A HAT-TRICK by former Cross Keys favourite Nathan Trowbridge condemned Newport to a 31-28 defeat in a thriller at St Helen’s, writes Paul Hopkins.

It was a near perfect start for the Black and Ambers with Matt O’Brien kicking three penalty goals. The home side also lost Gareth Evans to the sin bin, yet they hit back with a try in the corner from the former Wales U20 outside half Phil Jones.

The visitors were soon back on the attack, but a mistake saw home centre Callum Carson collect a loose ball and race down the wing, drawing in the last tackler before sending Trowbridge racing clear for his first try.

A second try soon followed when O’Brien kicked to the corner. After a patient build up by the Newport forwards, their outside half squeezed over at the corner.

A huge drive by the Swansea pack turned over possession though, earning a scrum five of their own and centres Carson and Jack Evans combined to send Trowbridge in for his second try. That made it 19-16 to the Whites at the break.

The home side struck again after their powerful scrum won the ball against the head. Josh Thomas kicked behind the Newport defence and Trowbridge pounced for his hat-trick try.

Newport weren’t finished, though, and after Rees had been shown a second yellow card for deliberate offside they made their man advantage pay.

A superb break by Harri Griffiths paved the way for Ryan Gardner to crash over for a try in the corner.

The Black and Ambers then retook the lead in style when Garin Price broke through two tackles on the wing and threw a pass inside that enabled Elliot Frewen to cross to make it 28-24 with nine minutes to go.

But it was not to be for the visitors as the Whites sealed victory five minutes from time when scrum half Chris Morgans scampered over for a converted try that earned the home side the victory.

Swansea: Tries: N Trowbridge 3, P Jones, C Morgans; Cons: J Thomas 2, J Evans.

Newport: Tries: M O’Brien, R Gardner, E Frewen; Cons: M O’Brien 2; Pens: M O’Brien 3.

Star man: Matt O’Brien (Newport)