Ironmen back to winning ways with win over Newport
PRINCIPALITY PREMIERSHIP EAST MERTHYR .................... 43 NEWPORT .................... 33
MERTHYR got back to winning ways with a seven-try win over the black and ambers of Newport.
This was an entertaining game of rugby with Newport playing a great part in a game that saw 12 tries scored.
Merthyr took the lead after both forwards and backs combined well together to put centre Arron Pinches in for the opening try, full back Matthew Jarvis converted to give Merthyr a 7-0 lead. Newport hit straight back when a clever kick ahead from outside half Matt O’Brien saw the ball bounce up near the Merthyr posts and full back Geraint O’Driscoll drop onto to it, O’Brien converted and Newport had drawn level 7-7. Merthyr’s bigger pack was causing Newport problems at the set piece and when referee Craig Evans awarded a penalty inside the Newport half, young outside half Ben Jones pinned Newport deep inside their 22. From the lineout, the Merthyr pack drove Newport backwards and after several pick-up and drives captain Craig Locke forced his way over, Jarvis converted to give the Ironmen a 14-7 lead.
Merthyr then extended their lead further when a fine sweeping move from their backs was finished off by wingman Steffan Andrews who raced away to score in the corner, Jarvis just going wide with the kick but Merthyr had extended their lead 19-7.
Back came Newport once again as their backs, well marshalled by O’Brien, found a gap in the Merthyr defence which allowed centre Tom Pascoe to race away under the posts, O’Brien converted and Newport had closed the gap 19-14.
The Merthyr forwards were once again beginning to take control and a penalty near the Newport line was once again kicked into the corner. From the lineout, the Merthyr pack once again drove Newport backwards which allowed hooker Matthew Dwyer to crash over. Ex-Ospreys back row man Joe Bearman was breaking tackles and causing Newport problems with his barnstorming runs, and it was he who extended Merthyr’s lead further when a lineout near the Newport line was won by young second row Ben Murphy and peeled around the front for him to dive over to extend the lead 29-14.
The second half began with both sides throwing the ball about in great style and it was Newport who responded with a fine try from centre Chay Smith which O’Brein converted to close the gap 29-21. However, as the Merthyr pack once again began to take control a kick ahead and chase from right wing Kyle Evans just over the half way line saw Evans gather his kick and beat the Newport cover to score under the posts, Jarvis converted and Merthyr stretched the lead 36-21.
It was now all Merthyr as Newport seemed to struggle with the pace and strength of the Merthyr pack, and it was back row man Osian Davies who scored Merthyr’s seventh try as once again the Newport pack were under constant pressure near their own line which allowed Davies to use his strength to crash over, young outside half Ben Jones converting to extend the lead 43-21. Newport then made several changes as the game reached the last quarter and this seemed to work as their backs once again began to throw the ball around which saw Joe Cullimore take a pass to race away to score.
To their credit Newport kept going right to the final whistle and when replacement wing Curtis Ayling caught the ball deep inside his 22, he set off on a sweeping run to beat the Merthyr cover and race in for a fine individual try, O’Brien converted to bring the game to a close with Merthyr running out winners 43-33.
This was a great advert for Premiership rugby and both sides should be congratulated on an entertaining and exciting game of rugby.
For Merthyr, it was the pack that gained the upper hand and Joe Bearman, outstanding all afternoon and a thorn in the Newport side, was awarded man of the match. Behind the scrum young outside half Ben Jones is beginning to settle and showed why he his highly rated by the Blues with a fine all-round performance. The Merthyr coaches will be happy with the result, but know there is still a lot of work to be done if the team are going defend the Premiership title. Merthyr now travel to Ebbw Vale this Saturday, kick-off 2.30pm.
Craig Lock scores a try for Merthyr against Newport
Joe Bearman scores a try