Ponty were rewarded for early persistence in their opponents’ twenty-two as outside half Diggy Bird stroked over a penalty. A long distance kick and chase instigated by Joel Raikes gave the home team further momentum in a game that was fast and loose although with both sides committing unforced errors.
Newport spurned a kick at goal to aim for touch and made the most of their opportunity, hooker Matt Dwyer burrowing over from the resultant line-out drive. In contrast Ponty, with the wind at their backs, decided to go for the posts from their penalty awards, Bird successful with two attemps. The Ponty pivot was also kicking effectively for position and territory, his side battling for possession in the loose and sometimes offering a threat out wide.
The first half ended in a hailstorm, Newport launching an opportunist high kick and chase for lock Andrew Mann to claim a touchdown, converted by Matt O’Brien to give his side a 9pts to 12 interval lead.
The visitors’ cause received a setback soon after the restart as winger Elliott Frewen was dispatched to the sin-bin but Ponty struggling to take any advantage, with Bird missing a penalty attempt as then did his opposite number O’Brien. The game was looking typical of a contest coming after a long lay-off, both sides making mistakes with the referee’s whistle prominent and the standard of play poor.
The home team’s kicking game had deteriorated and their opportunities to run coming few and far between. It was Newport who again showed a killer instinct having pressed into the home twenty-two and launching a line-out drive, centre Tom Pascoe the unlikely claimant of a try under the pile of bodies. Ponty’s response was immediate as Ben Jones hoisted over a penalty, but their subsequent attempts to chase an unlikely winning score coming to nothing, despite Newport having winger Frewen shown a second yellow, but holding out to claim a 12pts to 17 victory from a below par encounter.
15.Ben Jones. 14.Alex Webber. 13.Alex Knott (Ioan Evans). 12.Dafydd Lockyer – cpt. 11.Dale Stuckey. 10.Diggy Bird (Morgan Richards). 9.Joel Raikes (Tom Rowlands).
1.Huw Owen (Ben Stephens). 2.Nathan Huish (Rhydian Jenkins). 3.Morgan Bosanko (Curtis Hicks). 4.James Murphy (Kyle Evans). 5.Chris Dicomidis. 6.Lloyd Evans (Sean Moore). 7.Sion Parry. 8.Kristian Parker.
Pens: Bird (3, 18, 30); Jones (74)
15.Geraint O’Driscoll. 14.Harri Lang. 13.Jon Morris. 12.Tom Pascoe. 11.Elliot Frewen. 10.Matt O’Brien. 9.Luke Crane (Geraint Watkin).
1.Lewis Smout (Dan Preece). 2.Matt Dwyer (Jamie Jeune). 3.Louis Jones (Garin Harris). 4.Andrew Mann (Josh Reid). 5.Joe Bartlett. 6.Rhodri Jones (Morgan Burgess). 7.Kyle Tayler. 8.Rhys Jenkins – cpt.
Tries: Dwyer (13); Mann (18); Pascoe (72)
Con: O’Brien (39)
Golden Bob Man of the Match: Witheld
WRU Man of the Match: Huw Owen
Referee: Ben Whitehouse.