TOM May’s finishing has been a cut above the rest this season. Four tries in seven games shows the Falcons star still knows where the try line is and he’d like nothing better than to add a couple more in tonight’s EDF Energy Cup-tie against Newport Gwent Dragons at Kingston Park (5.30pm).
There’s been much amused speculation among May’s team-mates that the reason for the 28-year-old’s rich vein of form has something to do with not getting his hair cut since he married earlier this year – thanks to a bet.
“My last haircut was four days before my wedding in May and to be fair the missus has been giving me severe grief about having long hair,” said May.
“She’s away for three months on a course after December so I have another 90 days to really go for the mullet if I want to keep growing it past the original cut-off point to win my bet with Joe Shaw.
“The year has started well for me with the dodgy barnet so I’ve just decided I’m going to stick with it and it might be here until the end of the season if I keep scoring tries. The hair really annoys me, I hate it, but it seems to be a bit of a good luck charm at the moment.
“Shawsy reckons I’m so vain that I won’t be able to resist getting a haircut before 2007 is out, but if I hold out, he has to pay for me to go wherever I want in Britain for the weekend. I reckon I can absolutely take him to the cleaners.”
May will be at full-back again tonight in the enforced absence of Matt Burke and he added: “I chatted to Burkey at length before the game last weekend about a few things to do with playing full-back, mainly positional stuff to be honest, and the tips he gave me stood me in great stead.” A storming performance at Kingsholm ended 18-18 and Newcastle should have won, May missing a chance to add to his tally when he knocked on with the line beckoning.
“Toby Flood was very upset in the changing rooms after the final whistle for missing a couple of drop goals,” said May. “I was exactly the same after fluffing the try in the corner.
“I was quite happy with my game apart from the massive howler where I bombed a try. I saw a bit of space, chipped over the top and just assumed I’d have 15 Gloucester blokes haring down behind me.
“The ball didn’t bounce as high as I thought it would – I rushed picking it up and knocked it on. I looked at the ball, swore at it, then looked up and realised there were no Gloucester players within 25 yards of me. I could have just let the ball trickle over the line and leant on it to score. I can’t even use the excuse that the Gloucester lads were chasing me because as the video shows they had just totally given up on it.”
With the Dragons having fought out a low-scoring 3-3 draw last weekend against London Wasps in the pool opener, May said: “It’s totally wide open and we have a chance of progressing.”
Newcastle have made two changes – Mathew Tait for Tim Visser at centre and Lee Dickson at scrum-half for Hall Charlton.
NEWCASTLE FALCONS: T May, O Phillips, M Tait, S Jones, J Rudd, T Flood, L Dickson, J McDonnell, M Thompson, D Wilson, A Perry, M Sorenson, G Parling, B Wilson, R Winter. Rep: A Long, J Golding, J Oakes, E Williamson, H Charlton, T Visser, A Tait.
NEWPORT GWENT DRAGONS: M Thomas, P Emerick, R Gomer-Davies, G Maule, R Mustoe, A Thomas, A Williams, H Gustafson, B Daly, R Thomas, A Hall, P Sidoli, J Bearman, C Charvis (capt), M Owen. Reps: K Crawford, A Black, J Corsi, L Evans, R Parks, C Sweeney, W Evans.