Photos courtesy of Simon Latham :
Iwan Davies,SWA writes :
Newport failed to avenge Cardiff’s 62-17 hammering of them back in September but at least they prevented their old enemy recording the double over them. To be frank, this was a bitterly disappointing derby draw that was probably the right result. It could have been the Black Friday effect, but there was a disappointingly small crowd at Rodney Parade to witness the latest chapter of this historic rivalry between the two famous clubs. It’s now sadly something of a sideshow in the grand scheme of things, thanks to regional rugby’s (not so grand) new frontier. That the game ever took place was testament to the wonderful work carried out by the ground staff. But conditions, after days of heavy rain, made for plenty of handling errors that marred proceedings.
That said, there was plenty of full-blooded commitment on show by both teams but not much for the spectators to cheer. Newport started the stronger and edged the territorial kicking game before their former Cardiff outside half Scott Sneddon drew first blood with a well struck penalty after 12 mins. But that lead was short lived when his counterpart Will Thomas brought the Blue and Blacks back on level terms with a sweetly struck drop goal. The game ebbed and flowed with little of note until the 28th minute when Cardiff’s Simon Gardiner was yellow carded, the ex-Scarlets tighthead prop sent to the sin bin for going in far too high on Sneddon in an attempted tackle. Newport failed to take advantage against the 14 men of the capital city side, their only chance of scoring came when their forwards lost the ball driving over the visitors’ try-line. And a Thomas penalty, the last kick of a quite uneventful first half, put Cardiff in a deserved 6-3 lead, the visitors’ backs sharper and more dangerous than the home side’s.
The second half wasn’t much better as both sides failed to build any momentum or pattern to their game. And the home fans weren’t shy in expressing their contempt for referee Jonathan Mason, feeling they were on the wrong end of several of his decisions. Newport were fortunate that Thomas missed two kickable penalties that would have taken them even further ahead. And it was the Black and Ambers who drew level with ten minutes to go when Sneddon kicked his second shot at goal. They could have taken the lead when a lovely midfield move saw centre Dan Robinson go through a gap in the dying minutes only for the former Pontypool man to knock the ball on in the Cardiff 22. The game fizzled out and at the final whistle most fans couldn’t possibly be blamed for erasing an eminently forgettable encounter from their memory banks.