2005/2006 Principality Premiership
Newport 9 v 19 Neath
08 October 2005 - Rodney Parade, Newport

Match Report

Newport 9 Neath 19 : Welsh Premier League

Neath were the last side to win at Rodney Parade when current Neath coach Rowland Phillips ran over for a late try to clinch a 27-25 victory way back on Feb 4th 2003. Since then Newport had won 39 consecutive matches – 36 in the League and 3 in the Cup including a 100% record at semi-professional level.. Neath had to defend heroically, while centre James Hook held his nerve to kick the penalties that mattered in a 14pt haul. Neath and Newport have been trailblazers at this level since the Premiership was introduced back in 2003, and both sides have relished the clashes. "You only had to look at the faces of our players at the final whistle to realise what this win meant," said Neath coach Phillips. "We knew what was expected of us, and the players stuck to the match plan." Newport coach Dai Rees, while disappointed to see the record come to an end, congratulated the Blacks. "In the end, there were two sides out there who were afraid to make mistakes, and there was a certain spark missing. Our home record had to go at some time, and there is no better team than Neath to take it." The wet conditions seemed to put a dampener on proceedings and the game lacked the intensity of past encounters. Captain Steve Martin, part of Newport's championship winning side of 2003/04 before returning to Neath, led from the front, No 8 Daniel McShane worked tirelessly while half-backs Patrick Horgan and Arwel Thomas used their many years of experience. Newport more likely to score tries but when they got close to the line they were met with a stubborn defence and could find no way through despite the efforts of centre Richard Payne, full-back Daniel Griffiths and forwards like Mark Workman, Matthew Veater and Rhys Jones. The opening half resulted in a penalty apiece - a 7th min kick from Newport fly-half Aled Thomas matched 7 mins later by Hook. Newport raised their work rate on the resumption and gained another Thomas penalty. They clung to a tenuous 6-3 lead until the hour when Neath began to gain useful field positions resulting in centre Hook placing 3 pens to put Neath 12-6 ahead by the 68th min. Newport kept in touch with a third Thomas penalty and it remained that way until the third min of injury time when Aled Bevan won the race to a loose ball inside the home 22. He switched to fellow centre Hook, who laid on a league debut try for last season's Wales U-19 capt Jonathan Spratt.

Official : Neil Ballard (Wales)

Newport Neath