HALL Charlton hopes his injury worries are now behind him, having injected the late momentum which helped his Newcastle Falcons side beat Exeter last weekend.
The 31-year-old came off the bench for his 200th appearance in a Falcons shirt, with the scrum-half veteran now finally on the mend after a long-running hamstring problem.
“After 10 weeks of being in rehab I felt like an excited little kid making my debut when I came on for the last 20 minutes,” said Charlton (pictured below), the Durham-born half-back who is in his 13th season at the club.
“There were a few dark moments during that time out, purely because it is the same injury which has occurred three times this season.
“I have left it a bit longer this time in getting it right, hence the longer lay-off, and the hope by doing that is it does not come back to bother me any more.”
Originally occurring in the third week of pre-season, the niggling injury has restricted him to just two replacement outings this season.
Charlton added: “It was a thickening of my hamstring tendon, but it has taken me a while to shake it off.
“It was more just a build-up over the years rather than one particular incident, but I have been to see a specialist and had an injection now, so hopefully that should be the end of it. A lot of work has gone into strengthening the hamstring, and there did not seem to be any problems from the game last Sunday, thankfully.”
Despite his outstanding contribution as a replacement in the 17-3 LV= Cup win over Exeter, Charlton is still expected to be on the bench rather than starting this weekend at London Irish, with match fitness the main concern.
Being typically keen to play down his game-changing contribution against the Chiefs after coming on for Micky Young on the hour mark, he said: “I wanted to boss the forwards a bit, but to be fair to them I did not actually have to do that much.
“They started carrying the ball a lot harder in the closing stages, and as a scrum-half it makes your life a heck of a lot easier when the pack are getting over the gain-line.
“Once you have that platform you can look to put in your tactical kicks or move the ball wide, and your decision-making ability is much better when the forwards are dominating the collision.
“I think that by the end Exeter’s big pack had been worn down, and we came into our own.”
Determined not to let last weekend’s fleeting success get the better of his side, Charlton insisted: “The win on Sunday has given everybody a bit of a gee-up, but in the past we have often followed up a victory with a poor performance.
“What we need is real consistency to string a run of results together.
“We are not getting too carried away with the Exeter game because we know it is just one result in the LV= Cup when we have a massive run of important matches coming up in the Aviva Premiership.
“We have to start pushing forward as a club and not get a big head about one result.
“Last weekend will not mean a thing if we lose on Saturday at London Irish, and the Premiership is the main focus because we know our league position is not good enough.”