When the Premiership split was determined, Newport’s esteemed secretary Dennis Bennett said, “It’s as if the clock had been turned back thirty years and we were reading one of our old fixture lists ” and – if the opening round is anything to go by – the “Traditional Tier” looks like being a closely fought affair.
It all got under way on Friday when Neath prevailed at Cardiff 20-9 for their fourth win of the season over the Blue & Blacks, skipper Jordan Collier and replacement Geraint Llewellyn bagging tries for the visitors and Ed Howley collecting 10 points. Gareth Thompson fired over three penalties for Cardiff.
Newport went top on Saturday with a bonus point 25-14 win at Bridgend, tries coming from Craig Attwell (2), Haydn Palmer and a penalty try with Matt O’Brien adding a conversion and a penalty. James Murphy and Chris Williams scored tries for Bridgend, Joseph Scrivens and Murphy converting.
Bargoed scored three first-half tries in an 18-13 success at Swansea whom they beat for the fifth time in six. James Hallett kicked an early penalty before three-quarters Phil Price, David Evans and Duane Dyer scored tries. Swansea countered with a try by Andrew Claypole and 8 points from Jac Wilson, his second penalty being the only score of the second-half.
Finally there was a try-less penalty shoot out in the mud of Pandy Park where Josh Prosser (3) for Keys outpointed Llanelli’s permit-player from Bonymaen Ian Brooks (2).
This week, Neath visit Llanelli on Thursday (7.30pm) and Swansea travel to Cardiff on Friday. Cross Keys play Bridgend but the Newport-Bargoed game has been put back to April 22.