NEWPORT’S Principality Premiership title hopes took a big dent out west after they fell to an impressive Carmarthen Quins side in a ten-try thriller, writes Ian Golden.

It was only the Black and Ambers’ third loss of the second stage but their two bonus points earned from this game will give the WRU National Cup finalists some hope of catching the leaders should results go their way in the final month of the season.

Carmarthen took the lead in the seventh minute.

After winning a line-out, following a penalty kicked to touch, Ellis Lloyd went over in the corner. Aled Thomas’ conversion attempt hit the post.

They thought they’d doubled their advantage on the quarter hour. Thomas slipped the ball nicely to Josh Batcup who ran through the Newport line to ground, but the referee judged it a forward pass.

It was the Black and Ambers who levelled, Chay Smith intercepting a pass to run 40 metres and score under the sticks. Matt O’Brien easily converted to give them a 7-5 lead.

Carmarthen quickly regained the lead via a Thomas penalty from mid-way inside Newport’s half but a strong run from Haydn Palmer after intercepting near to the half-way line, gave the Black and Ambers their second try. O’Brien sliced the conversion attempt wide.

The home side quickly hit back in this see-saw half, Rhodri Clancy scoring in the corner and Thomas converting.

The real gamebreaker came on 34 minutes when Josh Reid received a yellow card for a tip tackle. Carmarthen took full advantage of the extra space, scoring three more tries in those 10 minutes.

First Nic Reynolds ran through and Thomas improved with the bonus point try coming before the break, this one through Lee Taylor and Thomas converted again to give them a strong 29-12 interval lead.

Carmarthen came storming out of the blocks in the second half and Josh Batcup soon registered their fifth try with Thomas converting.

The Newport comeback started on 58 minutes. Alex Everett notched a good individual try that O’Brien improved.

Haydn Simons then ran over for Newport’s bonus point try on 67 minutes. O’Brien converted to bring the score back to 36-26.

Then with two minutes to go, Joe Bartlett broke through the Carmarthen backline to score under the sticks. O’Brien converted and suddenly it was 36-33.

However time ran out for the Black and Ambers and Carmarthen held on.

Carmarthen Quins: A Thomas (D Morgans 57); D Ford, N Reynolds (M Griffiths 59), J Batcup, J Price; J Wilson (S Marshall 62), A Hemmings; G Robinson (J Sebastian 51), R Clancy (D Booth 47), S L Thomas (N Williams 57); L Taylor, H Pugh (R Bloomfield 62), S Jones, E Lloyd (G Davies 59), L Reynolds.

Scorers – Tries: E Lloyd, R Clancy, N Reynolds, L Taylor, J Batcup; Cons: A Thomas (4); Pen: A Thomas Newport: G O'Driscoll (J Morris 52); E Frewen (H Simons 52), C Smith, Haydn Palmer, H Lang; M O'Brien, O Davies (R James 59); N Boyce (T Piper 40), Henry Palmer (E Whitson 47), N Thomas (M Prosser 49), A Mann, D Partridge (J Bartlett 53), M Burgess (J Culimore 47), J Reid, A Everett.

Scorers – Tries: C Smith, Haydn Palmer, A Everett, H Simons, J Bartlett; Cons: M O’Brien (4) Newport star man: Haydn Simons