Richard Thomas was in outstanding form against Newport
Photographer: Alyn Humphreys
Glamorgan Wanderers 29
“Those, in recent weeks, who doubted our ability to be part of Wales’ top flight will have to take notice” commented manager Darren Joy as the Wanderers made history at the Memorial ground reaching their first ever cup semi-final.
A bright but cold afternoon and a strong breeze greeted the teams for this quarter final clash. Newport had the wind on their backs in the first half and in the first minute an offside from an up and under gave the visitors a chance to open the scoring but a penalty chance went wide. Very soon they were on the attack again and a driving lineout was illegally halted by the Wanderers. Newport opened the scoring with a penalty. The home side showed their intent on their first real possession by moving the ball wide and taking play up to the Newport 22. The Wanderers scrum was under early pressure but quick ball got the backs in motion. A long pass in midfield put Jamie Jones away. He chipped over the defence and outpaced the cover to dive on the ball and register the Wanderers first try. James Thomas missed with the conversion but the home side had the lead 5-3. Newport were straight back on the attack using their powerful pack to set up attacking positions but the Wanderers defence showed why it has been so miserly in the cup this year and the visitors were reduced to taking a drop goal to regain the lead 5-6. The home side continued to show the greater adventure but the Newport defence was able to use the wind to keep the play in the Wanderers half. Back came the home side with Scott Andrews and Nick Kelly taking the play to Newport but the visitors defence once again held firm. After 25 minutes a missed touch clearance by Newport allowed Jamie Jones to attack. After kicking ahead he was late tackled and James Thomas stepped up to put the Wanderers back in front 8-6. Newport were finding the Wanderers defence impossible to crack and the home side were slowly getting on top. A lineout on the Wanderers 10 yard line provided untidy ball. Harry Trelawny cleared up and Huw Dowden set up a ruck. Again the Wanderers moved the ball and Ricky T crashed through in midfield. He galloped 50 metres outpacing the defence only to be pulled down 5 metres short. Support was on hand and Mark Roper crashed over for the try of the game. Thomas missed the conversion but there was daylight between the teams at 13-6. Newport came back again driving around rucks and mauls but great covering especially from Sam Warbuton who was getting through a huge amount of work prevented any danger. Newport did reduce the arrears with a penalty and another well taken drop goal but just before half time another James Thomas penalty sent the teams in at half time at 16-12.
With the use of the wind in the second half the home side were able to restrict the Newport chances. An early Newport penalty chance went wide and after declining another shot at goal soon afterwards the visitors were thwarted by the Wanderers lineout stealing possession and preventing any driving play. All attempts to assault the Wanderers line were proving futile and the home side were able to break out of their own 22 and take play back deep into the Newport half. A drive into midfield set up another good position for the Wanderers and Newport infringed allowing Thomas to kick another penalty and extend the lead to 19-12. That lead was further extended a couple of minutes later when a kick ahead caught out the Newport defence and they held on to the ball to prevent Wanderers regaining possession. Thomas kicked his fourth penalty and the lead was 22-12. Newport were chasing the game and their pack set up two real scoring chances only to see poor handling let themselves down with the Wanderers line at their mercy. Wanderers, down to 14 following the sin-binning of Craig Morris established good field position. Newport were penalised at a ruck and another yellow card saw both sides with 14 men. As the game entered injury time an impressive Wanderers scrum handed the ball to Sam Warbuton who rounded off his man of the match performance by gathering the ball and charging 25 metres to score in the corner. Thomas converted. The home side survived a late Newport rally and the sin-binning of Jamie Jones and they were on their way to the semi- final with a deserved 29-12 victory.
Author: Alyn Humphreys