WARRIORS produced a performance of real character in challenging weather against Newcastle this weekend.

Friday’s postponement because of a severe weather warning meant another overnight stay for the squad and although weather conditions had improved the match started in numbing cold and with a dusting of snow on the Kingston Park pitch.

To further complicate matters Warriors lost Duhan van der Merwe with a sore neck before kick-off and suffered a succession of injuries during the game – Jamie Shillcock, Gareth Simpson and Marc Thomas – and ended it with flanker Sam Lewis playing the final 90 seconds on the left wing.

Despite all those factors Warriors dug deep and came away with two points from the draw which was secured when Fin Smith calmly converted Billy Searle’s 76th minute try from the left touchline.

Smith’s accurate kicking proved significant in a game of fine margins. While the England Under-20s international landed all of his kicks – three conversions and a penalty – Joel Hodgson was successful with only two of his for Newcastle.

Newcastle had a chance to win the match in the final minute when Warriors were penalised close to their 22 but Hodgson kicked for touch rather than goal and Falcons turned over possession when they tried to muscle over in the right had corner.

Defeat would have been harsh on Warriors and it says much about the attitude of the side that they came away disappointed that they did not bank two more points with a win.

Although Warriors had to defend doggedly for long periods against a determined Newcastle side who appeared to relish the Baltic conditions, they made the most of their attacking opportunities.

Newcastle scored 12 points while Scott Baldwin was in the sin bin in the first half but Ashley Beck got Warriors back in the match when he crossed right at the end of the first half from a charged-down kick.

Skipper Ted Hill and Gareth Simpson then combined superbly for the second try which was finished from close range by Kyle Hatherell and Searle’s try, from a sweeping counter-attack, came just two minutes after Newcastle had gone ahead.

So there was plenty to warm the Warriors supporters who made the long trek north and who shivered their way through 80 minutes.

The snowy surface made running rugby difficult and the numbing cold also added to the miserable conditions and led to an error-strewn contest.