Newport not only retained their unbeaten home record, recorded their first double of the season but they also ended a 3 match losing run at home to the Wizards but they made heavy weather if it by twice gifting tries to Aberavon.
Fly-half Jamie Davies was given a run in in the 1st min from a charged down kick from Newport full-back Gareth Wyatt. He converted for a 0-7 lead but Dan Griffiths kicked a penalty on 4 mins to make it 3-7 and then a short while later hooker Andrew Brown threw a wild long ball at the line-out and it needed a desperate tackle from Newport fly-half Dan Griffiths to stop Wizards flanker James King getting over. Newport’s line-out was certainly not at its best in the 1st half but it did get a bit better in the 2nd half. On 9 mins Newport lock Adam Frampton left the field having earlier dislocated his left shoulder. A big blow as he had already had surgery on his shoulder last season. Man of the match scrum-half Andrew Quick picked up turnover ball and made a nice move to give to right wing Ryan Owen who neatly evaded would be tacklers to get in at the corner and then run it behind the posts for Griffiths and Newport were in the lad 10-7 after 12 mins. On 20 mins Owen scored his 2nd try and it was almost an action replay of the first try with Quick being heavily involved and giving the perfect one-handed pass for Owen to evade full-back Jamie Murphy. Griffiths missed the conversion for a score of 15-10. Owen let himself down when he took a quick tap penalty and then gave away a penalty for holding on after 19 mins. He then failed to gather an up and under and the Wizards were presented with another gift try with centre Chris Tossell going over on 29 mins for Jamie Davies to miss the conversion and tie the scores 15-15 . A Chris Wannell penalty made it 18-15 on 32 mins. Aberavon scrum-half David Pritchard was yellow carded on 39 mins and the HT score was 18-15 to the home team.
Alan Awcock replaced Gareth Wyatt at full-back on HT and on 44 mins Wizard flanker was lucky not to get a red card for a vicious punch on Richard Dale who retaliated and both saw yellow from referee Hugh Watkins. Wannell added another penalty on 46 mins to make it 21-15. Newport continued to do their best to help the Wizards when flanker Paul Williams was yellow carded on 48 mins and Jamie Davies landed a penalty. Newport went on the attack and Alan Awcock was just short of the line but Andrew Quick was ther to claim a well deserved try on 55 mins. Wannell’s conversion made it 28-18. A further yellow followed on 64 mins for replacement Neil White and Paul Williams was warned but did not receive a further yellow. Instead of getting a 4 try bonus point Newport concede a penalty on 80+1 min for replacement Matthew Jarvis to get a losing point for Aberavon.The win took Newport to 2nd place in the Premier Table behind leaders Swansea who are Newport’s next opponents at Rodney Parade.
Aberavon coach Simon King was upset that Paul Williams did not get a further yellow but then Newport were surprised that Darryl Thomas did not get a red.“A bonus point went begging and we shot ourselves in the foot so many times,” said Cronk. “There was some erratic play behind and I don’t know what was going on. Defensively we were sound but we had so many opportunities to go for more tries in attack, but kept making mistakes. We were not clinical enough in the 22. We can’t fault the commitment, and that showed through in the defensive effort, but we just can’t seem to get that control. As a side we are erratic in everything we are doing. We are getting away from structure and policy, and for no reason. We were always on the crest of building up some momentum but would then make a silly error or decision and go back into a trough.When Andrew Quick scored I thought we could get some field position and get that fourth try but we failed to do that. We are disappointed with that as a group – no-one is happy in the changing-room and I think that speaks volumes.”
Newport: G Wyatt (A Awcock HT), R Owen, A Hughes, C Wannell, D James, D Griffiths, A Quick (K Barrett 73), D Pattison (D Watchurst 77), A Brown (M Leaman 65), L Hunter, A Frampton (M Workman 9), A Jones, R Dale (S Waldron 56), P Williams, A Coombs (capt).Scorers: Tries - R Owen (2), A Quick and D Griffiths 1c, 1p, C Wannell 1c,2p
Yellow cards: R Dale (44 fighting), P Williams (48/60 killing ball)Aberavon: J Murphy, C Lewis, P Bamsey, C Tossell (M Jarvis 70), S Davies, J Davies, D Pritchard (R Webb 60), L Howell (N White 27), M Breeze, A Edwards (I Poley 77), C Gittins (capt), G Ronan (I Poley 66/76), J King, D Thomas (B Thomas 56), R Gallagher.
Scorers: Tries - J Davies, C Tossell and J Davies 1c, 2p, M Jarvis 1p.Yellow cards: D Pritchard (39/51), D Thomas (44 fighting), N White (24/36).
Referee: Hugh Watkins.