Both teams knew that this would be a close fought match - none more than the visitors who have not found Pandy Park to be a happy hunting ground in recent years. Following their excellent win against Connacht Eagles it was much of the same with another workmanlike performance but it wasn't all plain sailing. They scored first on just 4 mins as Craig Attwell darted over and then on 12mins with Keys scrum under pressure were awarded a penalty try for a 12-0 lead but they let a 12-0 and a 15-3 lead slip and only went in at HT 15-13 up as they lost their heads and control of the match for a while and a yellow card for Rhodri Jones on 36 mins cost 7 points as they were forced to concede a penalty try.
In the 2nd half after Scott Sneddon increased the lead to 18-13 on 48 mins they allowed Keys wing Elliot Jones to gather a kick through and touch down in the corner. Dorian Jones converted to put Keys ahead for the first time at 20-18. After hitting an upright with a penalty on 53 mins Sneddon was successful on 58 mins and a further kick on 75 mins meant that Keys needed a try to win. Newport held out and referee Ross Campbell blew up on 80+3 mins.
Anthony Lott , Garry Horrigan , Craig Gould , Danny Hodge , Ollie Hodge , Rhys Peebles , Nick Cudd , Adam Powell , Ryan James (c), Dorian Jones , Nathan Trowbridge , Gerwyn Price , Nathan Williams , Elliot Jones , Gareth David
Reps: James Johnstone for Craig Gould (51), Tom Lampard for Rhys Peebles (59), Dean Gunter for Dorian Jones (63), Jonathan Lewis for Nathan Trowbridge (70). Dnp : Marc Jones, Scott Matthews.
Tries: Penalty Try (39), Elliot Jones (50) Cons: Dorian Jones (40, 51) Pens: Dorian Jones (21, 32)
Jamie Jeune , Andrew Brown , Tim Ryan , Rhodri Jones , Adam Frampton , Ieuan Jones , Craig Attwell (c), Ross Coombs , Andrew Quick , Scott Sneddon , Alan Awcock , Will Richards , Geraint O'Driscoll , Elliot Frewen , James Leadbeater
Reps: Lance Randell for Rhodri Jones (51), Rhys Downes for Andrew Quick (66), Sam Waldron for Lance Randell (77). Dnp : Dale Rogers, Dan Matthews, Will Hodnett, Tom Hancock
Tries: Craig Attwell (4), Penalty Try (12) Cons: Scott Sneddon (13) Pens: Scott Sneddon (23, 48, 58, 75). Yellow Card: 36: Rhodri Jones.
Referee: Ross Campbell (England)
The win keeps Newport second in the Pool with Newcastle top - they also have 2 wins from 2 games.
This was Newport's 100th win against Cross Keys since fixtures began back in 1910. The record now stands at : P144 W100 D16 L28.
Photos courtesy of Ron Sutcliffe and Simon Latham :
Iwan Davies, SWA writes :
NEWPORT avenged Keys’ double over them last season in an entertaining British & Irish Cup Gwent derby that went right down to the wire. The Black and Ambers raced into a 15-3 lead early in the second quarter, only for the hosts to claw their way back into the game. The visitors were up after just four minutes thanks to a bizarre try.
Awarded a free kick in their own half, Newport outside-half Scott Sneddon was charged by Keys players without having tapped the ball. He passed it along the line before outstanding full back James Leadbeater tore through the Keys defence. When he was tackled short of the line, captain Craig Attwell, like all good opensides, was on his shoulder to take the pass and crash over in the corner. It was a superb try but tackling seemed only optional for many in the Keys side. And it wasn’t long before Newport were further ahead when English referee Ross Campbell awarded them a penalty try for their early dominance in the scrum. The Keys pack was under serious pressure and after two scrum fives collapsed, the official lost his patience and Sneddon slotted over the conversion to make it 12-0 after 12 minutes. It looked at this stage as though the home side, with many key players either injured or suspended, would only be trying to keep down a cricket score with Newport looking rampant. But they never lacked courage and determination and fly-half Dorian Jones’ penalty gave them hope, only for a fine monster attempt by Sneddon to wipe it out after 22 minutes. Jones was on target again with another well-struck penalty after half an hour before Keys turned the tables on Newport. After the home side had battered their opponents’ try line, Black and Ambers lock Rhodri Jones was sin-binned just before the interval. Pressing home their advantage in the scrum, it was Keys who were awarded a penalty try this time, Jones converting to pull them back to within two points of Newport at half-time, the score 15-13.
Former Keys man Sneddon, having a fine game, kicked his second penalty early in the second half before it was the hosts’ turn to show a little magic seconds later in the 48th minute. Their full back Gareth David’s chip found promising young wing Elliott Jones, who finished in style by rounding the defence to touch down in the corner. Jones’ wonderful touchline conversion gave the home side the lead for the first and only time in the game. Although the pendulum seemed to have swung in Keys’ favour, it was Newport who finished on top, victory secured by two more penalties courtesy of Sneddon, who ended the game with 14 points. Keys did launch a late attack but a determined Newport hung on for a victory they probably just about deserved. For the Black and Ambers it’s two wins from two in the competition, while last season’s finalists Keys are still looking for their first victory.
Newport head coach Sven Cronk was delighted with the win and praised his pack in particular who won every lineout on their throw, as well as pinching a few from Keys, and looked fairly solid for most of the afternoon. “It was a pleasing win – this has been a difficult place for us to come,” he said. “We are building and we always back ourselves. We’ve got a good honest group and the set piece was very good – Dai Gray (forwards coach) does a lot of work and it pays off.”
Keys head coach Greg Woods felt the better side won.
“They thoroughly deserved their win really – they started far better than we did,” he said. “We started really poorly and although we did get back into it, we failed to kick on when we took the lead and our discipline let us down.”