P30 W12 D3 L15 : F681-A824 (Tries 75)
Premier League Record : P22 W8 D2 L12 F466–A588 (Tries 49)
Swalec Cup : P2 W10 L1 F109-A31 (Tries 14-4)
B&IC : P6 W3 D1 L2 F106 A205 – R/U Pool 4 – (Tries 11)
Premier League : 7th place
Capt : Gethin Robinson
The Management had a change in philosophy and decide to sign more “Newport only” players and become less dependent on Dragon regional players. The previous season had proved to be a disaster with Newport and Dragons suffering numerous injuries resulting in limited player availability. The new signings included Adam Davies, Rhys Downes, Craig Everett, Tom Hancock, Will Hodnett, Jamie Jeune, Rhodri Jones, Brendan Lampitt, John Lavender, Geraint O’Driscoll, Ryan Prosser, Will Richards and Jamie Sullivan. 5 of these were from relegated Pontypool RFC as were the returning Andrew Quick, Dan Robinson and Craig Attwell.
Long serving prop Gethin Robinson took on the captaincy role and coaches Sven Cronk, Dai Gray and Jon Bryant continued for the 5th successive season. It was to prove yet another disappointing season and turned out to be what might have been. 52 (+6 rep dnp) players were used compared with 50(+3) the previous season and 27 players made their debuts compared with 23 in 2011/2.
Injuries again cost Newport dear including key players Scott Sneddon (broken arm), Dan Robinson, Gethin Robinson, Sam Waldron (broken arm) and Adam Frampton. Also costly were some appalling match official decisions with Newport having 3 cards rescinded on appeal – Bridgend (H&A) and Pontypridd (A). This proved of little consolation as all 3 matches were lost when they should have been won. In fact Newport were cruelly robbed of the double over runaway leaders Pontypridd at Sardis Rd when they were certainly the better side. The B&A’s inflicted the only league defeat on Pontypridd with a nail biting 20-19 win at Rodney Parade.
All too often Newport got theirselves into a winning position only to blow it and fail to close out the game. Too many matches were either drawn or lost by a few points – many near the end or in stoppage time. Had Newport not have squandered so many points then they could well have got theirselves into one of the Top 3 play-off spots. There were some highlights – doubles over Cross Keys (PPL / BIC), Neath (PPL) – only 2nd time since leagues began in 1990, Carmarthen Quins (PPL) – including a scintillating 74-33 win – 10 try – at Rodney Parade and Connacht Eagles in British & Irish Cup. Once again Newport proved to be a tough side to beat in the B&IC. They put up a very good performance against runaway English Championship leaders Newcastle Falcons at Rodney Parade (only to suffer a record 93-0 defeat away), a win and draw over local rivals Cross Keys and a double over Connacht Eagles which include a sensational comeback by the B&A’s in Athlone. Newport were 3-22 down at HT but came back to win 27-25 in the last match of the season and give some hope for a better season in 2013/4.
Newport beat Championship side Bonymaen 95-14 in the Swalec Welsh Cup. Newport’s record win is 96-0 when they ran in 18 tries against Penarth on 1984/5 and with the try only counting 4 points in those days it was in effect a score of 114-0. However the win over Bonymaen was a record score for Newport in the modern cup beating the score of 80-0 vs Resolven in 1976/7 but interestingly they ran in 16 tries – again only 4 point tries – on that day. However there is one new record to go into the books that of No 10 Tom Hancock who converted 11 of the tries for an all time Newport record. This beat Leighton Davies’ 8 conversions vs Resolven in 1976/7. Dan Robinson ran in a hat-trick of tries and joins 15 other players who have done this in the Welsh Cup for Newport but Laurie Daniel (5) vs Cwmllynfell 1971/2, Mark Morris-Jones (5) vs Resolven 1976/7 and Steve Willis (4) vs Neyland 1976/7 head the list. Newport then went out of the 2012/3 competition with a truly appalling display against bottom of the league side Swansea at Rodney Parade when a win would have given them a home draw against Aberavon.
Elliot Frewen was “Players’ Player” who was top try scorer for Newport and also joint in Premier league. Time and again he showed class with his speed and elusive running. He scored a sensational match winning try at Carmarthen Quins when he intercepted and ran 90 metres beating 3 would-be tacklers in the process.
Geraint O’Driscoll was deservedly “Coaches Player”. He filled in admirably at full-back, centre and No 10 and took over the place-kicking from Sneddon and Hancock to accumulate 102 pts in the season.
Academy players Alex Jeffries (a very promising tight-head), Ashton Hewitt, Tyler Morgan (try scoring debut) and Ollie Griffiths all won Wales age group honours. Interestingly Alex was too young at 17 to play at prop in B&IC earlier in the season but on his 18th birthday he was in the winning side at Athlone vs Connacht Eagles when he cam on as a rep.
Newport finished a disappointing 7th out of 12 in the Premier League – a 41 % record averaging 2.2 tries / match – but it was an improvement on the previous season where they finished 11th out of 14 with a 35% record but with a slightly better try average of 2.4 / match.
Leading scorers :
Scott Sneddon 129 pts (from 19 games)
Geraint O’Driscoll 102 pts
Tom Hancock 90 pts
Elliot Frewen 14 (with 12 in Premier league and joint top Premier try scorer with Jason Harries of Carmarthen Quins)
Alan Awcock 7
Dan Robinson 7 (from 12 games)
Apps (Max 30 ) :
Elliot Frewen 29
Geraint O’Driscoll 29
James Leadbeater 28
Craig Attwell 25.
Award Winners :
Community : Rhys Jenkins
Mascots : Sam Waldron
Players’ player : Elliot Frewen
Coaches’ player : Geraint O’Driscoll
Clubman of Year : Kev Jarvis of FoNR
Special Award : Mike Sage
Vile Award : Adam Frampton
Newport’s record win is 96-0 when they ran in 18 tries against Penarth on 1984/5 and with the try only counting 4 points in those days it was in effect a score of 114-0. However it was a record score for Newport in the modern cup an beat the score of 80-0 vs Resolven in 1976/7 but interestingly they ran in 16 tries – again only 4 point tries – on that day. However there is one new record to go into the books that of No 10 Tom Hancock who converted 11 of the tries for an all time Newport record. This beat Leighton Davies’ 8 conversions vs Resolven in 1976/7.Dan Robinson ran in a hat-trick of tries and joins 15 other players who have done this in the Welsh Cup for Newport but Laurie Daniel (5) vs Cwmllynfell 1971/2, Mark Morris-Jones (5) vs Resolven 1976/7 and Steve Willis (4) vs Neyland 1976/7 head the list.