What the Papers Say – Huw S Thomas reports
Copyright Huw S Thomas, and used by kind permission of Huw S Thomas

In their penultimate game of the season the Drovers went down to disappointing defeat at the hands of the Black and Ambers at Rodney Parade writes Huw S Thomas.

Despite scoring two tries in the opening exchanges, they faded in the second half before coming back with two late tries from replacements Dino Dallavalle and Richard Brooks.

Scoring four tries did get them a losing bonus point but it was scant consolation for a sub- standard performance.

The result was sweet revenge however for Newport who had gone down to a heavy 43-10 defeat at Church Bank back in December.

Team Manager Andrew Jones was in philosophical mood.
“There was an end of season feel about the match”
“Both teams were willing to play a high tempo game but unfortunately we made a lot of unforced errors which we haven’t seen from ourselves for a while.”
“The set piece was solid through the game which brought tries due to hard work especially from the tight five and at 10-5 up at the break we thought we could kick on.”
“It was then very unusual to see us miss a few first up tackles in the second half and Newport punished us.”
“We kept working till the end but our players are honest enough to know that we were way off our best today.”
“We want to finish in style next week against Aberavon and hopefully put in a five point performance to have an outside chance of finishing third.”
“We are guaranteed fourth so whatever happens the players and coaches can be very proud of that, in a season when so much was at stake”.
Conditions were perfect and both teams ready to open up at Newport’s last game of the season.

In an explosive start, Llandovery’s leading try scorer wing Aaron Warren crossed inside a minute and although fly half Matt O’Brien brought Newport level soon after, the Drovers took a 10-5 lead through a try by prop Jamie Hughes.

The early bout of scoring finished, the game became a tight affair in the warm and sunny conditions.

The deadlock was broken by the Black and Ambers in deadly fashion as the game went into its last quarter.

O’Brien was the key man in a brace of tries from forceful centre Chay Smith who was making his last appearance for the club.

And with the fly half adding both conversions Newport were suddenly clear 19-10.

Things got better for the Drovers when Brooks forced his way over, fly half Jack Maynard converting to bring it back to 19-12.

The game ended as it had started with a burst of three tries, errors abounding on both sides, but this time it was Newport who scored two of them.

Wing Jon Morris got the first before replacement prop Dino Dallavalle responded but it was replacement Tom Lucas who got the decisive try at the death to restrict Llandovery to just the one bonus point.

Newport: G O’Driscoll; J Morris, C Smith, J Wright, E Frewen; M O’Brien, G Watkin; D Preece, E Whitson, G Harris, J Bartlett, D Partridge, A Mann, K Tayler, M Reed

Replacements: M Prosser, L Smout, H Seward, J Reid, T Hoppe, T Lucas, H Simons, D Thomas.

Llandovery: G Thomas; R Williams, K Jones, R Evans, A Warren; J Maynard, D Land ; J Hughes , M Moore, B Watkins, Rhys Jones, J Jones, L Ellis-Jones, E Price, S Worrall

Replacements: D Dallavale, R Guest, L Green, B Griffiths, R Brooks, C Evans, L Rees, H Doel

Tries: C Smith (2), M O’Brien, J Morris, T Lucas
Cons: M O’Brien (4)
Tries: A Warren, J Hughes, R Brooks, D Dallavalle
Con: J Maynard

Merthyr 30 23 0 7 885 593 117
Cardiff 30 22 1 7 991 660 111
Pontypridd 30 22 0 8 1015 580 110
Llandovery 30 21 1 8 856 551 104
Ebbw Vale 30 20 1 9 762 594 95
Aberavon 30 18 2 10 698 603 90
Newport 30 17 2 11 759 700 88
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 30 14 1 15 852 650 85
Swansea 30 16 0 14 674 594 81
Carmarthen Quins 30 13 1 16 637 584 71
Bridgend Ravens 30 12 0 18 689 714 66
Llanelli 30 12 1 17 679 723 63
Bedwas 30 12 1 17 681 830 62
Cross Keys 30 5 1 24 586 1093 36
Bargoed 30 6 0 24 576 1003 35
Neath 30 1 0 29 406 1274 3