NEWPORT took a step towards a place in the knockout stages of the Premiership Cup with a 27-11 victory over Pontypridd at Spytty Park.

The Black and Ambers are setting the pace in the east group thanks to five wins on the spin since their opening weekend loss to Ponty at Sardis Road.

They avenged that loss in Newport thanks to tries by scrum-half Luke Crane and flanker Josh Skinner plus 12 points from the boot of fly-half Will Reed.

The victory keeps them a point ahead of Cardiff, with the top two at the end of the group stage enjoying home advantage in the quarters against western rivals.

Ponty struck first at the International Sports Village through the boot of fly-half Ben Burnell but Newport responded through the sniping Crane.

Burnell kicked a second penalty but Crane was put over by fit-again full-back Dai Richards for a 14-6 lead at the break.

Reed added a penalty early in the second half but it was game on approaching the hour when Dale Stucky scored for the visitors to make it 17-11.

However, the home fly-half banged over a penalty to secure the spoils and then Skinner went over at the death.

It promises to be an Arms Park cracker on November 6 when Newport aim to do the double over the much-fancied Blue and Blacks.

Ebbw Vale are on a four-game losing streak but battled hard for a consolation bonus when beaten 20-16 by Merthyr.

A young Ebbw side went toe to toe with the physical Ironmen and struck late through former Wales, Dragons and Ospreys wing Daf Howells to ensure they got something to show for their efforts.

Next up for the Steelmen, after having next weekend off, is a trip to Pontypridd with a win needed to stay in touch with the top four.

Bargoed have a perfect record in the Championship Cup thanks to a 40-13 win at Narberth, their third bonus-point success on the spin.

Next up is a tussle with fellow unbeaten side Neath, although that is in January after the start of the league campaign.

Bedwas and Cross Keys will go into the 'proper stuff' in high spirits after wins in the Championship Plate.

Bedwas beat Ystalyfera 36-3 at Bridge Field thanks to tries from James Richards (2), Josh Edwards, Matthew Williams, Dafydd Thomas and Alex Bourne while Keys beat Tata Steel 31-16 at Pandy Park.

The Admiral Championship gets under way on November 13.

Premiership Cup east: Ebbw Vale 16 Merthyr 20, Newport 27 Pontypridd 11, RGC 8 Cardiff 15.

Championship Cup: Maesteg Quins 6 Ystrad Rhondda 11, Narberth 13 Bargoed 40, Neath 45 Glamorgan Wanderers 5.

Championship Plate: Beddau 7 Trebanos 28, Bedwas 36 Ystalyfera 3, Cross Keys 31 Tata Steel 16.