Wanderers fly half Mark Roper clears the lines.
Photographer: Alyn Humphreys
Glamorgan Wanderers 8
“We’ll be taking a close look at one or two contracts after this one” commented Director of Rugby finance Alyn Humphreys. Director of Rugby Billy James commented “The coaches put everything in place but some players don’t seem able to deliver” as another poor performance saw Newport take the psychological advantage into next week’s cup clash.
On a day that saw dismal weather and two sides with one eye on a quarter final meeting next week, the rugby could be excused for not being of the highest premiership standards. Newport began with the strong wind on their backs and they started brightly. Early pressure resulted in Wanderers infringing at a ruck and Michael Hook opened the scoring with a penalty. The visitors could not establish any possession and the Black & Ambers used the conditions to pin the Wanderers back in their own 22. After 10 minutes another ruck infringement allowed Hook to increase the lead with another penalty. Newport were building sustained pressure going through many phases and mounting several strong attacks only to find the Wanderers defence up to the challenge. The defence became more and more desperate and after a couple more infringements at rucks referee Neil Ballard sent Richie Thomas, Wanderers flanker, to the sin bin. With the numerical advantage, Newport exerted their supremacy. A scrum near the Wanderers line resulted in another Newport penalty. Nick Fitisemanu took a quick tap and crashed over in the corner for the opening try. Hook converted superbly from the touchline. As the half entered injury time the visitors finally entered the Newport 22. Pressure on a Newport lineout resulted in the home side conceding a 5 metre scrum. Aled James drove into midfield and quick ball put right wing James Thatcher over in the corner to reduce the arrears at half time to 13-5.
A poor second half began with Newport pack continuing to control proceedings. Once again early pressure resulted in the Wanderers conceding a penalty at a scrum and Dan Griffiths extended the lead to 16-5. The visitors failed to utilise the strong wind at their backs and the Newport pack controlled possession in their attempts to gain field position. The Wanderers brought on a series of replacements and their pack started to gain some possession. A series of drives nearly resulted in a try for the Wanderers pack but the referee was unsighted on the grounding. Soon afterwards a penalty conceded at a ruck allowed Wanderers Aled James to reduce Newport’s lead to 16-8. The visitors were having more of the game but numerous handling errors and a solid home side defence prevented the Wanderers from getting back into the game. Despite several good opportunities the Wanderers backs could not break through and Newport were able to take the deserved victory and psychological advantage into next weeks cup encounter.
Author: Alyn Humphreys