Newport cruised to an ultimately comfortable 33 to 8 win in their first game of the season at newly promoted Kettering. Game smarts and execution of a well thought through ame plan was the difference between the two sides.
As would be expected in the first game of the season both sides exhibited some ring rust. An energetic opening saw promising moves come to nothing as a result of missed or ropped passes. A number of penalties cost Newport in the first twenty minutes with possession being given up inside Kettering’s twenty two metre line on more than one occasion.
First honours went to Kettering after five minutes with a penalty scored by full back John Daniel. There followed an energetic period of play from both sides where Newport’s ability to play scramble defence came to the fore. Luke Kendall put in a valiant performance in the defensive line making a
series of important tackles. The kicking of newly arrived fly half Ben Elliot was also key to relieving pressure on Newport and finding holes behind the Kettering defence.
After twenty five minutes a piece of quick thinking led to Newport’s first score. A quickly taken tap penalty by Jake Leonard caught the Kettering defence unprepared allowing Joe Nixon to force his way over under the posts for his debut try for the club.
Newport extended their lead in the 38 th minute when Alex Haselock went over in the corner. A quick tap by Sam Brown led to good pressure up the middle of the field compressing the Kettering defence and creating space for Haselock on the wing.
Ten minutes into the second half a penalty at the break down once again cost Newport when Kettering went over in the corner in the subsequent move. A tactical switch at this point saw Newport committing less to the break down contest and instead focussing on keeping men on their feet in the defensive line. The change was decisive with Kettering unable to score for the rest of the match.
After fifteen minutes Newport scored from a flowing width of the pitch move that again stretched the Kettering defence. Pressure on the right wing from Alex Haselock was followed by a quick transfer of the ball to Sam Evans on the opposite wing who went over in the corner.
Kettering responded to the score with a period of renewed pressure. Their desire to get back in the game however cost them when Newport scrum half Sam Brown intercepted an optimistic pass at midfield. Brown passed to newly arrived winger Ryan Crowley who showed an impressive turn of pace to score in the corner. The scoring for Newport was completed when another width of the pitch move saw winger Sam Evans go over once again in the corner.
Commenting in the post-match interview Newport Director of Rugby Bob Adams said, “As a team we have added to our attacking game plan which we executed well today. As always some things to work on in training this week but a bonus point win away from home is a great way to start the season”.
Next week sees Newport take on South Leicester away before the home opener on September 21 st against Nuneaton , kick off 3-00pm