacement Joe Shaw - with both teams having collected five tries.

The Falcons, on a first visit to Stradey Park, started with five internationals and were looking to atone for last week's defeat in Glasgow.

They went close to opening the scoring in the seventh minute when back row men Epi Taione and Warren Britz set up a try-scoring chance for prop Marius Hurter, but he fumbled the ball in the act of touching down.

The error proved costly because in the 12th minute Quinnell released lock Bryn Griffiths for a corner try which fly-half Gareth Bowen improved on.

The Scarlets, with six internationals on view, made it 14-0 when fly-half Bowen touched down and added the extras. Newcastle eventually opened their account in the 24th minute with a fine individual try from Wing Michael Stephenson, goaled by fullback Ben Gollings.

Weak tackling then led to Llanelli centre Tal Selley touching down only for Newcastle to respond right on half time.

A meandering run from lock Geoff Parling split the home defence, and captain and No8 Hugh Vyvyan went in at the posts with Gollings converting for a 21-14 interval scoreline.

However in the 50th minute the Falcons were 35-14 in arrears after the Scarlets upped the ante with tries from centre Selley and flanker Ian Boobyer.

Newcastle responded with a try from wing Alex Cadwallader - a close season recruit from Newport - and the game was delicately balanced on 35-26 when flanker Taione claimed a 69th minute try. It became even closer, 35-33, when Phil Dowson touched down two minutes from time, but Llanelli lasted the pace better and went on to take the spoils.
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 30, 2003
Words:320
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