NEWPORT’S Specsavers National Cup hopes were steamrollered in the first round by Carmarthen Quins’ well-drilled pack.

A manic game at Rodney Parade eventually went the way of the visitors, largely thanks to their mightily impressive driving lineout.

Newport played some fine rugby in a to-and-fro encounter and scored tries through flanker Josh Skinner, centre Jonathan Morris and wing Ryan Gardner.

They produce flashes of terrific attacking moments, possess some elusive runners and play at a high-tempo, alas they mix that with infuriating errors.

It was those mistakes that allowed the Quins, who are powerful up front but not one-dimensional, to be the side that finally took control of the game heading into the final quarter.

It was fitting that it was their driving lineout that provided the key try, hooker Torin Myhill's second, ensuring Carmarthen were first to enjoy a lead greater than a score, a lead that they would not let slip for a deserved win.

The cup tie had all started so well for Newport, who were over the line with just 50 seconds on the clock.

It was a slick try from flanker Skinner after the hosts had created space down the right for Gardner, who passed inside for scrum-half Luke Crane to calmly provide the assist.

Fly-half Matt O’Brien converted but the hosts paid the price for not claiming the restart, having one lucky escape when wing Geraint Llewellyn went for the line before scrum-half Ifan Thomas darted over for a try that Steff Marshall converted.

O’Brien made it 10-7 from the tee in the 15th minute – keeping his cool impressively after feedback over the PA just before his run-up – and the playmaker was providing some much-needed control in a frenzied game.

The Quins, however, were causing all manner of problems with their driving lineout and alarms bells rang when Marshall booted a penalty, earned by a drive, to the corner.

When the catch was clean, the result was inevitable with hooker Myhill getting the reward for hitting his man. Marshall added the extras for 14-10.

The Black and Ambers had the chance to respond swiftly when centre Morris ran a nice line to break through from O’Brien’s inside ball but flanker Josh Reid couldn’t gather when the last man was drawn on the 22.

Morris may not have got the assist but he soon had the score after the scrambling Quins defence couldn’t prevent him going after down the left after a strong carry by hooker Henry Palmer.

O’Brien made it 17-14 after 25 minutes of a game that neither side was able to dominate but Newport had a chance to put the pressure on when flanker Ed Siggery was a tad fortunate to only see yellow for a head shot on centre Tom Pascoe.

The man advantage allowed the hosts to finally get the upper hand but chances came and went, most notably when full-back Llywarch Ap Myrddin danced down the left wing only for his pass to go to ground five metres out.

A super penalty on the angle by O’Brien ensure that Newport at least stretched away by three points during the sin bin to enjoy a 20-14 lead at half-time.

The first side to strike in the second half – bizarrely played to the soundtrack of a band playing at a party in the cabbage patch tent – was Carmarthen after a powerful finish down the left by wing Morgan Griffiths.

The conversion was wide but Newport shot themselves in the foot with a loose pass in midfield that was snaffled by Llewellyn, who just had the pace to beat Elliot Frewen to the line.

This time the conversion was good and the Quins led approaching the hour, but the ridiculousness of the game continued with Newport this time responding swiftly through wing Gardner, who was the beneficiary of a sharp bounce from a dink over the top to cut the gap to 26-25 with half an hour left.

Morris’ dancing feet came close to earning the lead back as the frantic pace began to take its toll on the heavy units.

But those big boys soon wrestled control for the Quins with a hugely impressive, superbly-drilled 20-metre driving lineout that Newport had no answer to.

Myhill went over and Marshall converted to make it 33-25 as the game entered the final quarter.

Newport were forced into chasing the game but that put them under pressure and a strong scrum allowed Marshall to make it 36-25 from in front of the posts after 71 minutes.

There was to be no way back for the Black and Ambers, who must stew on the defeat until returning to Premiership action at Aberavon on October 12.

Newport: L ap Myrddin, E Frewen, J Morris, T Pascoe, R Gardner, M O'Brien, L Crane, L Jones, H Palmer, T Piper, A Mann, J Bartlett, J Skinner, J Reid, R Jenkins (captain). Replacements: J Jeune, L Smout, G Harris, D Partridge, R Tucker, J Guy, H Simons, A Jones.

Scorers: tries - J Skinner, J Morris, R Gardner; conversions - M O'Brien (2); penalties - M O'Brien (2)