A resolute Aberavon defence held Newport at bay in the second half and the Wizards took a 3-1 lead on try-count, writes Howard Evans, Wales Online. In a game marred slightly by a blustery wind, the sin-binning of Newport hooker Andrew Brown saw the Wizards power their way to two tries in that period. Last season Newport had edged the opening day contest, but they made too many errors this time and only once got over the home line.Newport made early handling errors and it was Aberavon put the first points on the board when Chris Morgans tapped a kickable penalty and ran wide.Wing Stefan Andrews cleverly threw inside and fly half Aaron Jones from Taibach, on his league debut, who crossed the line. A Jones penalty took it to 8-0 but Newport responded as the kick ahead by Ethan Davies fell to flanker Sam Waldron, who ran well to score between the uprights and Geraint O’Driscoll converted.
That was as good as it got for Newport and when hooker Andrew Brown was yellow-carded, Aberavon’s pack took command to score tries in the 39th and 45th mins. First it was loose-head prop Rowan Jenkins who burrowed his way over and then flanker Nathan Brown was driven by the entire pack for the third home try. At 21-7 there was 35 mins left but Newport were spilling the ball and Aberavon’s tackling appeared to upset the visitors’ rhythm. Surprisingly, it was Newport who had lion’s share of possession in the final quarter but O’Driscoll missed a penalty and then threw a wild pass when a try seemed certain. When veteran Ian Moore was injured Newport started to gain lineout but fly half Davies was often cut off from his centres and Aberavon’s defence held firm.
Aberavon : P Bamsey, M Powell (A Collins 80), R Thomas, W Price, S Andrews, A Jones, C Morgans (D Davies 68), R Jenkins (N White 62), I Davies, A Cltaworthy © (A Edwards 71), G Ronan (S Williams 55), I Moore (E Yardley 68), L Purnell, N Brown (C Davies 55), B Thomas. YC : B Thomas 59/70). Scorers : Tries – A Jones, R Jenkins, N Brown and A Jones 2p
Newport : G O’Driscoll, O Broad (T James 68), D Robinson, D Franchi (T Morgan 55), E Davies, A Quick (J Leadbeater 55), N Williams (D Pattison 49), A Brown (D Rogers 47), A Jeffries (G Robinson 49), D Rosser (A Frampton 47), Adam Brown, I Jones, S Waldron (D Rogers 41/B Lampitt 65), L Beach ©. YC : Andrew Brown 37/47. Scorers: Try – S Waldron and G O’Driscoll 1c.
Newport MOM : L Beach.
Referee : Wayne Davies