THE fact that Aberavon scored 3-2 on tries counted for nought as Newport won this opening league match deep into added-on time.
It was not a case of snatching a win, though, as Newport had looked more dangerous when their backs had the ball and they pulled off a fine team try to finish it off.
The Newport coaching staff were leaping in delight as first replacement Craig Evans missed a long penalty shot that could have drawn it, and then when referee Neil Hennessy played on, Newport’s defence still held firm.
In wing Elliot Frewen they had the quickest and most dangerous player on the field, though even he would say his team-mates laid the winner on a plate for him.
Having seen Aberavon run up 81 points in their last two meetings at the Talbot Athletic Ground, head coach Sven Cronk was doubly delighted, and commented: “We did not let our heads go down and this was a good win for us.
“We had genuine pace out wide and this was the start we wanted before meeting Llanelli at Rodney Parade on Friday evening.”
And a thriller on Friday is on the cards with pace galore on both sides and Sven, a former prop, knowing that his pack must win it up front first.
A strong wind was behind Newport backs and they led 13-0 with two Scott Sneddon penalties coming either side of a Frewen runaway try that the fly-half converted.
Aberavon gained two tries and were only 13-12 down at the break, then led 15-13 before a third Sneddon goal, but a tap penalty brought Aberavon a try to lead 20-16.
Heads did not go, though, and with Sneddon punting well and Alan Awcock and Adam Davies willing centres, Adam Framton and Andrew Brown led them back downfield.
The ball come from Rhys Downes along the line and Frewen flashed over for Sneddon to convert.
“It was good to see the pace we had out wide,” said Newport’s forwards coach, David Gray. “And also good for forwards to get up and see Scott Sneddon kicking us forward up the line so well.”
Aberavon: J Phillips; Richard Thomas, B John, L Gadd (C Evans 65), Ricky Thomas; J Davies, D Pritchard; R Jenkins (C John 72), I Davies (G Harvey 57), A Clatworthy (A Edwards 61), I Moore (G Ronan 61), S Williams (capt), C Davies (R Morris 68), B Thomas, J Tomalin-Reeves.
Tries – J Phillips, B John, D Pritchard; con – J Davies; pen – J Davies.
Newport: G O’Driscoll; E Frewen, A Awcock, A Davies, A Hewitt; S Sneddon, J Leadbeater (R Downes 61); D Pattison, A Brown (capt), J Jones (A Jeffries 71), R. Jones (D Rosser 55), A. Frampton, S. Waldron, C Everett (I Jones 48), C Attwell (W Richards 77).
Tries – E Frewen 2; cons – S Sneddon 2; pens – S Sneddon 3.
Referee: Neil Hennessy (Cardiff).
Argus star man: Elliot Frewen.