Newport : G O'Driscoll, J Morris, D Robinson, J Murphy, O Broad (D Franchi 62), M O'Brien (C Rees 62), O Davies (A Quick 49), L Jenkins (J Greenfield 60), W Evans (S Cross 57), A Jeffries ( J Monck 65), Adam Brown, A Frampton (D Partridge 49), S Feehan (D Rogers 45), O Griffiths (capt), B Lampitt.
Scorers : Tries - G O'Driscoll (25), D Robinson (35). Conv - O'Driscoll (26).
YC’s : Adam Brown 6/17, W Evans 45 / 57, A Quick 50/62
Newport RFC MOM : Liam Jenkins
Photos courtesy of Simon Latham and Ron Sutcliffe :
Iwan Gabe Davies, SWA writes :
Cross Keys director of rugby Jonathan Westwood hailed his half-backs Ryan James and Angus O'Brien as well as flanker Scott Matthews as having the X-Factor between his men and Newport as the 2012 finalists emerged as more than worthy victors in their British and Irish Cup play-off. Scrum-half James and outside-half O'Brien were superb, but No 7 Matthews was the real star of the show, the openside real starting to shine at semi-professional level and pushing his claim to make the step up to play for the Newport Gwent Dragons on a regular basis. Keys were full value for their win, the scoreline probably reflecting their superiority. They were helped by the Black and Ambers' indiscipline, the visitors conceding more than 20 penalties and losing three men to the sin bin, down to 13 men at one stage early in the second half.
Both sides went through the frustration of stuttering lineouts, the city side more guilty of failing to build momentum with their misfiring set-piece. Keys' director of rugby Westwood was delighted with his men, the Pandy Park side through to their fourth successive British and Irish Cup campaign. "The control we enjoyed through our two half-backs was the difference as well as Scott Matthews, who was the best player on the field," he said. "We are delighted to make it through to the British and Irish Cup. It's a competition we love and we are proud to represent Gwent in this great tournament once again. It's great for the club in terms of continuity with regards to the fixture list, as well as an important source of revenue for the club."
Newport had travelled to Keys on a high after a fine win over Bedwas last week and their talented full-back Geraint O'Driscoll admitted the high penalty count against them was a major factor in their defeat. "You are always going to struggle when you lose three men with yellow cards," he said. We are really disappointed because we gave away far too many penalties. This is a tournament we have enjoyed playing in, but we will look to bounce back now in the league."
It was a full-blooded, a Wild West opening saw punches being traded by both sides with no love lost, Keys lock Dan Hodge and Black and Ambers second row Andrew Brown both sent to the sin bin after just five minutes. Keys' exciting young outside-half O'Brien (on permit from the Dragons) put the hosts ahead with an early penalty and his side started to take control early in the game with Matthews rampant in the loose, putting in some fine runs.
Wing Nathan Trowbridge finished superbly after just over quarter of an hour when a smart inside pass by O'Brien put him in, the No 10 converting his try for a 10-0 lead. Matthews was sublime again when he helped set up a try for O'Brien with a cute cross kick which the No 10 did well to win the race for the touchdown. The fly-half converted to give the hosts a 17-0 advantage.
Newport showed how dangerous they can be given the chance with a converted try after O'Driscoll did well to gather a cross-kick from Angus' older brother Matt, playing directly opposite him as Newport's No 10. Sibling Angus took his side 20-7 up with a penalty after half an hour before the Black and Ambers hit back again with an opportunist try when centre Dan Robinson crossed for an unconverted score from a turnover to see the half end 20-12 in Keys' favour. The hosts started the second 40 well and Newport had it all to do when their hooker Will Evans was sin binned, Keys taking immediate advantage when their number eight Adam Powell showed great strength to power over from close range for their third try. The Black and Ambers were soon down to 13 men when replacement scrum-half Andrew Quick was yellow carded within seconds of coming on the field for infringing at a ruck. O'Brien slotted over two fine long range penalties within rapid succession to put the game beyond Newport, the young No 10 ending the game with 21 points to his name. The visitors tried to get themselves back into it or at least get a consolation score, but Keys' stoic defence held them out.