NEWPORT threw away an 18-0 half-time lead at Bedwas on Saturday to put another dent in their already slim title hopes, writes Ian Golden.

The Black and Ambers had stormed to a first half lead after Bedwas rarely looked like crossing the try-line, but complacency set in after the break, and the home side’s determination earned them the draw.

Bedwas could have taken all the points, save for a bit more luck with the boot, as they converted just one of seven attempts at goal.

The Black and Ambers took a fourth minute lead after Haydn Simons kicked a close-range penalty.

Bedwas looked to level straight away, but Lloyd’s ambitious 45-metre kick fell just wide of the sticks.

Simons doubled Newport’s lead with a straightforward front of the sticks penalty on 14 minutes.

Again Lloyd tried to get a score back, from an identical position. This kick had the accuracy but the ball slipped under the crossbar. His third attempt, just two minutes later, hit the post and came out.

Newport eventually got back onto the attack and, despite being down to 14 men at the time after Andrew Mann was sinbinned, a well-worked move ended with Andrew Evans scoring under the posts and Simons converting to give them a 13-0 lead.

And the Black and Ambers went into half-time 18-0 up after Matthew Reed ran over from a scrum. Simons missed an easy chance to make it 20.

Newport showed some complacency early in the second half and couldn’t extend their lead, despite Bedwas’ veteran Kiwi Chris Budgen seeing yellow early on. In fact it was the home side who finally got on the board not long after going back to a full complement of players, Jonathan Davies running through to score with Joseph Scrivens missing the conversion.

Davies got his, and Bedwas’ second try on 64 minutes, scoring in the corner, with Scrivens again unlucky with the boot.

Newport played the last ten minutes of the game with just 14 men after Henry Palmer was sent to the bin. Scrivens kicked the resulting penalty to put Bedwas just five points adrift.

Then, in the final minute, Adam Williams scored in the corner to level it up. Scrivens kicked from the touchline to win but again the ball sailed wide and the teams rightly shared the spoils.

Bedwas: J Scrivens, J Rees (C Williams 59), T Hoppe, A Williams, D Smith, E Lloyd (J Chilcott 49), L Crane, B Toms (M Dacey 54), A Rees, C Budgen, J Davies (M Davies 78), G Allen (J Richards 49), C Hudd, J Armitage (D Rogers 15, L Yendle 46), N Hudd.

Scorers: Tries: J Davies (2), A Williams. Penalties: J Scrivens.

Newport: D Richards, A Evans, C Smith, H Palmer (W Evans 73), E Frewen; H Simons, R James (T Lucas 66), D Preece (L Smout 52), W Evans (H Palmer 52), T Piper (G Harris 52), J Bartlett, D Partridge, A Mann (M Burgess 46), K Tayler (J Reid 9, K Tayler 19, J Reid 59), M Reed.

Scorers: Tries: A Evans, M Reed. Conversions: H Simons. Penalties: H Simons (2)

Newport Star Man: Haydn Simons.