Unfortunately the rugby didn’t quite
live up to the glorious sunny day but it was a typical derby with some strong
commitment and spirit shown by both sides. Vale will be pleased with their
improved performance but Newport although
always pleased to beat their neighbours will not be too pleased with what was
another sub-par performance. All too often they spilled the ball, missed
tackles and scrum-halves Barrett and Quick often received too little protection
and the ball to the backs was often not the best while on the other hand Vale
scum-half and captain Andrew Jenkins was given too much free reign. The
line-out was not the best and on top of this 14 pts were missed from place
Shaun Connor made amends for an
earlier penalty miss to give Newport the lead on
15 mins. Vale prop Marc Jones was yellow-carded on 17 mins but former Newport player Nick
Wakley playing at full-back equalized with a penalty on 22 mins. He missed a
drop goal on 29 mins but then No 10 Andrew Williams with wind behind dropped a
nice goal on 31 mins and the score stayed 3-6 until half time with injured Newport 2nd
row Mark Workman being replaced on 32 mins.
Connor kicked penalties on 44 and 47
mins but then impressive Vale full back Nick Wakley made a lovely break -
helped by two appalling missed tackles - and cantered under the posts. Newport did start to
get the upper hand helped somewhat by continued Vale indiscipline and on 58
mins prop Luke Hunter got over for a try from close range after pressure from
the Newport pack. On 67
mins Vale captain and scrum-half Andrew Jenkins who was thorn in Newport’s side
all afternoon was yellow carded for diving in at a ruck on 67 mins. On 70 mins Newport centre Scott
Williams made a superb break beating man after man and then throwing off several
tackles before passing to lock Alex Jones who cantered to the line. Once again
the conversion was missed this time by replacement Dan Griffiths. On 87
mins Shaun Connor punished Vale and robbed them of a losing bonus point hen he
kicked a last minute penalty for a final score of 22-13.
Newport head coach
Sven Cronk was pleased with the win but said “I’m not totally happy with the
way we played. I was frustrated with the first half, we couldn’t go through
more than two or three phases and we were always looking for the miracle pass.
But we were much better in the second half.”
Vale’s coaching duo, backs coach
Matthew McCarthy and forwards coach Christian Loader, were bitterly
disappointed after the game thinking that they had done enough to win.
Newport: A Awcock (D Griffiths 53),
G Wyatt, A Hughes (D James blood 84), S Williams, D James (N Williams 65), S
Connor, K Barrett (A Quick 60), I Evans ( D Pattison 48), A Brown (M Leaman
71), L Hunter, M Workman (A Frampton 32), A Jones, R Dale (D McShane 55), P
Williams, A Coombs (capt).
Scorers: Tries –Hunter, Jones, and
Ebbw Vale: N Wakley, O Halford (M
Jefferies 19/29 and N Jones 71), N Wilcox, S Powell (M Lewis 77), L Johnson, A
Williams, A Jenkins (capt), A Howells, M Williams, M Jones (M Jefferies 75), M
Amos, N Eaves, W Jones, D Quinn, R Williams (J Griffiths HT40).
Reps (not used):
D Powell, S
Scorers: Try – N Wakley and 1c, 1p. A Williams
Yellow cards:: Ebbw Vale -
Marc Jones 17/29 and Andrew Jenkins 67/77.
Referee: Nigel Whitehouse. Asst
Refs: Darren Evans and Mark Johns.