Bealham hat-trick not enough for Connacht in Newcastle

21 January 2023

Bealham hat-trick not enough for Connacht in Newcastle

A night to forget in Newcastle as Connacht leave Kingston Park empty handed in the Challenge Cup.

Heading into the game Connacht had the potential of playing home games in the knockout stages of the competition but those dreams were wiped away after a 35-21 defeat to Newcastle Falcons.

It was a nightmare start in the North East of England with the home side getting three tries in the opening 20 minutes. Micky Young with the first in the third minute before Matias Orlando in the tenth and Tian Schoeman in the 19th which had Falcons 21-0 up.

Nine minutes into the game Connacht were down to 14 men when Byron Ralston was sent to the sin bin.

Midway through the first half though Connacht got themselves back into the game. Finlay Bealham with his first of three tries in the 21st minute after squeezing over with a penalty advantage as Newcastle made a mess of the restart after their try

Seven minutes later Finlay got his second when he drove over the line. Conor Fitzgerald scored his second conversion to bring the men in green to within a converted try of the hosts.

With the score being 21-14 at half-time Connacht needed to make the brighter start in the second forty. Two minutes in however it was Newcastle who got their fourth try of the game from Josh Barton who took advantage of some poor tackling.

Connacht needed the next score and they got it, after a few close drives in the build up Finlay completed his hat-trick, Fitzgerald added the conversion to make it 28-21 with 54 minutes on the clock.

Unfortunately for Connacht though that was as close as they got with Pete Lucock getting the fifth Falcons try before Josh Thomas converted to finish the scoring at 35-21.

The result means Connacht will now play Benetton away in the last 16.