Neath sunk to their 12th League defeat of the season on a depressing day at Rodney Parade which was in wonderful condition after the recent rains and where the home side, playing with a rare confidence, registered six tries without reply.
Strangely all the scoring came in two bursts – one at the beginning which saw Newport levy 22 points and one at the end which saw them double their score – but Neath for all their effort (of which there was plenty) were, as the score-line implies, soundly beaten.
Neath were architects of their own downfall as their indiscipline saw them on the receiving end of a high penalty count again although one or two decisions mystified home and away followers alike.
Newport’s initial burst brought them tries by prop John Lavender, hooker Evan Whitson (fitting reward for their front-row boys !) as well as a penalty try after which the referee thwarted Luke Price’s try-threatening quick restart seemingly because Newport’s water-carriers were on the pitch ! To compound matters, they lost one of their best attackers when wing wing Ian Ellis suffered a nasty knee injury.
Neath offered – especially in the middle period of the game – with forwards Ieuan Dobbs, Alex Humfrey and Leon Ward most prominent; it was also good to see Luke Price getting through his comeback and young centre Keiran Williams made an immediate impression.
Neath lost Dobbs and skipper Tom James to yellow cards but even in attacking positions could not sustain possession long enough. Having used all the replacements, Neath were down to 14 men at the end by which time Newport had cruised away with their second 3-try salvo from centre Paul King, replacement Henry Palmer and outside-half Julian Mogg who kicked their three conversions.
Rarely can the Blacks have had blacker days and Neath can now switch their attentions to a home game against Carmarthen Quins next Saturday (2.30pm) in the Foster’s Cup and a competition in which they have at least registered a win.