by Rhys Owain Jones
With Storm Ciarán brewing in the background, the Black & Ambers were about to cause some havoc of their own.
With three consecutive wins under their belt, Newport were hoping to make that four when Pontypridd visited Newport Stadium on a wet and chilly Wednesday evening in November.
The visitors’ mixed form left them with only two wins and a draw to their name so far this campaign, with all three of their losses coming against the top three sides going into tonight’s match.
For years, Newport had found it difficult to earn results against ‘Ponty’ – they had gone almost 15 years without winning at Sardis Road, for example – however form was very much in the Black & Ambers’ favour going into tonight’s match, with Tyron Morris’ men having won all competitive clashes bar one between the two sides since the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was the visitors, however, who got the first points on the board when full-back, Josh Phillips, slotted over a very early penalty kick. After that, things went downhill very quickly as the Black & Ambers showed their true class and why they are strong contenders for end-of-season glory.
They opened their tally after the ten-minute mark when a quick Che Hope tap-and-go fed Elliot Frewen who crossed over for his second of the season and his 84th for the club overall.
Early in the second quarter, Matt O’Brien caught the defence napping when referee, Ben Breakspear, awarded his team a penalty and ‘OB’ took advantage of a golden opportunity to quickly tap and storm over to bag Newport’s second try early in the second quarter.
The third came after half an hour when some relentless pressure close to the try line eventually led to a long Carwyn Penny pass out wide to Man of the Match, Oli Andrew, who crossed over on his right wing.
Newport were a man short going into the interval after Breakspear deemed Henry Palmer to have made head contact in a tackle, however this made little difference to the hosts’ momentum.
The bonus point was secured shortly before the half-time whistle as Ioan Davies picked up the ball on his own twenty-two, chipped and chased to cause mayhem amongst the visiting defenders before Carwyn Penny received the ball via Kyle Tayler to stroll over for Newport’s fourth try of the night. Thus far, Penny had converted all four too.
HANNER AMSER: B&As 28-3 Pontypridd
Despite Pontypridd being the stronger side early in the second half, all their efforts went to waste. Whilst firmly in Newport’s twenty-two, Pontypridd were awarded penalty after penalty, running through phase after phase, all to no avail. Having camped in that area for little under ten minutes, a clumsy knock-on ended any hope of building a score to get back into the game, much to the frustration of their travelling faithful.
Newport made them pay. A monster Matt O’Brien fifty-twenty-two kick gave the Black & Ambers a lineout close to the Pontypridd five-metre line, and with a penalty awarded a few phases later, Henry Palmer’s tap-and-go saw him bulldoze over the line for his side’s fifth score of the night. Penny’s conversion attempt hit the post for what was his only fault of the match.
Pontypridd, down and out at this point, suffered a late Morgan Bosanko yellow card and could do nothing to prevent a typical Palmer catch-and-drive try to go from villain in the first half to two-try hero in the second. Then, the substitutions got their piece of the action.
In injury time, a quick Dafydd Buckland tap saw its way to Chay Foster-Smith who crossed over under the sticks before Buckland, formerly of Pontypridd, got the eighth and final try of the night after some messy defence led to the visitors playing pinball dangerously deep in their territory. Eager to take advantage, the scrum-half picked up the loose ball and got his first try of the season and one over on his former employer.
This was Newport’s biggest-ever win over Pontypridd in 107 clashes between the two sides, but the latter still have the advantage on head-to-head records since the two sides’ first meeting in 1882 (55 wins to Newport’s 49).
SGÔR TERFYNOL: B&As 54-3 Pontypridd
SEREN Y GÊM: Oli Andrew
The B&As have a ten-day respite before returning to League action on Saturday 11 November when they make their second visit of the season to the capital to face the Blue & Blacks of Cardiff.
They then head back to Newport Stadium a week later to welcome Ebbw Vale in what should be a fiery encounter between two of the best teams in the Indigo Premiership this season.
Get your tickets now at blackandambers.co.uk/tickets and get behind…