WASPS suffered a narrow 34-27 defeat to Newcastle in their opening Premiership Rugby Cup match at Kingston Park.
Tries from Olly Hartley, James Tunney and Michael van Vuuren edged Wasps into a seven-point lead at the break.
However, Newcastle hit back in the second period as Josh Basham, Alex Tait and Gary Graham all crossed to secure a narrow victory for the home side.
That came after Tait, Will Montgomery and Iwan Stephens all touched down for the Falcons in the first-half as Wasps were beaten for the second time this season in the North East.
Led by backs transition coach Scott Barrow – Wasps handed debuts to 10 players as they rang the changes and gave some much-needed rest to the majority of the first-team squad.
And the visitors were dealt a blow after just 10 minutes when wing Luke Mehson was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on before Tait dotted down in the corner just two minutes later for the game’s first try.
However, despite being a man short – Hartley ran in Wasps opening try on his debut after 15 minutes when he received a pass on the inside with Tommy Matthews adding the extras.
Matthews then kicked a penalty to extend Wasps’ lead before Newcastle scored straight from the restart when Montgomery finished in the corner on 22 minutes.
Wasps provided another quick response when Tunney stretched over the line from Sam Wolstenholme’s pass just three minutes later with Matthews again adding the extras.
And Barrow’s side were in command on 36 minutes when van Vuuren forced his way over shortly before half-time complimented by another successful kick from Matthews.
However, the Falcons reduced the deficit in the final minute of the half when Stephens went over after he stepped on the outside of Mehson following a flowing move from a lineout with Joel Hodgson converting.
That left Wasps with a 24-17 lead at the interval which was further reduced when Basham crossed in the corner on 51 minutes.
And Newcastle completed the turnaround when Tait scored his second try seven minutes later – touching down close to sticks which allowed Hodgson to kick a simple conversion.
Matthews kicked a penalty on 68 minutes to bring Wasps to within two points of their opponents before Graham’s try at the death secured the win for Newcastle.
Wasps continue their cup campaign against Leicester Tigers on Saturday, November 20 with kick-off at 1:30pm at the Coventry Building Society Arena.
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