Going into this match,
many Newport fans feared the worse. Newport had yet to win on the road and had a huge problem at
centre having to go with an experimental pairing of Chris Wannell and Nathan Williams.
On the other hand Aberavon even with injury problems were expected to win
comfortably. They had not lost at home since Newport last beat them on April 25th earlier this
year and last season. In the end Newport were worthy winners and in truth should have had a
winning bonus point rather than conceding a losing one to Aberavon on 80 min.
Captain Andrew Coombs is now getting back to his best
form and led the side from the front and was always threat and got an all important try in the 2nd
half while restored No 10 Dan Griffiths became the first Newport RFC player
ever to reach 1500pts when he converted his captain’s– the first man ever to
achieve it for the club.
With Scott Williams, Adam Hughes, Ryan Owen and Alan
Awcock injured, Newport’s makeshift centres Nathan Williams and Chris
Wannell did well, playing against the former Newport player Luke Hathaway and Osprey Ben John in midfield.
Wannell kicked penalties on 15mins and 32 mins, but missed kicks on 30 mins and
37 mins. Matthew Jarvis kicked one for Aberavon on 25 mins. It was an uninspiring
1st half and Newport would
have gone in disappointed not to be further ahead. They could have been after
Dai Pattison was called back after Coombs had out him in.
Two mins after the restart Wannell started the move
for wing Poole to slice through and Griffiths to convert replacing Wannell as kicker as he had a
leg twinge. Aberavon wing Paul Bamsey was yellow-carded on 50 mins but Jarvis
reduced the score to 6-13 with a 57 min penalty. Newport scored again when Poole raced through the defence for Coombs to score his try and Griffiths to convert for his 1500 pts. Aberavon came back as
hooker Marc Breeze went over on 63 mins and Jarvis converted to make it 13-20.
A neat Griffiths chip went perfectly to wing Will Harries to score
his first try for the club on 79 mins and Griffiths converted for a 27-13 lead. Aberavon then scored a
try by replacement scrum-half Dan Davies converted by Marc Bennett. It was a
good try aided by Newport’s poor tackling and they will be disappointed that
they had not scored earlier at the other end but in the end it was a good Newport win against the odds.
“At last, our first away win this season,” said a
relieved Newport head coach Sven Cronk. “I certainly will take that
win as my forwards did splendidly. They more than held Aberavon’s solid scrum,
and tight-head prop Gethin Robinson was huge for us. We also did well in the
line-outs and Andrew Coombs had a very good game leading the side from number
8, while wing Michael Poole was excellent, even though he is struggling through
with an ankle injury.”
Aberavon : M Bennett; Richard Thomas, B John, L
Hathaway, P Bamsey; M Jarvis (J Murphy 64), C Morgans (D Davies 72); N White (L
Howell 61), M Breeze (B Thomas 75), A Edwards (I Poley 61), I Moore (capt) (G
Ronan 56), C Gittins, J King, J Tipuric,R Gallagher (A Bray 73). Yellow card –
P Bamsey (50/61).
Tries: M Breeze, D Davies and M Jarvis 1c, 2p, M
Newport : G Wyatt; W Harries, N Williams, C Wannell, M
Poole; D Griffiths, A Walker (D Walsh 69); D Pattison, A Brown, G Robinson, D
Rosser (M Workman 72), A Jones, S Waldron, P Williams (R Dale 66)., A Coombs
Tries: M Poole, A Coombs, W
Harries and C Wannell 2p, D Griffiths
Referee: Nigel Owens (Pontyberem).