Newport 25 Bedwas 26
BEDWAS fly-half Richard Powell showed nerves of steel to snatch victory from Newport’s grasp at Rodney Parade.
It looked like the other number 10, Scott Sneddon, was going to be the match-winner until Dragons and Wales Under-20s centre Jack Dixon barged over in the left corner in injury time.
While his teammates congratulated the youngster Powell was already lining up the conversion – and he nailed it to condemn the Black and Ambers to a third successive defeat.
After shipping 18 tries in their three Premiership games, Newport would have wanted to show a tougher edge yet their eagerness to be physical proved to be their undoing.
They were lucky that centre Adam Davies was shown yellow rather than red for a tip tackle on Bedwas lock Kyle Maiden after 10 minutes but Dragons number eight Hywel Stoddart wasn’t so fortunate.
He was dismissed on the stroke of half-time for clearing out a ruck in the manner that saw Brian O’Driscoll’s Lions tour ended by New Zealand’s Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu in 2005. It was to cost the Black and Ambers.
Newport’s cards aside, the first half was a forgettable affair.
The visitors, with Dixon a class act in midfield, probably edged it but the scores were level at 6-6 approaching the break.
Then came Stoddart’s red, just as Newport were piling on the pressure in the Bridge Field outfit’s 22.
Yet that blow spurred the Black and Ambers into life and the 14 men went into the break 13-6 up thanks to a slick move that ended with wing Alan Awcock crossing down the right.
Newport led 19-11 entering the last half hour thanks to a Sneddon brace either side of a try by Powell after a neat break down the left.
The 10s continued their duel with a penalty apiece and it was 22-19 when a magnificent break by Bedwas replacement Ethan Davies was finished off by Ross Wardle.
It seemed that Sneddon was going to have the final word when he took his personal haul to 20 points on 80 minutes but there was still time for the other number 10 to be the hero.
Newport scorers: try – A Awcock; conversion S Sneddon; penalties – S Sneddon (6) Bedwas scorers: tries – R Powell, R Wardle, J Dixon; conversion – R Powell; penalties – R Powell (3)