Pontypridd had not won a match against Newport in South-East Wales since defeating the Black & Ambers at Rodney Parade in 2019, and that run was to continue after a comprehensive eight try to nil defeat at Newport Stadium this evening.
Ben Burnell kicked the contest off in pretty remarkable conditions considering the rain that had fallen in Newport throughout the day.
Pontypridd got the first points of the evening after a high shot on no.8 Joe Miles – a penalty was awarded and Ponty did try and throw caution to the wind with the advantage, but none came and Josh Phillips slotted an easy three points from the tee after two minutes.
The next ten minutes of play saw both teams sussing each other out going toe to toe before Newport were awarded a penalty on halfway which they kicked into touch just outside the Ponty 22. Newport secured possession and were awarded another penalty, they tapped quickly and attacked from just outside the Ponty 22 – after a few passes and some suspect Ponty tackling it was left winger Elliot Frewen that crossed for the try, Carwyn Penny added the extras and Newport led 7-3.
20 minutes had now just passed on the clock when Ponty were penalised on halfway for holding on. Newport kicked to the corner and from the lineout Pontypridd countered the initial rolling maul but were penalised for offside in the process. Newport stalwart Matt O’Brien took the quick-tapped penalty and ran through unopposed to score the home side’s second try. Penny added the conversion.
From the restart Pontypridd enjoyed their first real ‘go-forward’ spark of the match courtesy of a scintillating run from Liam Lloyd. Lloyd broke deep into Newport territory before being hauled down before the ball was spun left to Dale Stuckey, Stuckey was tackled but a couple of phases later Newport were penalised – Josh Phillips’ penalty attempt unfortunately clattered the post and Ponty were unable to reduce the deficit and the score remained at 14-3 to the home side.
Newport got their third try of the match just past the half hour mark when winger Oli Andrew crossed in the right hand corner from a long pass, this was after stoic Ponty defence had initially repelled multiple Newport phases in the away side’s 22.
Just after the Port’s third try their hooker Henry Palmer was sin-binned for a high tackle. Ponty kicked into Newport’s 22 and after a further penalty award, the away side gave away a free-kick at the lineout and another chance went begging.
Liam Lloyd again tried to spark Ponty’s attack into life and when he was tackled, the play from the resulting ruck almost saw Dale Stuckey break clear but play was brought back for a forward pass from Josh Phillips.
Newport then wrapped up the bonus point before half time when they punted the ball through into Ponty territory but nobody in grey and white could fall on and/or gather the loose ball after three or four attempts allowing the home side to capitalise, which they duly did when Carwyn Penny crashed over. He converted his own score and the home side were 28-3 up at the interval.
HALF TIME – Newport 28-3 Pontypridd
Pontypridd started the second half well and had two chances deep in Newport territory early in the second period but inaccuracies at the set piece, both scrum and lineout saw their efforts fruitless.
Ponty continued to build, determined to get themselves back into the match and spent sustained periods of time in the Newport 22 but lacked the cutting edge to get over the home side’s line for the score that could have made the difference.
Remarkably, for a match that yielded 57 points, none of them came between the end of the first half and the 72nd minute until a four-try blitz from Newport really put Pontypridd to the sword. ‘Port hooker Henry Palmer crossed for a brace of tries in the 72nd and 74th minutes either side of a Morgan Bosanko yellow card.
Newport were ruthless and hammered home their advantage with tries by Chay Foster-Smith in the 84th minute, and ex-Ponty scrum-half Daf Buckland with the last play of the match in the 86th minute.
Pontypridd now have ten days to lick their wounds and regroup before their next match against Swansea on the 11th November at Sardis Road.
FULL TIME – Newport 54-3 Pontypridd (1/11/2023)
15. Josh Phillips. 14. Liam Lloyd. 13. McCauley Rowley. 12. Ceri Morris (Kyan Lewis). 11. Dale Stuckey. 10. Ben Burnell (Joseph Scrivens). 9. Joel Raikes (Harvey Nash).
1. Ben Stephens (Gavin Parry). 2. Curtis Greenslade (Rob Jones). 3. Tom Harper (Morgan Bosanko). 4. Macauley Cook. 5. Chris Dicomidis (Mitch Barnard). 6. Kristian Parker. 7. Cai James. 8. Joe Miles (James Murphy).
Subs: 16. Rob Jones. 17. Gavin Parry. 18. Morgan Bosanko. 19. Mitch Barnard. 20. James Murphy. 21. Harvey Nash. 22. Joseph Scrivens. 23. Kyan Lewis.
Penalty: Josh Phillips
Yellow Card: Morgan Bosanko
15. Ioan Davies. 14. Oli Andrew. 13. Jon Morris. 12. Matt O’Brien. 11. Elliot Frewen. 10. Carwyn Penny. 9. Che Hope.
1. Tom Workman. 2. Henry Palmer. 3. Garin Harris. 4. Nick Thomas. 5. Josh Skinner. 6. Rhys Jenkins. 7. Kyle Tayler. 8. Ben Roach (c).
Subs: 16. Tomoya Adachi. 17. Aaron Dowse. 18. Dan Suter. 19. Josh Verrier. 20. Josh Reid. 21. Dafydd Buckland. 22. Jac Lloyd. 23. Chay Foster-Smith.
Tries: Elliot Frewen, Matt O’Brien, Oli Andrew, Carwyn Penny, Henry Palmer x 2, Chay Foster-Smith, Dafydd Buckland
Conversions: Carwyn Penny x 7
Yellow Card: Henry Palmer
Referee: Ben Breakspear
Assistant referees: 1 – Gareth Newman, 2 – Ellis Poulden
WRU Man of the Match: Liam Lloyd