Newport Man of Match : Jonathan Morris
Photos courtesy of Simon Latham :
The Black and Ambers went down to yet another defeat at the hands of the Drovers who have now won six and drawn one of last seven games between the clubs since April 2011 writes Huw S Thomas, SWA
Both sides had been out of league action for a month and looked game rusty for a long time in this Premiership clash at Church Bank. Newport still languish in the bottom reaches of the table and with two away games to come at Cross Keys and Aberavon life promises to be far from easy for Sven Cronk and his men. Of equal concern to both Llandovery and Newport was the erratic and unbalanced nature of this year’s league programme.
Llandovery chairman Handel Davies bemoaned the current disarray over the Premiership fixture list in a hard hitting programme address which must have made informative reading for watching WRU chairman Gareth Davies.
He said: “The parent body must review such ridiculously lengthy interruptions as currently exists for the eight Premiership teams that do not participate in the British and Irish Cup.It is having a serious effect not only on the players and their performance but also on the loyalty of supporters, whose habit has always been to watch their team play home and away on alternate weekends. With no fixture for a month, our income generation and cash flow has been non-existent and I would call on the Union to find an urgent solution before next season to protect the financial interest of clubs.”
There were a handful of Scarlets to bolster the home effort and a good start saw James Garland put the Drovers ahead with a first minute penalty. Newport looked to have scored a try when No 8 Sam Cross intercepted a pass from opposite number Richard Brooks but referee Brickell disallowed it for an earlier Newport infringement. But two penalties from full back Geraint O’Driscoll against one from Garland tied it up 6-6 at the end of the first quarter. The Drovers looked the sharper behind the scrum but were let down by some loose passing and it was No 8 Richard Brooks who took them into the lead with a try from a close range line out, converted by Garland. The fly half kicked his third penalty on the stroke of half time to take the Drovers into a 16-6 lead.
Some sound tackling led by skipper Ollie Griffiths kept Newport in touch but O’Driscoll missed a long range penalty. Llandovery’s handling continued to disappoint but a kick from scrum half Lee Rees and kind bounce gave Garland the chance to pick up and race over in the corner. A red card for foul language for Jamie Murphy cost Newport an immediate try scored by full back Gareth Owen, converted by Garland and with the Black and Ambers in disarray replacement wing Richard Williams crossed for the bonus point try, converted by another replacement in Ian Brooks.