Newport (40) v Nuneaton (22)

A third bonus point win on the bounce sees Newport on top of the Midlands Premier League following their win over Nuneaton at the Old Showground on Saturday. Nuns have been something of a bogey team to Newport over the last few seasons which made this win extra satisfying.

Maybe it was the sunny weather or the fact that Fiji played in the opening World Cup game of the day but both sides at times played open, off-loading rugby which while entertaining often led to promising moves breaking down. It was noticeable that when Newport focussed on ball retention and executing on opportunities they looked a more impressive unit.

In opening exchanges good kicking assisted by a stiff breeze allowed Nuns to get inside Newport territory, however they were unable to penetrate a strong Newport defensive line and could not capitalise on good field position.

Excellent kicking by Jake Leonard and Ben Elliot into the wind allowed Newport to clear their lines on a number of occasions and it was the ground they gained that led to Newport’s first score after nine minutes. After a period of consistent pressure inside the Nun’s twenty two Monty Maule went in under the posts. The improved kicking game and patient build up have both been features of Newport’s play this season.

Nuns replied in the corner after 14 minutes after using the wind to good advantage. The momentum this score gave Nuns was however quickly snuffed out when Ben Elliot intercepted an optimistic pass at half way and, showing an impressive turn of speed ran in for the score. Nuns scored a penalty to close out the first half.

Nuns started the second half brightly with kicks to the corner putting pressure on Newport from the line out. This pressure paid off after 48 minutes with a try in the opposite corner.

The quick thinking exhibited by Newport in the first two games of the season was in evidence again after 58 minutes when a quick tap by Sam Brown put Ryan Crowley over in the corner. Newport scored again after 63 minutes when the excellent Kirk Robinson picked up from the base of the scrum feeding Monty Maule who put Sam Evans in to score. The raw pace and finishing power of Evans is becoming a real asset in the Newport armoury.

Newport were guilty of rather going to sleep on 68 minutes allowing Nuns to run in unopposed to score. This seemed to reignite Newport who finished with a flourish. A great kick into space by Ben Elliot saw Chris Perry go in under the posts. In what was virtually the last play of the game Sam Brown stripped Nuns on the half way line and fed Sam Evans who once again showed his finishing prowess.

Ultimately a comfortable win for Newport against a Nuns side that will surely trouble a number of teams in this league.


Peter Maher