NEWPORT climbed to the top of the east group in the Premiership Cup when they thrashed Ebbw Vale at Eugene Cross Park.

The Black and Ambers made it four wins on the spin to climb above Cardiff, who lost at Merthyr, while the Steelmen suffered a third successive loss and drop out of the top four.

Ebbw started swiftly to open the scoring with a Dafydd Howells try but Newport swiftly levelled through flanker Lennon Greggains.

Lewis K Williams kicked the hosts into a 10-7 lead but that was as good as it got for them.

Will Reed kicked a pair of penalties for Newport and then prop Garin Harris and Matt O'Brien, continuing at inside centre rather than his usual position of fly-half, went over for a 25-10 lead at the break.

A penalty try earned the bonus before Howells' went over again to make it 32-17.

Newport finished strongly to win 44-17 after a brace by wing Matthew Powell.

It was their fourth successive win at Eugene Cross Park and they are looking strong for the last eight of the tournament, which will put them against a rival from the west.

The second half of the group stages starts next week with the reverse of the opening weekend fixtures, Ebbw hosting Merthyr and Newport entertaining Pontypridd at Spytty Park.

Cardiff were beaten 31-26 by Merthyr at the Wern while Ponty edged out RGC 40-38 at Sardis Road thanks to Ben Burnell's last-gasp penalty from long range.

Llandovery are within a point of west leaders Aberavon with a 24-18 win at the Talbot Athletic Ground.

l Bargoed are two from two in the Championship Cup after a 33-15 home win over Maesteg Quins.

Bedwas were dealt a first loss of the Championship Plate after going down 21-12 at Trebanos.

Premiership Cup East: Ebbw Vale 17 Newport 44, Merthyr 31 Cardiff 26, Pontypridd 40 RGC 38.

West: Aberavon 18 Llandovery 24, Bridgend 17 Swansea 35, Llanelli 24 Carmarthen Q 27.

Championship Cup: Bargoed 33 Maesteg Q 15, Glamorgan W 24 Narberth 24, Ystrad Rhondda 25 Neath 31.

Plate: Tata Steel 31 Beddau 39, Trebanos 21 Bedwas 12, Ystalyfera 30 Cardiff Met 18.