Cross Keys were second best in almost every aspect of this Gwent derby with a disappointing lack of appetite and passion perhaps paving the way to this albeit narrow defeat to the Black and Ambers.
The action in the opening 15 minutes or so was typical Gwent derby stuff, scrappy and not exactly pretty to watch with a number of bouts of fisticuffs breaking out as well as a lack of skill from both sides. It was Keys who did open the scoring inside the first 5 minutes with Dorian Jones striking a fine long range penalty from the halfway line.
Dorian Jones soon doubled the tally with a second penalty on 15 minutes. Newport then threatened to get the opening score after a break from the base of a scrum on the Keys 5 metre line but number 8 Ross Coombs was hauled down well by both Rob Nash and Adam Powell before Keys eventually cleared the danger.
Newport were then beginning to play the better rugby and it was no surprise when they crossed for the opening try after half an hour when Geraint O'Driscoll ghosted through some poor Keys tackling attempts before the ball was chipped ahead for centre Dominic Franchi to score near the posts with O'Driscoll kicking the conversion to give the home side a narrow one point lead.
Half time score: Newport 7 Cross Keys 6.
The second half was pretty much the same story as the first but this time Keys were starting to play with a little more conviction so a better contest began to take place.
Keys hooker Gerwyn Price lifted Keys spirits with a interception and kick ahead which caused no end of panic in the home sides defence and it was from the good field position that Price had given Keys that Keys got their try. Following an attacking scrum the ball was worked through the back line and Leon Andrews did brilliantly to score with his outstretched arm after making 15 metres or so with his back turned mostly toward the Newport line before managing to turn and score a great try. Dorian Jones adding the conversion as Keys moved back in front.
Keys did have one or two penalty attempts at goal but these were missed and Newport then started to produce the sort of play that was to see them take the victory. Geraint O'Driscoll then kicked 2 penalties in quick succession as the Black and Ambers' drew level, with Keys firmly on the back foot once more.
Then the key moment came with Keys down to 14 men with Ryan James in the sin bin following an offence at the breakdown area. It was winger Elliott Frewen who got the winning score for Newport touching down after yet another O'Driscoll break, although O'Driscoll failed with the conversion from the touch line.
In the end Keys need to have a hard look at themselves because for any game this was an unacceptable performance, let alone in a Gwent derby against your fiercest rivals.
Tries: Dominic Franchi & Elliott Frewen
Conversion: Geraint O'Driscoll
Penalties: Geraint O'Driscoll (x2)
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Try: Leon Andrews
Conversion: Dorian Jones
Penalties: Dorian Jones (x2)