The Black and Ambers played a full part in one of the most entertaining of games at Rodney Parade but lost out to an attacking and adventurous Llandovery, writes Huw S Thomas.
After the outstanding mid week win over Pontypridd, coach Sven Cronk was a disappointed man at the end of the last game of the season.
“We were carrying players who were far from full fitness but we got a wonderful start with a first minute try from wing Tom James and although Llandovery came at us strongly, we squandered some golden opportunities to put them under pressure.”
”They play attractive rugby and when we let them off the hook they punished us severely” added Cronk.
“We lacked composure at crucial times but we are excited at signing Dai Flanagan for next year and we are hoping that his experience and tactical acumen will make a big difference to us.” added Cronk
In a hurly burly of a first half the Drovers ran in four tries into the breeze with centre Craig Woodall, wing Sam Soul, fly half Ian Brooks and skipper Phil Day all obliging but both James and the prop Alex Jeffries dropped balls within sight of the Llandovery line.
James spilled a pass from skipper and lock Adam Brown and scrum half Andrew Quick looked on in disbelief as Jeffries failed to finish off another chance.
It would have made it a far closer affair and Newport had to rely on the boot of centre Geraint O’Driscoll to keep them in the hunt.
Two fine penalties and a conversion from the Premiership’s leading points scorer made it 25-13 at half time but the writing was soon on the wall for the home side.
Outstanding flanker Day was in irrepressible mood with his second well taken try but replacement prop James Greenfield went over from close range to close the gap to 32-20.
Full back Owen Broad, O’Driscoll and Dragons Academy wing Ashton Hewitt looked full of running and when Llandovery prop Greg Cunniffe was yellow carded for a dangerous tackle, the Black and Ambers sniffed a chance.
But then Woodall scythed through for his second touchdown to effectively seal the away win.
The highlight of the game was the solo effort from young Hewitt who slipped five tacklers on the way to a spectacular try under the posts only for the excellent Soul to get his second try to settle things in conclusive fashion.
Newport : O Broad; A Hewitt, G O'Driscoll, D Robinson (D Franchi 43), T James; M O'Brien (E Davies 43) , A Quick (J Leadbeater 53); D Pattison (J Greenfield 35), J Jeune, (E Whitson 68) A Jeffries (J Monck 48), Adam Brown (capt) (D Rosser 43), A Frampton, S Waldron (R Gibbon 51), O Griffiths, B Lampitt.
Tries: T James, J Greenfield, A Hewitt
Cons: G O’Driscoll (3)
Pen: G O’Driscoll
Llandovery: L Rees; S Soul, M Evans, C Woodall (N Setaro 73), W Lewis; I Brooks, G Rees; W Jones (D Williams 70), T Ball (T Davies 51), G Cunniffe (R Bloomfield 69), B Griffiths (R Catchpole 63), L Jones, P Day (capt), R Brooks , S Miles (A Jones 60)
Tries: C Woodall (2), S Soul (2), P Day (2), I Brooks
Pen: I Brooks
Referee: Justin Williams (Llangennech)
Newport Man of the Match: Geraint O’Driscoll