WIZARDS NO MATCH FOR MAGICAL B&As
by Rhys Owain Jones
Newport return to winning ways after an impressive victory on the road against a tough Aberavon side.
The Black & Ambers made the trip to the Talbot Athletic Ground on the back a disappointing Cup and League defeat to Cardiff and Swansea respectively, as well as a two-week break to recharge.
On a sunny, but chilly, afternoon in Port Talbot, the away side were quick off the starting blocks and came close to opening the scoring within the first sixty seconds.
Ioan Davies, back in the side after a recent pre-season cameo for the Dragons, caught a high ball near the halfway line and fed Matt O’Brien then Elliot Frewen before receiving the ball again only to be stopped metres away from his first score of the season.
His side’s luck was to continue to downfall as Frewen and prop, Thomas Davies, were both forced off due to injury in the first quarter of an hour. Tom Workman deputised for Davies while Chay Foster-Smith, formerly of Aberavon, slotted into the backline earlier than planned to make his first League appearance this campaign after a two-month injury layoff.
With the penalty count significantly in the hosts’ favour during the first quarter, the visitors’ first penalty gave Matt O’Brien an opportunity to open the scoring and climb further up the club’s all-time points-scoring ladder, further cementing his place as one of the greats to have donned the famous jersey.
He converted his attempt at goal with ease to become second on the leaderboard and overtake Paul Turner. Only Dan Griffiths’ tally of 1,551 points during the first seven seasons of our semi-professional era now remains in his way to reach the summit.
With a few chances coming both sides of the field, it was Newport’s efforts that prevailed just before the 40-minute mark when Joe Westwood worked his magic to find a gap in the Wizards’ defence and dive over for his third of the season.
Aberavon did though manage a try of their own with the final play of the half when hooker Luke Davies finished a simple catch-and-drive move and closed the gap between the two sides. With the wind taking its toll, both teams’ tries failed to be converted meaning the Black & Ambers went into the break with a slim lead.
HANNER AMSER: Aberavon 5-8 B&As
The second half began with Chay Foster-Smith, familiar with the Talbot Athletic, darting along the right wing and chasing his own kick forward in dangerous territory, however a goal-line dropout became the end result.
After both sides had exchanged a penalty kick each through the boots of O’Brien and Aberavon’s James Davies, number eight Rhys Thomas earned himself a visit to the sin-bin for which the home side were soon to pay.
From a lineout on the halfway line, one impressive phase of play was all it took for the Black & Amber backline to ignite and score their side’s second try of the afternoon. With the ball eventually reaching man of the match Oli Andrew, the young Dragon fired along his wing before finding Ioan Davies who gave Jon Morris an opportunity to reach a milestone of his own.
Nine years after his two-try debut against Bedwas, Morris crossed over for his 50th try for Newport, much to the delight of the Black & Amber Wall with whom he is a huge fan favourite.
He was later to play another part in extending his side’s lead when his impressive run gained some valuable ground, flattened one of the helpless Afan defenders and gave O’Brien a decent position from which to convert another penalty kick, which he slotted over successfully.
With the hosts failing to take advantage when Nathan Evans saw a yellow card, Newport made them pay when they returned to full strength going into injury time. An Aberavon scrum on their own five-metre line resulted in a costly turnover from which a grateful Dafydd Buckland picked up the ball and touched down.
The Black & Ambers then capped off an impressive afternoon when another lineout led to a try from a single phase of play. This time it was finished by Carwyn Penny who had found a gaping gap in the home team’s defence to earn the freedom of the park and secure the bonus point.
With this win, Newport kept up their 100% record against the Wizards since the pandemic and recorded their biggest victory at the Talbot Athletic Ground since September 1998.
SGÔR TERFYNOL: Aberavon 8-31 B&As
SEREN Y GÊM: Oli Andrew
The Black & Ambers find themselves in 4th place on the Indigo Premiership ladder with a game in hand over the rest of the teams in the top six.
Next Saturday (21 Oct), they visit Carmarthen who are yet to win at the Park this season, before returning to Newport Stadium a week later (28 Oct) to welcome Merthyr.
Join the B&A Wall as we continue to represent…