Newport (13) v Bridgnorth (24)

Bridgnorth ran out winners over Newport by 24 points to 13 in the latest instalment of this classic local rivalry at the Old Showground on Saturday. The freezing rain and chilly  temperatures made the day a challenge for both players and supporters. It was refreshing to see therefore the amount of passing rugby that was actually played. Make no mistake however that for large parts of the game this was a classic arm wrestle played out in muddy, foul conditions.

Benny Elliot of Newport opened the scoring with a penalty after 15 minutes. There then followed a period of sustained pressure from Bridgnorth within the Newport twenty two metre line. Some superb and committed defending from Newport saw the All Blacks repelled twice. Resistance was broken however after thirty five minutes when Gaz Bladen broke through a ruck to score under the posts for the visitors. Bridgnorth were soon back in Newport’s twenty two resulting in a try in the corner just before half time.

The second half continued the theme of physical, forwards based rugby with the ball only occasionally getting out to the backs. Newport had their moments, particularly after sixty minutes when they were camped within the Bridgnorth twenty two but were unable to find the final punch to score. Benny Elliot pulled the home team to within one score with a penalty on seventy minutes putting the game back in the balance.

Newport then conceded a penalty on their own ten metre line which was marched back a further ten metres for dissent to the referee. These extra yards were arguably decisive in allowing Bridgnorth to pick a great line through the Newport defence to score the try. A kick to the corner from just inside the half way set up a line out on the Newport five metre line. Bridgnorth secured the ball and drove over for the final try. Newport registered a consolation score under the posts in the final minutes but had run out of time to reverse the result.