THINGS GO SOUTH UP NORTH
The Black & Ambers travelled up to the North Wales coast looking to bounce back after a narrow defeat at Bridgend a fortnight earlier.
Colwyn Bay was the destination to meet Rygbi Gogledd Cymru (RGC) 1404, five months later than planned with the original tie postponed as a mark of respect for Her Majesty The Queen.
Newport were looking to secure the double over the Gogs this season having won the reverse “home” fixture at a very wet and muddy Bedwas in January. Thankfully, the conditions were much better for this tie.
The away side had won the previous two encounters at the newly-named Stadiwm CSM, and it was the away side who started the better.
With less than five minutes on the clock, Garin Harris came close to opening the scoring, before further pressure took the Black & Ambers again within inches of a five-pointer. Both efforts, however, were undone by a defiant RGC defence and some costly penalties.
With Newport enjoying the most territory, it was the home side who took the lead with a Dion Jones penalty kick a quarter of an hour into the game.
Soon after, the B&As took the lead with a catch-and-drive move ended by Henry Palmer for his sixth try of the season, beating his previous personal best in a season. Geraint ‘GOD’ O’Driscoll took on the kicking duties and slotted over the extras.
Injuries have battered the Black & Ambers this season, and things were to get even worse. Elliott Ferriman’s terrible luck continued when he limped off early with a knee injury, before Ewan Rosser’s impressive debut came to an abrupt end with a suspected broken ankle. We send both players our best wishes for a speedy recovery.
With Rosser’s injury came an opportunity from the bench for Tom Richards, the summer signing from Glamorgan Wanderers who was to make his long-awaited first appearance in the famous jersey. Incredibly, five minutes later, he crossed over with his very first touch of the ball, marginally touching down on the right wing and earning a thumbs up from assistant referee, Elgan Williams.
With another ‘GOD’ conversion in the bag, Newport were 11 points ahead and looking reasonably comfortable going into the break, but the deficit quickly turned. Two simple catch-and-drive moves finished by Number 8, Jordan Jones, and a further Dion Jones boot, gave the hosts a slim advantage at the interval.
HANNER AMSER: RGC 1404 15-14 B&As
Both teams began the second period with decent chances of their own, but it was the Joneses of RGC who made their efforts count after 50 minutes: Dion fed Delwyn who tore through the opposition defence, before scrum-half, Evan, was presented the ball to complete an impressive phase of play.
The Gogs were eight points ahead at this point and further chances were to come their way. Their ever-dangerous captain, Afon Bagshaw, took advantage of some fragile defending to race down his wing and gain some valuable territory. He then came close to finishing a Dion Jones cross-kick move but failed to keep the ball in play.
The B&As replied with a few glimmers of hope which were unfortunately undone by costly errors in the form of crooked lineouts, knock-ons and more poor discipline, surely infuriating Tyron Morris and his coaching staff.
The game seemed to be over heading into the final five minutes when winger Rhys Tudor broke through a tackle to touch down under the sticks, thus becoming the first non-Jones scorer of the afternoon for the hosts. Dion Jones kept up the ‘Jones’ tally however to extend his side’s lead to 15 points.
Captain, Ben Roach, grabbed a late try for the ‘Port after a quick tap and run saw him spinning through the black & gold wall in defence. Matt Bancroft’s conversion and first points for the club offered the visitors a chance of securing a losing bonus point heading into injury time.
However, when exciting Dragons youngster, Cameron Davies, ripped through the North Walians on one end of the field, an interception soon saw Afon Bagshaw sprinting down the left wing towards the other.
Dafydd Buckland, at this point covering outside-half, heroically sped back and stopped him in his tracks, but RGC debutant Osian Birt was on hand to stroll over under the posts, much to his and his supporters’ delight. Morgan Bagshaw’s boot finished off an impressive win for former Newport prop, Ceri Jones, and his Rygbi Gogledd Cymru side.
SGÔR TERFYNOL: RGC 1404 36-21 B&As
The defeat sees the Gogs leapfrog Newport into 6th place, with the B&As’ next encounter coming against another close rival in the table, namely Swansea who currently occupy 8th spot.
We’re looking forward to welcoming back the Black and Amber Wall for this match against the Whites next Saturday (18 February, 2.30pm) in what will be our first match at Newport Stadium this calendar year.
Bring your voice for Your City, Your Colours, Your Club.