SPIRIT OF 2003

Former Newcastle scrum half, Hall Charlton, has called on his former side to call upon the spirit of 2003 to inspire them to avoid relegation and to retain their Premiership place.

2003 saw the Falcons turn around a seemingly impossible situation to avoid relegation and they find themselves in a similar situation this year. Back in 2003 they were 6 points adrift at the foot of the table going into the final run of games, this season they are 6 points adrift with just 6 games to go. They have also changed coach mid season and brought in a number of players mid season to bolster their squad for the fight against the drop.

Back in 2003 it was a try from Charlton that turned the Falcon’s campaign and he feels a similar moment could save Newcastle’s skin again. In the sixth minute of added time in a clash with Leeds at Headingly Charlton’s try secured a 17-12 victory for Newcastle. Further victories for the Falcon’s followed against Northampton, Saracens and Leicester and they went on to avoid relegation at the expense of Bristol.

The achievements of that season are still close to Charlton’s heart. Having retired last year from professional rugby he is regularly asked about the fondest memories of his career at Newcastle. “They naturally assume I will talk about winning two Powergen Cup finals at Twickenham or things like that, but the one that always sticks out in my mind is scoring the winning try against Leeds in 2003.”

Falcon’s fans and current players will understand that sentiment. If the current Falcons side can match the achievement of 2003 it will be perhaps even more impressive. It will need to be soon though. With just six games to go they need to get to winning ways sooner rather than later. This weekend sees a clash with Harlequins and if Falcons can take even a losing bonus point from this game they will have a huge boost for the rest of the season.