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26 November 2017 / Club News

NEWPORT 30 MERTHYR 34

HARD FOUGHT WIN FOR THE IRONMEN

NEWPORT 30 MERTHYR 34

Merthyr remain top of the Principality Premiership East table after an away bonus point win against the Black and Ambers of Newport at Rodney Parade but were made to fight right up to the final whistle by a never say die attitude from the Newport side. Merthyr took an early lead when a lineout near the Newport line, was driven forward by the Merthyr 8 and hooker Richard Wilkes claimed the try, full back Matthew Jarvis converted and Merthyr led 0-7. Newport were soon on the score board when the dangerous outside half and captain Matt O’Brien slotted over a penalty after Merthyr had infringed at the scrum. O’Brien soon doubled his tally and closed the gap 6-7 when Merthyr were caught off side. Merthyr held the upper hand in the set piece with a new front row of James Howe, Richard Wilkes and Szaboics Pocskai driving their opposite numbers backwards. The Newport threequarters looked very dangerous with ball in hand and especially full back Elliot Frewen who cause the ironmen problems with his pace and direct running. Newport took the lead when a chip kick from outside half Ben Jones was charged down by his opposite number Matt O’Brien who gather and raced in for the try which he also converted and Newport had taken the lead 13-7. Merthyr had their good share of lineout ball from young Ben Murphy and captain Craig Locke which kept the Merthyr 8 driving forward and good driving play from back row men Nick White, Phil Rees, and Ed Siggery. This was soon rewarded just before half time after constant pressure from the Merthyr pack resulted in a penalty for collapsing at the scrum, the ever-reliable Jarvis converted to bring the half time score 13-10. A tongue-lashing form the Merthyr coaches seemed to work as Merthyr came out in the second half a much more determination side as the pack took the game to Newport and after several drives near the line, home prop Nicky Boyce was yellow carded. Merthyr took full advantage of the extra man immediately has they turned down the penalty kick at goal and elected for the scrum. Referee Elgan Williams awarded Merthyr a penalty try has they drove Newport over their line on three occasions and with the last scrum collapsing, this gave Merthyr back the lead 13-17. Merthyr were now in control and the ever-alert scrum half Justin James caught Newport napping has he raced away from a scum and Merthyr had extended their lead 13-22. However, Newport would not give in and a good forward drive up field was rewarded when Merthyr were again penalised for off side and once again O’Brien making no mistake to close the gap, 16-22, with 20 minutes to go. But any hopes of a fight back seemed to fade when left wing Kristian Phillips showed his pace and speed as he chased his kick ahead just over the half way line to gather and touch down, Jarvis converted to give Merthyr a 16-29 lead. Back came Newport once again when after several drives just over the half way line saw number 8 Lennon Greggains storm away for a try, O’Brien converted and it was game back on 23-29. A fine blind side run from centre Arron Pincers created an overlap which looked like a certain try, but a deliberate knock on from Frewen which earned him a yellow card. From the penalty Merthyr kicked deep towards the Newport line and from the forward drive captain Craig Locke drove over for Merthyr’s 5th try and a lead of 23-34. But still Newport would not give in and hit straight back when some weak tackling from Merthyr allowed replacement wingman Jon Morris to race in for a try which O’Brien converted and it was game back on 30-34 with 7 minutes left. Merthyr were then reduced to 14 men when centre Pinches was yellow carded for a high tackle, the extra man allowed Newport to throw the ball about looking for the winning score which nearly came from the last move of the game when wingman Morris raced away just over the half way line and a score looked certain only a last gasp tackle from replacement wingman Alex Howman knocking him into touch. The win keeps the ironmen top of the East table, but credit to Newport who never gave in even up to the final whistle and they earn a deserved losing bonus point. For Merthyr, it was once again the pack that did most of the hard graft, with back row men Nick White and Phil Rees carrying the ball gaining good ground, behind the scum, scum half Justin James kept Newport on their toes with his jinking runs. Merthyr have found two dangerous finishers in wing men Phillips and Evans. Merthyr now face another local derby this Friday night when Ebbw Vale are visitors for a 7:15pm kick off due to the Wales v South Africa international on Saturday.   

MERTHYR: 15 M JARVIS, 14 K EVANS, 13 G DACEY, 12 A PINCHES, 11 K PHILLIPS, 10 B JONES, 9 J JAMES, 1 J HOWE, 2 R WILKES, 3 S POCSKAI, 4 B MURPHY, 5 C LOCKE(C) 6 N WHITE, 7 E SIGGERY, 8 P REES. 16 J REES, 17 D WATTS, 18 L JOES, 19 L EVANS, 20 O DAVIES, 21 R DOWNES, 22 R POWELL, 23 A HOWMAN.

SCORERS, C LOCKE 1T, J JAMES 1T, K PHILLIPS 1T, R WILKES 1T, PENALTY TRY. M JARVIS, 2C 1 PEN

REFEREE: ELGAN WILLIMAS)CARDIFF)            

 

 

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