Newport had major problems before making the tough trip to Sardis Road. No fewer than 13 players were not available due to injuries and Dragons regional call ups. They also had scum-half Ryan James at No 10, Jamie Leadbeater stand-in line and place kicker and two youngsters – Nial Martin and Hallam Amos – on the bench. Amos at 17yrs 21 days now becomes the league’s youngest ever Premier League player. To their credit, the team acquitted theirselves well and with a bit more luck and perhaps one or two decisions going their way then they may well have snatched he win at the death.
Leadbeater gave Newport the lead with a 3rd min penalty but centre Gavin Dacey broke through for a try immediately to make the score 5-3 to the home side. Gunter missed the conversion but made amends on 10 mins with a penalty. Newport came back and a nice inside slip pass from Mitch Williams sent winger Owen Broad scampering to the line. The conversion was missed for a score of 8-8. Then came a crucial score with referee Sean Brickell penalizing Newport’s scrum near their line several times and then giving a penalty try. Gunter’s conversion put home side in the lead at 15-8. Newport did not lie down in spite of their pack which was struggling in the set pieces and also continually giving away possession at re-starts and their pressure told when No 6 Sam Waldron got over for an unconverted try to make score 15-13. Ponty full-back Gareth Wyatt was yellow-carded on 29 mins but it was Ponty’s superiority in the pack in the first half that let No 8 get a push over try on 34 mins. Newport’s Dafydd Rosser was yellow carded and the resulting penalty on 39 mins increased the home side’s lead to 23-13 and this is how score stayed until HT.
Newport were first to score after the re-start when Mitchell Williams got over on 48 mins but then Ponty hooker Huw Dowden after Gareth Wyatt had launched an attack from deep. Gunter converted for a score of 30-18. Once more Newport came back and penalties from Leadbeater on 56 and 70 mins closed the score to 30-24. Newport continued to attack and in the dying minutes winger Owen Broad was just forced into touch near the Ponty line. The home side held out and the referee blew up on 85 mins. Newport would have probably settled for a losing bonus point before kick off but had some decisions gone their way then they could have come away with all 5 points.