After a narrow defeat last Saturday at the hand of our old enemy, the Black & Ambers got back to winning ways and kept their 100% home record intact with a 22-17 win over Bedwas.
Craig Warlow’s men had a convincing win last time out at Rodney Parade and the visitors were still looking for their first victory of the season having lost to strong opposition in each of their games. This wasn’t going to be easy.
Before the game, both teams observed a minute’s silence for three former B&A servants: Ray Cheney, part of the 1963 side who famously took down the All Blacks, Haydn Mainwaring who served as both a player and a member of the committee, and Gordon Keeley who played during the 1950s and was a huge supporter of the Friends of Newport Rugby Trust. All will be sadly missed.
With the sun shining over the city of Newport and the theatre of dreams, it was the home side who opened the scoring. Having had a couple of penalties in kicking territory, the B&As opted for the try on both occasions, and got their reward after a quick tap which saw winger Jon Morris cross over in the corner. Matt O’Brien added the first of his 7 points.
The Bridgemen had their chance to respond when Dai Evans intercepted a Newport attack and raced 50 metres down the left wing, destined for the try line. Then came Kyle Tayler. His crunching tackle stopped Bedwas’ new signing in his tracks and won the B&As a penalty, much to the delight and appreciation of the Rodney Parade faithful.
The only reward for their first quarter attacks was a Jacob Chilcott penalty to reduce the gap to a short-lived 2 points, before pressure from Newport got themselves a second try. Another tap and go in the Bedwas 22 sent Henry Palmer close to grazing the post pads before ‘captain fantastic’, Rhys Jenkins, ploughed over from a subsequent scrum V.
The B&As were looking comfortable, Bedwas were making mistakes and the chances were coming. A poor lineout from the away side led to a quick passing attack before Morris dropped the ball, but try number 3 soon prevailed. Tom Pascoe broke through the fragile defence and gave the ball to Elliot Frewen, who would do nothing but race down the wing then casually stroll to the middle of the sticks to touchdown.
Bedwas responded quickly when, again, Dai Evans caused problems for the B&As’ defence and put in Kane Teear-Bourge for his first try for the club. Bedwas then held out another Newport attack late in the first half to keep both teams just 9 points apart.
HALF TIME: B&As 19-10 Bedwas
The first 10 minutes of the second half proved eventful for Josh Skinner. After a superb grubber kick to touch from Matt O’Brien, the subsequent lineout on Bedwas’ 5-metre line saw Skinner collecting the ball at the back and heading for the bonus point try before needlessly passing the ball to his teammate forcing a knock-on.
Knock-ons seemed to be commonplace in this encounter and another Newport chance was squandered as a result. Skinner was gifted the ball again after a poor clearance kick from the oppenents, after which he ran forward and fed Chay Smith, who this time was guilty of the error.
Skinner then rounded off the first 10 minutes of the half with a trip to the sin bin accompanied by his opposing blindside flanker, James Richards. Both were involved in a scuffle which included a couple of punches which could well have seen during Anthony Joshua’s bout last night.
O’Brien scored Newport’s only points of the half with a simple penalty in front of the posts before Bedwas reacted and came close to scoring a second try of their own. A lineout in the B&As’ 22 led to a drive from the forwards whose opposite numbers did enough to stop the attack and force a Newport scrum on their own 5-metre line.
A good chance then came the B&As way when the ball was quickly spread out through the backs, including Man of the Match Joe Bartlett who produced a cheeky little dummy to fool the defenders, but Morris’ strength was insufficient and the winger was tackled into touch.
With Newport still seeking a bonus point, chances were coming thick and fast, but so were the mistakes. Knock-on after knock-on saw their opportunities squandered, frustrations heightened and opportunities to get back into the game handed to their opponents.
A yellow card for substitute, Will Evans, late in injury time gave the visitors a golden chance to get a losing bonus point themselves, and they got their reward when scrum-half Luke Crane, once on Newport’s books, crossed over with the last phase of the game.
FINAL SCORE: B&As 22-17 Bedwas
That’s 3 Premiership wins out of 4 now for the Black & Ambers this season who currently sit in 4th place. Next up (Sun 30 Sep) is a trip down west to face Llanelli who, like Bedwas, are also looking for their first win of the campaign. There will be a supporters’ bus heading to Parc y Scarlets for this one; get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your place!
Then we’ll be back on Parade a week later (Sun 7 Oct) to welcome the wizards of Aberavon who currently sit 2 places below the B&As. This will now be played on Sunday afternoon rather than the previously advertised Friday night.
SEREN Y GÊM: Joe Bartlett