2009/2010 Principality Premiership
Neath 21 v 13 Newport
05 December 2009 - The Gnoll, Neath

Match Report

Neath 21 Newport 13

Newport started promisingly with the wind and rain behind them and were in the lead after just 1 min with a Dan Griffiths penalty. Scrum-half Alex Walker and full-back Gareth Wyatt  both featured to give lock Alex Jones a run down the touchline for an excellent try on 7 mins which Griffiths converted with a magnificent kick from the touchline to give Newport a 10-0 lead. They immediately gave back 3 pts with an Arwel Thomas penalty but were certainly the better side and the Newport pack had the Neath 8 in all sorts of trouble. Then came an incident which was to change the whole match and cost Newport dear. Andrew Brown finally fed up with being pulled back and obstructed and also the victim of a punch himself,  threw a hay maker at centre Steve Thomas who went down pole-axed. He then got up after Brown had received his red card on 24 mins. Neath No 6 Lee Evans was then yellow carded after another minor dust-up on 26 mins. Full credit to Newport who battled on with wing David James going close. Dan Griffiths kicked his 2nd penalty on 35 mins and referee Nigel Owens blew for HT on 41 mins.

With the wind and rain now getting up even more Newport had it all to do in the 2nd half. They defended magnificently and the Newport 7 battled to the end but it would finally prove to be too much of a handicap playing with only 1 flanker with hooker Mike Leaman having replaced Paul Williams. On 45 mins flanker Lee Evans got a try for Neath which was converted by Arwel Thomas. Neath pressed and pressed and only magnificent defence with captain Andrew Coombs and lone flanker Sam Waldron outstanding. No 10 Arwel Thomas landed another penalty on 59 mins having missed one on 51 mins. But it wasn’t until the 77th min that Neath finally took the lead with a penalty by Thomas. Straight from the restart Newport were given a chance only for Griffiths to push a 40 yd penalty right against the wind and rain. To their credit Newport did not close the game down and settle for a losing bonus point but it was to be their undoing as wing Kevin James raced 30 yds down the touchline to score on the 80+4th min for a flattering 21-13 win.

‘It was tough on the 14 men to surrender a losing bonus point at the end,’ said Newport head coach Sven Cronk. ‘To keep a good side like Neath at bay until the 77th minute speaks volumes for a defence that at times was heroic. But we lacked control with poor kicking, often resulting in us coming under mounting pressure. It’s always the side that makes the least errors that wins matches ­ and on the day it wasn’t Newport.’’

Neath: G King; K James, S Thomas (A Jenkins HT), W Mitchell, K Phillips; A Thomas, K Farrell; N Downs, G Price, J Reeves (E Lewis 64), N Edwards, E Evans, L Evans (P Sidoli 72), G Gravell, J Bowd.

Scorers: Tries ­ L Evans, K James and A Thomas 1c, 3p.

Newport: G Wyatt; R Owen, M J Watkins (N Williams 80+2), R Payne, D James; D Griffiths, A Walker; D Pattison (I Evans 72), A Brown, G Robinson, A Jones, D Rosser (M Workman 72), S Waldron (R Dale 77), P Williams (M Leaman 27), A Coombs (capt).. Reps not used : A Awcock, A Quick.

Scorers: Try: A Jones and D Griffiths 1 c, 2p.

Cards: A Brown (Newport) Red 24, L Evans (Neath) Yellow 26.

Referee: Nigel Owens (Pontyberem).


Official : Nigel Owens (Wales)

Neath Newport