NEWPORT held off a stirring second half fightback from battling Bridgend to leave the Brewery Field as victors, writes Carl Field.

Despite having to defend their line for large parts of the first half, the Black and Ambers were 17-3 up at the break thanks to well worked tries from Chay Smith and Josh Skinner.

Both were converted by Haydn Simons, who also booted a penalty.

By the Ravens hit back in the second half with tries of their own scored by Jordan Collier and then Chris Williams but they would fall agonisingly short.

It made it back-to-back triumphs for Craig Warlow’s side after last weekend’s win over Llanelli had ended a run of four without a win in the Principality Premiership.

This latest win also completed a season’s double for Newport over Bridgend having won the reverse fixture at Rodney Parade 28-17 back in October.

It was Newport who drew first blood in the fourth minute with outside centre Smith dotting down under the sticks for the opening try, converted by fly-half Simons.

The Ravens responded with a penalty from their No.10 Ryan Evans in the eighth minute before Simons then kicked one of his own 10 minutes later.

The rest of the first half was largely Bridgend pressure and they came close to going over, with full-back Tyler Williams one of the players held up just short of the line, as Newport’s defence held firm.

But, having defended well, Newport then showed their cutting edge at the other end once again on 34 minutes as they scored their second try.

Smith had a hand in it, before Jon Morris sent blindside Skinner racing in to score with Simons once again taking care of the extras.

The visitors’ kicker missed another penalty opportunity from the tee just before the break as they led 17-3.

Bridgend finally got some reward for their endeavour on 59 minutes with flanker Collier scoring following a lineout. Evans booted the conversion to pull them back to within seven points.

And it got even better for Bridgend in the 64th minute with replacement Williams racing in from halfway, although Evans missed the conversion and the chance to level it.

Bridgend pushed but, after Jamie Murphy’s drop goal attempt with the last kick fell short, they had to make do with a losing bonus point and remain in the bottom four.

Next up for Newport is a home clash with bottom side Neath next Friday night.

Scorers: Bridgend – Tries: J Collier, C Williams; Con: R Evans; Pen: R Evans.

Newport – Tries: C Smith, J Skinner; Cons: H Simons (2); Pen: H Simons.

Teams: Bridgend: T Williams (J Murphy 40); Ashley Evans, S Floyd-Ellis, N Edwards (capt), G Roberts; R Evans, C Tantum (C Williams 52); R Apsee (O Jordan 68), O Thomas (G Harvey 39), C Lewis (G Daniel 68), J Little (J Pope 55), B Jones, J Collier, A O’Driscoll, Aled Evans (D Davies 61).

Newport: E Frewen; J Morris, C Smith, T Pascoe, Andrew Evans; H Simons (J Male 46), G Watkin; L Smout (D Preece 52), H Palmer (E Whitson 52), G Harris (T Piper 52), A Mann, D Partridge, J Skinner, K Tayler (J Reid 55), R Jenkins (capt).

Newport star man: Chay Smith