Newport Comeback Not Quite Enough

Carmarthen Quins RFC v Newport RFC 14th December 2019 by John Evans


Next up, after the defeat to a well-organised Cardiff RFC, was a visit to the furthest west destination in the Indigo Group Premiership, Carmarthen Quins. Newport have played the Quins already this season, remember, when they demonstrated how effective they have become at forward by utilising a very useful rolling maul to score two tries that helped dump Newport out of the cup in the first round.

Newport made a few changes in personnel from our last match; Jonny Morris, Tom Pascoe and Dan Partridge recovered from injury and took their place in the starting fifteen while Morgan Burgess was recalled to start among the loose forwards.

Quins 10 Steff Marshall kicked off with the home team playing towards their clubhouse end and the site of a busy Christmas fair for the kids. The kick sailed over the head of Joe Bartlett allowing the home loose forwards to roam around and reclaim possession. Ben Leung and Torin Myhill made charges, softening up the Newport defence. Newport numbered up well before Quins passed the ball back to the narrow side where flanker Lewys Millin waited. He made a line back to his right before a neat pass by home centre Osian Knott almost put Torin Myhill into space but it was judged to be forward. Newport played the ball away from the scrum, a shout from Tom Pascoe had Llywarch ap Myrddin sprint up in support before passing to Harri Lang. Lang crossed halfway before linking up with Rhys Jenkins. Tom Pascoe burst the line, taking the ball at pace but spilled it in contact.

Matt O’Brien put in a teasing kick which Jonny Morris chased down before making a terrific turnover to earn Newport a penalty. The Black and Ambers went to the corner allowing Joe Bartlett to take the ball jumping middle. The rolling maul, however, collapsed which gave Quins the scrum put-in. Quins tried to play the ball from deep but were soon turned over again. The ball whipped out to Tom Pascoe who was subjected to a high tackle. Newport played with the advantage, Luke Crane popping a splendid little pass to Harri Lang on a sweet angle. Lang broke into the 22 before Elliot Frewen took a pass and began jinking and fending for all he was worth but was stopped short. Insufficient advantage had been gained in the eyes of the referee, Mr Jason Bessant, so he brought play back for Matt O’Brien to take a shot at goal and start the scoring at Carmarthen Quins 0 Newport 3 with nine minutes played.

Quins struck back immediately. They executed a midfield turnover and began to look for gaps. Second row Josh Helps burst through before making a simple pass to centre Nick Reynolds who angled in before passing to scrum half Jon Evans to score near the posts for a simple try. Steff Marshall added the conversion to make the score Quins 7 Newport 3 on ten minutes.

Poor old Dan Partridge. If he isn’t damaging a fetlock, or trying to get his head knocked off, then it’s something else. Today it was his hand. Off he walked, lower arm in the makeshift sling that is a rolled up rugby jersey, looking like he’d damaged his wrist or hand. What rotten luck for him. Andrew Mann took his place off the bench.

A chase by Elliot Frewen made an ordinary kick into a good one as he pressured home wing Curtis Ford into knocking on. Kyle Tayler hoovered the ball up into has mitts and got Newport going again. The ball moved rapidly right but Harri Lang slipped as he took the pass. Back to the initial incident and the scrum had Luke Crane get the ball away, a miss-one move to Jonny Morris and he made a swashbuckling run through midfield before being tackled and stripped of the ball illegally. Matt O’Brien booted to the corner before Joe Bartlett managed to regain possession, despite some initial hesitance from others, before the ball worked right then left, big forwards keeping the home defenders honest, until a flick from Tom Pascoe to hooker Matt Dwyer was judged forward and the chance disappeared.

Newport shipped a 20th minute penalty when a forward joined a ruck from the side allowing Steff Marshall to boot to the corner. Quins captain Richard Bloomfield took the ball at the tail of the lineout. The rolling maul soon became a ruck as Newport powered into it and Bloomfield made the mistake of trying to make it into a maul again, instant offside, penalty to Newport. The Black and Ambers didn’t make life easy for themselves though. Newport tried to play away from the lineout but were caught again and penalised for failing to release the ball in the tackle. Steff Marshll placed his forwards back where he wanted them. Josh Helps, the Quins 4, jumped this time, but the Black and Ambers managed to fragment the rolling maul but managed to concede yet another penalty while Matt O’Brien and home flanker Lewys Millin exchanged ideas on Christmas tree decorations, or something. Jac Price, the other Quins second row, had a go this time. Matt Dwyer made a terrific effort of smashing the rolling maul himself but attracted Mr Bessant’s attention in doing so. At the fourth attempt, Quins launched a half decent rolling maul following Jac Price’s second jump. Newport made a fist of defending it but a fun-sized rolling maul of just four Quins forwards broke clear. Sadly for Newport, Torin Myhill, at the tail of this breakaway, had possession of the ball and scored another try for the hosts. Steff Marshall added the two-pointer to make it Quins 14 Newport 3 on 28 minutes.

Rhys Jenkins scavenged the ball off the ground at the restart. Matt O’Brien tried to create something for Newport but the Quins defence just offered him blind alleys to run down. He managed to get a pass away to Andrew Mann but he knocked on under pressure.

Newport won a lineout and Jonny Morris set about bustling his way up field. Elliot Frewen got close to the line, Kyle Tayler, never far away, followed up and kept the ball alive, Dan Preece converted rapier into bludgeon as he powered into the white shirts. The ball moved on to Tom Pascoe who was held up short before Luke Crane seemed to go tantalisingly close before play was halted for a knock-on and another chance went begging.

An injury time scrum, following the replacement of Quins hooker Torin Myhill, had the Quins front row collapse. Matt O’Brien added three points to Newport’s tally making it Quins 14 Newport 6 as the light faded for the afternoon and the neon of the fairground brightened.

Half Time   Carmarthen Quins RFC 14 Newport RFC 6

Matt O’Brien restarted long, kicking into the Quins 22. Quins carried the ball well before centre Nick Reynolds galloped into the Newport half. Tom Piper came away from contact with the ball as Newport looked to make a mark. Llywarch ap Myrddin tried to break the Quins line but made little distance. Matt O’Brien booted the ball to touch but Quins were able to take a quick line out. Flanker Ed Siggery ran hard and straight at the Newport defence which managed to get sucked in as space opened up on the right for fullback Dale Ford to cruise in to before feeding wing Curtis Ford to go over for a try. The conversion was missed, so the score now was Quins 19 Newport 6.

Disaster followed. Mr Bessant spotted Newport offside. Steff Marshall, with his wits about him, tried a speculative cross kick which Tom Pascoe appeared to have covered. However, Pascoe, selecting “Tony Adams” mode, tried to hoof the ball away. And missed. Quins full back Dale Ford scooped the ball up and cantered in from forty metres for the bonus point try although, in reality, it could have been scored by any one of three Quins backs. Steff Marshall added the conversion to make it Quins 26 Newport 6.

Quins were full of confidence, deservedly so, as they ripped the Newport defence apart. Home centre Osian Knott had time whilst scrum half Jon Evans had space to manoeuvre. Josh Helps carried the move on but a forward pass nullified the attack. Newport had to pull their collective fingers out or this could become embarrassing.

Tom Pascoe and Llywarch ap Myrddin were the first unenforced changes, going off for Adam Jones at centre and Haydn Simons at fullback. Lo, and behold, things began to click, not that Pascoe and ‘Larry’ were to blame for the events so far. Quins fullback Dale Ford tried to slip a pass out but it bobbled forward. Newport swallowed it up and Adam Jones, deputising at 9, spun the pass out to Matt O’Brien. It went on via Haydn Simons to Rhys Jenkins who delivered a fabulous little pop back inside to a flying Elliot Frewen who bisected the line perfectly to sprint in for a super try from halfway. Matt O’Brien added the two points that the try deserved to make it Quins 26 Newport 13 on 56 minutes.

Steff Marshall missed a straightforward-looking penalty on 59 minutes when Newport appeared to have ranged offside from the restart leaving the score as you were.

Newport were pinged again on 62 minutes for dabbling with the ball in a ruck. Quins went to the corner but overthrew the lineout allowing Rhys Jenkins to take and set up a ruck. Matt O’Brien booted long for the Quins partnership of Fords at 14 and 15 to attack. The Newport defence were up briskly and ultimately forced Quins into a knock on. The resulting scrum was strong and was improved when the Quins front row slipped. The Newport pack seemed to give the credit to replacement prop Lewis Smout for that one. Matt O’Brien punted to the corner but unfortunately Joe Bartlett was pickpocketed as he tried to set the ball into a position that Newport could attack from. Quins hoofed the ball away quickly inviting Newport to attack as the winter rain slanted through the floodlit gloom of Carmarthen Park.

Quins remained sound in defence despite Newport regularly knocking at the door. The rain hammered against the stand roof as the Black and Ambers battled both a sturdy defence and the clock to retrieve something from the game.

With 75 minutes gone, Henry Palmer made a terrific turnover on the edge of the Quins 22 and won Newport the penalty. Andrew Mann loped forward with the ball and earned a second. Matt O’Brien, spotting a half-chance, did likewise and won a third as Quins tackled him within ten inches, let alone ten metres. Newport set up camp, Louis Jones making a burst, Lewis Smout going close, Kyle Tayler closer before Mr Bessant tired of Quins infringing and sent hooker Taylor Davies to the stand to finish writing his Christmas cards. Newport opted to scrum, Louis Jones launching himself forward again in the loose, Joe Bartlett having a drive too, before Matt O’Brien spotted Harri Lang lurking out wide. He floated a pass to him while Lang ducked under the tackle and scored in the corner. Matt O’Brien added the tricky conversion to make it Quins 26 Newport 20 on 77 minutes.

Suddenly, a losing bonus point was on offer.

Newport huffed and puffed for the remainder of the game but Quins fourteen men managed to keep it relatively tight and grind out the five point win without even trying to deny Newport the very hard-earned losing bonus point. When Newport play like the last 25 minutes for an entire game, somebody is in for a shock.

We now head into the Christmas break and are without a game until we travel to Bridgend RFC’s Brewery Field on January 4th 2020. The Ravens are lurking at the bottom of the league table and will surely target our visit as the game to kick-start their season; their fire will need to be doused quickly to make sure that the ‘W’ comes back east with us!

It just remains to wish everybody a merry and peaceful Christmas from us at Newport RFC and we hope to see you in 2020 and beyond supporting the Black and Ambers!

Onwards and upwards Newport.

Your City. Your Colours. Your Club


Newport RFC Man of the Match – Jonny Morris

Final Score – Carmarthen Quins RFC 26 Newport RFC 20