Error earns Tigers draw
Leicester 16-16 Newcastle
By Ben Blackmore. Last Updated: 14/10/05 9:15pm
Guinness Premiership, Welford Road, Friday October 14
An error by the touch judges earned Leicester a 16-16 draw against Newcastle after a fiery clash at Welford Road that featured a string of injuries, two sin-binnings and red cards for Julian White and Andy Perry.
But the most controversial moment of the contest came after 46 minutes when Andy Goode's conversion attempt flew wide of the left-hand upright and the touch judges raised their flags.
The Falcons would have settled for a point after February's 83-10 mauling by the Tigers on the same venue, but are entitled to feel harshly done by.
In a game which had virtually everything - apart from any sustained spell of quality rugby - there was also an injury scare for Jonny Wilkinson, who received lengthy treatment after a marginally late hit from Leicester scrum-half Harry Ellis.
Wilkinson continued for the rest of the match but had to hand the kicking duties over to full-back Matt Burke - who missed with a late long range penalty from in front of the posts that the former England fly-half would surely have slotted.
As early as the fourth minute Wilkinson demonstrated his kicking skills, dropping a goal with the same right foot that won the World Cup after a penalty attempt rebounded off the posts.
Andy Goode replied with two penalties for Leicester, although Wilkinson had levelled the scores at 6-6 before taking a powerful tackle from Ellis as he cleared his lines.
Referee Tony Spreadbury awarded a penalty where the ball went out and Burke put Newcastle ahead.
Wilkinson stayed on, but a groggy Graham Rowntree went off after the veteran prop took a blow to the head from Andy Perry.
On 35 minutes Goode was yellow carded for an elbow to - who else? - Wilkinson and moments later Spreadbury had the same card out for Andy Long for playing the ball on the ground.
Tempers were becoming increasingly frayed and just a minute later Julian White and Perry were sent off following a mass brawl.
With more than 15 minutes of interruptions, Burke mised a penalty attempt from in front on the stroke of half time and the visitors went in 9-6 ahead.
Leicester started the second half fast, forcing Newcastle into 23 tackles in the first five minutes before Ollie Smith went over from close range, only for the video referee to rule he was held up.
A minute later leicester got the try their presure deserved as Dan Hipkiss held off a tackle from Tom May and James Hamilton scooped up the ball and placed it over the try line. There was a strong suspicion of a knock-on, but this time Spreadbury decided against going to the video ref.
Goode aded the extras - or rather he didn't - and following a Goode penalty that did split the uprights, Leicester led 16-9.
Newcastle finally started to show some invention in the backs in the final quarter and Jamie Noone bombed a chance to go over beneath the sticks after Burke's beak.
On 69 minutes a flowing move in the backs ended in Mike McCarthy's cut-out pass for Robbie Morris to side-step inside and score in the corner.
Burke's touchline conversion levelled the scores and both sides had chances to win it late on, Goode screwing a drop-goal attempt wide and Burke hooking a penalty shot from just inside the Leicester half.
A draw was probably a fair result, but when they see the video of Goode's 'conversion', Newcastle are unlikely to agree.
Leicester: (6) 16
Pens: Goode 3
Newcastle: (9) 16
Pens: Wilkinson, Burke
Sun 12th Apr
Exeter21 - 10Northampton
London Welsh13 - 40Wasps
London Irish25 - 23Sale Sharks
Fri 24th Apr
Bath0 - 0London Irish
Sat 25th Apr
Sale Sharks0 - 0Harlequins
Gloucester0 - 0Newcastle Falcons
Leicester Tigers0 - 0London Welsh
Northampton0 - 0Saracens
Sun 26th Apr
Wasps0 - 0Exeter
Fri 8th May
Harlequins0 - 0Bath
Sat 9th May
Sale Sharks0 - 0Newcastle Falcons
Gloucester0 - 0London Irish
Northampton0 - 0London Welsh
Wasps0 - 0Leicester Tigers
Sun 10th May
Saracens0 - 0Exeter
Sat 16th May
Bath0 - 0Gloucester
Exeter0 - 0Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers0 - 0Northampton
London Irish0 - 0Wasps
London Welsh0 - 0Saracens
Newcastle Falcons0 - 0Harlequins