NEWPORT pushed the league leaders all the way at Church Bank and were desperately unlucky not to come away with a losing bonus point.

They led 19-17 in the 70th minute and were on the attack when a breakaway Llandovery try turned the game.

To rub salt into the wound the high-flying Drovers then added two more late tries to take them flatteringly clear.

Long-serving Newport secretary Dennis Bennett echoed many of the sentiments of the Newport contingent.

“We looked the stronger when we took the lead and were agonisingly close to going even further ahead when a spilled pass and Llandovery counter-attack did for us.

“We were up against a very good side but we will go away, confident that we will soon climb the table.

“There were some outstanding individual performances and notably lock Adam Frampton, young prop Alex Jeffries and James Leadbeater at both scrum- half and later as full back.”

Winning coach Lyndon Lewis was full of praise for the Black and Ambers.

“Newport are a far better side than their league position suggests but our fitness and composure under pressure took us through in the end.

“Standards in the league keep improving and all 12 clubs are hugely competitive so we are delighted to keep our noses in front.”

A good Llandovery start saw tries from wing Aaron Warren and scrum-half Rhodri Williams but Newport took quick advantage of the sin-binning of centre Jack Roberts and Warren in the space of five minutes.

A try from hard-working No 8 Hywel Stoddart at the front of the lineout and a penalty from fly-half Scott Sneddon brought the visitors to 12-8 at the break and they had the better of most of the second half.

Grand work from Stoddart, wing Elliot Frewen, Leadbeater and 18-year-old Jeffries put Llandovery on the back foot.

A try from skipper and flanker Craig Attwell and two penalties from Sneddon against a try by home centre Matthew Jacobs were no less than the Black and Ambers deserved as they took a narrow lead with just ten minutes left on the clock.

The Drovers with replacement forward and ex- Dragons lock Bryn Griffiths outstanding had to dig deep.

They had to defend for their lives but tries from Williams, wing Jake Randall and prop Wyn Jones sent Newport home cruelly pointless after so much valiant effort.

Llandovery: L Rees; J Randall, M Jacobs, J Roberts, Aaron Warren (C Knight 60); C Rees (J Garland 60), R Williams (R Walters 75); O Evans (W Jones 75) A Yelland (T Ball 75), D Howells (A Jones 44), S Jones, L Jones (B Griffiths 33), P Day, R Brooks, L Phillips (capt) (L Kendall 60).

Tries: R Williams (2), A Warren, M Jacobs, J Randall, W Jones.

Cons: J Garland (3), C Rees.

Newport: A Awcock; E Frewen, G O’Driscoll, I Smerdon, W Hodnett (A Quick 55); S Sneddon, J Leadbeater; D Pattison, R Prosser (A Brown 58), A Jeffries, D Rosser (S Waldron 54), A Frampton, I Jones, H Stoddart (C Everett 63), C Attwell (capt).

Tries: H Stoddart, C Attwell.

Pens: S Sneddon (3).

Referee: J Bessant (Bridgend).

Argus star man: Adam Frampton.