Newport 83 Kenilworth 0
Yes, you read it correctly! The phrase "in a different league "is overused but it was entirely apposite in this case. Newport had been unlucky to be relegated from the league above last season and will make an immediate return next season having now won the league by 30 points plus, writes Peter Jones.
Newport is a club with a fine rugby tradition but it also has the good fortune to have some very generous sponsors! The side contained many players who would not look out of place several leagues above. Indeed the outstanding Henry Vaka, a Fijian centre, would not have looked out of place in the Championship. He is the outstanding player in the league and the times looked like an under 18 mixing with Kenilworth under 12's. A South African full back arriving in characteristic flip flops was an indication that this was a club whose recruitment policy went beyond the boundaries of rural Shropshire.
Newport despite its commercial success maintains its tradition of old fashioned hospitality and Kenilworth were warmly entertained beforehand with an enjoyable lunch. For the away supporters however the enjoyment stopped there as the home team systematically dissected the Kenilworth defence scoring almost that will from all parts of the field.
As an exhibition game to an impartial bystander it would have been a rewarding experience but for the visitors it was a much more chastening one. In fairness Kenilworth have a very young side. The oldest of the backs was celebrating his 24th birthday and only one of the team was aged over 30. Several of the team are aged 20 or under. More to the point they are also almost to a man home-grown boys who it is hoped will have a long future with the club
There were one or two bright spots. Joe Jepps, Mikkel Andreson and Gareth Renowden made some promising individual attacks but poor poor support play and an occasional lack of vision meant that we were unable to break our duck.
In defence the midfield of Ed Hannam and Rhys Jones struggled manfully to contain the forceful Henry Vaka and at times operated merely as a speed bump or a gently applied handbrake to Vaka's forceful bursts. Newport's team contained quality players throughout, with outstanding players at 10, 11 15 and at hooker. Kenilworth's line out functioned well with Tom Lane and Ed Rogers to the fore and for much of the game the forwards scrummaged reasonably well against a much bigger pack. As ever Mikkel Andreson, Ross Lowthian and Tommy Jones tackled well and Dan Roberts deserves praise for stepping into the front row breach to cover absences. Harry O'Brien made a solid appearance at 10 and Alex Selby fought hard at 9.
Kenilworth are secure in their mid-table position and they will no doubt not regret the prospect of not having to face Newport next season!
Next week they face their final league game away to Silhillians who are still in a big relegation battle and hope to finish the season on a high.