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Friday, 30 August, 2002, 19:53 GMT 20:53 UK
Bridgend reign in the rain
Sililo Martens, the Bridgend scrum-half
Sililo Martens enjoyed a good Bridgend debut
Newport 5-13 Bridgend

Bridgend's summer spending paid immediate dividends for the Ravens as they shocked Newport at Rodney Parade.

The visitors, parading seven new signings, held off intense home pressure to record a gutsy victory.

Pouring rain and a strong wind welcomed the new season, and the home side were quickly on the attack.

Bridgend took time to gel both Andrew Powell and Andrew Wagstaff wasted chances to give Newport the lead.

Despite playing against the conditions, the Black & Ambers had the majority of early possession but failed to trouble the scorers.

  Match details
Newport (0) 5
Tries: J Forster
Bridgend (10) 13
Tries: D James
Cons: Warlow
Pens: Warlow (2)
In fact, Bridgend missed a golden opportunity to go ahead when wing Richard Mustoe knocked on after the home defence had been opened up by Sililo Martens.

They didn't waste their next opportunity, though.

Good work by the pack set up the chance, and British Lion Dafydd James sped through a huge gap to score. Craig Warlow converted to make it 7-0.

The conditions caused frustration among the players, with Bridgend captain Gareth Thomas and scrum-half Martens penalised for dissent.

But the Ravens extended their half-time lead to 10-0 with Warlow kicking a long-range penalty.

With the elements in their favour, Newport went straight onto the attack after the interval.

Shane Howarth put a penalty attempt wide before Jason Forster's kick-and-chase ended with Warlow saving the day by touching down.

Andy Marinos feels the pain as Gareth Thomas challenges
Andy Marinos feels the pain as Gareth Thomas challenges

Howarth then missed another kick after Simon Mannix was yellow-carded for killing the ball, before Warlow was successful to make it 13-0.

Newport replaced Matt Pini with Jason Strange, and moved Howarth to full-back in an attempt to gain some impetus. while Alix Popham come on for debutant Steve Ojomoh.

The result was even more pressure from Newport, but they continued to miss out until the 76th minute when Forster touched down for a try.

It appeared the flanker had lost control of the ball just before the line, but referee Andrew Ireland was happy to give the score.

Warlow then had a dropped goal attempt charged down and Matt Mostyn raced clear only to be tackled by Matt James as the Irish international looked set to score.

Despite Hal Luscombe going close, Bridgend held out to get their season off to a perfect start.


Newport: M Pini; M Mostyn, H Luscombe, A Marinos, A Wagstaff; S Howarth, L Lane; C Jones, J Richards, A Garvey, S Raiwalui (capt), M Voyle, S Ojomoh, A Powell, J Forster.
Reps: C Anthony, P Young, M Veater, A Popham, S Williams, J Strange, D Burn.

Bridgend: M James; C Warlow, D James, G Thomas (capt), R Mustoe; S Mannix, S Martens; P Booth, G Williams, C Horsman, A Moore, D Jones, M Molitika, C Harris, N Budgett.
Reps: A Carter, J Funnell, H Harries, C Loader, A Joy, O Lloyd, S van Rensburg.

Referee: Andrew Ireland (Scotland).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Bridgend coach Richard Webster
"The players showed a lot of heart"
Newport's Leigh Jones
"We don't seem to have much confidence"

The final

SEASON STATS

AUDIO VIDEO

TALKING RUGBY
Links to more Celtic stories are at the foot of the page.


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