Carmarthen Quins welcomed a struggling Newport to the Park on Saturday with a team much changed in its set up and once again contrived to take a lead into the final minutes before conceding a last gasp score to lose the game.
The conditions were good for rugby and from the start both sides attacked freely. The Quins gained the first try after runs from Rheon James and Tom Rees broke the gain line eventually allowing James Dixon, playing at full back, to crash over for an unconverted touchdown. The home side continued to attack but Newport’s tactical kicking maintained slight territorial advantage and their wings looked speedy and dangerous every time they got near the ball.
Scott Snedden got the visitors on the scoreboard with a penalty and then minutes later the home side were caught napping with a short line out move and hooker, Ryan Prosser, going over in the corner. Carmarthen continued to try and play open rugby but were struggling to gel as a unit and all too often passing errors and losing the ball at the breakdowns kept losing them territory and allowing Newport to counter attack, often dangerously. However, the only further scores in the half were a penalty for Snedden and one in reply for Aled Thomas to make the score 8-11 to Newport.
From the restart Aled Thomas made a break, Andrew Banfield ran through strongly on the angle and things started to look good again for the home supporters especially when Newport conceded a penalty and Aled Thomas slotted it from 40m. to level the scores. It was not long, however, before a very loose pass allowed Scott Frewin to pick it up and score a try in the corner against the run of play.
Newport had a prop yellow-carded and in the next ten minutes the game turned around. Firstly the pick of the Carmarthen backs, Tom Rees and Andrew Banfield, combined in a move before Andrew Banfield got the touchdown and then Aled Thomas glided through the defence to release substitute, Chris Banfield, for a try. Thomas converted both and the home side had a solid lead of 25-16 going into the last quarter.
Haydn Pugh was sin-binned for a late tackle but the Quins looked more in control of themselves and seemed to be disrupting and pushing back the visitors comfortably as well as setting up attacks of their own. Then, out of the blue, confusion allowed Alan Awcock to make a break and pass inside to Craig Everett for him to score under the posts and for O’Driscoll to add the extras.
Carmarthen were a little unlucky in that the officials missed the final ball being noticeably forward but it really proved not to be their day when the game passed into overtime. Perhaps naively throwing the ball about loosely close to the Newport line, trying to get a bonus point try, resulted in Elliott Frewin being gifted the ball. He then ran the full length of the field to score the winning try.
The final score was Carmarthen Quins 25 Newport 28 and once again victory was turned into defeat in the final minutes of a match this season.
Reporter ~ Keith Bond