Rain and wind made things difficult for the teams at Rodney Parade but both sides contributed to an entertaining and competitive Newport took a 6th min lead with a Dan Griffiths penalty and on 23 mins Chris Wannell added an excellent kick for a 6-0 lead to the home side.
Newport seemed to be playing to orders and from a line-out came a catch and drive and the pack drove magnificently for 20m for prop Dai Pattison to emerge with the ball and a big smile. Griffiths made it 13-0 on 28 mins. Newport then relaxed and gave away penalties on 30 and 32 mins and the evergreen Luke Richards pulled the score back to 13-6. An excellent break added by missed tackles ended with wing Jason Howells touching down on 38 mins. The conversion was missed but on 40+2 mins that man Richards dropped a neat goal for a fortunate HT lead of 14-13.
Within 3 mins of the restart there was an almost action replay of Newport’s first try as the Newport pack again drove over and once again Dai Pattison came up with the ball. Griffiths missed the conversion and then a Richards penalty made the score 18-17 to Newport. The home side continued to pressurize and the mobile Adam Frampton sprinted to the line on 51 mins. Once again Griffiths missed the conversion but Llanelli did not help theirselves when prop Ian Jones was yellow carded on 54 mins. Surprisingly there were no further scores although Newport went close a couple of times – wing Alan Awcock was very unlucky not to get the touch down after an excellent kick through and run to the line – to securing a bonus pt win
Head Coach Sven Cronk praised his team saying “They got well on top of the table from beginning,” he said. “Our three tries were the result of good organisation and effort from all the forwards.” However he was critical of defensive lapses that resulted in being down at HT.
With a number of matches being called off due to the weather Newport’s hard earned but deserved win puts them 2nd in the Premier table just 1 pt behind leaders Pontypridd.
Newport: G Wyatt; R Owen R Payne, C Wannell, A Awcock (D James 73); D Griffiths, K Barrett (A Quick 62); D Pattison (I Evans 60) A Brown, G Robinson, D Rosser (M Workman 65), A Frampton, S Waldron (R Dale 60), P Williams, A Coombs (capt). Scorers - Tries: D Pattison (2), A Frampton and D Griffiths 1c,1p, C Wannell 1p.
Llanelli: J Lewis; D Thomas (S Shingler 67, S Martin (C Keenan 63), N Reynolds, J Howells; L Richards, G Davies (J James 58); I Jones (A Powell 65), R Lawrence, A Hopkins (I Jones 80), N White (A Powell, 61), A Shingler, R McCusker (capt) (N Cudd 65), N Cudd (R Jenkins 56), B Morgan (D Eager 52) Scorers - Try: J Howells and L Richards 3p, 1dg. Yellow card : Ian Jones 54/65
Referee : Huw David
Photos courtesy of Ron Sutcliffe :