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Friday, 11 January, 2002, 18:57 GMT
Newport end on a high
newport's Jason Forster takes on Liam Botham
Jason Forster beats Liam Botham on the way to the line
Newport 53-17 Newcastle

A young Newcastle side were torn apart by Newport, who scored seven tries on their way to a comprehensive victory.

Wing Matthew Watkins scored a hat-trick as the Black & Ambers finished the tournament on a high.

Despite nothing but pride riding on the result of the game, there was a fiery start.

Both sets of forwards made early forays before Newcastle prop Ian Peel was penalised and the home side's Jason Strange kicked the first three points of the match.

The large crowd were further cheered in the ninth minute when Jason Forster combined with his fellow back-row man Peter Buxton for the opening try, converted by Strange.


We had a very young side in action, but we were outgunned
Rob Andrew
Newcastle boss
Newcastle were stunned by the opening salvo, but clawed three points back with a Dave Walder penalty before conceding again.

This time a patient spell of pressure saw Andy Marinos, recently recalled into the Welsh squad, break a tackle to dive over for a try improved by Strange.

Newcastle looked to their South Seas influence of Pat Lam and Va'aiga Tuigamala to lift them, but it was Strange who kicked another penalty to put Newport 20-3 clear.

Tuigamala was taking on the Newport defence almost single-handedly and another drive by the big Samoan saw Walder drift a penalty attempt wide.

The Falcons were unable to break down the Newport rearguard and went further behind on the stroke of half-time.

Doddie Weir claims possession for Newcastle
Doddie Weir claims possession for Newcastle
After Forster had dropped a try-scoring pass, the backs strung a move together to put Matthew Watkins over in the corner for Strange to convert.

The one-way traffic continued after the interval, with Newport electing to run a kickable penalty and no 8 Andrew Powell strolling over. Strange converted to make it six out of six kicks.

Newcastle lost Liam Botham with an ankle injury - replaced by Steve Richardson - before they finally got their first try.

Scottish scrum-half Gary Armstrong wriggled his way over from close range and Walder converted to make it 34-10.

But it was only a blip in the home dominance as Watkins claimed his second try after bullocking runs from Rod Snow and Powell for Strange to notch his fifth conversion.


I was pleased with some of the tries that we scored, and the way the players are making decisions for themselves on the field
Ian McIntosh
Newport coach
A youthful Falcons side became even younger with the withdrawal of Richard Arnold and Pat Lam and their replacements Matt Holmes and Pat Dowson went straight onto the defensive.

But they were unable to stop another home forward drive and Joe Powell - on for Forster - crashed over.

The visitors wouldn't lie down though and - after Armstrong and Mike Stephenson had gone close - Walder collected his own kick ahead to score a try he converted.

Their night was summed up when Rob Devonshire was yellow-carded for obstruction and Watkins side-stepped through for his hat-trick. Strange converted to make it a great night for Newport.


Newport: Try: J Forster, A Marinos, M Watkins (3), A Powell, J Powell. Cons: J Strange (6). Pens: J Strange (2).

Newcastle: Try: G Armstrong, D Walder. Con: D Walder (2). Pen: D Walder.


Newport: S Howarth; M Mostyn, A Marinos, J Pritchard, M Watkins; J Strange, O Tonu'u; R Snow, J Richards, C Anthony, S Raiwalui (capt), I Gough, P Buxton, J Forster, A Powell.
Reps: D Pattison, P Young, M Voyle, B Breeze, M Pini, D Burn, J Powell.

Newcastle: D Richardson; L Botham, G Maclure, V Tuigamala, M Stephenson; D Walder, G Armstrong; I Peel, N Makin, M Hurter, D Weir, C Hamilton, R Arnold, R Devonshire, P Lam (capt).
Reps: S Richardson, P Dowson, J Thompson, M Holmes, M Ward, H Vyvyan.

Referee: Didier Mene (France).

Att: 8,153.

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Newport centre Andy Marinos
"It was a great team performance, and that was what we wanted"
Newport try scorer Andrew Powell
"We had a really good week leading up to the game"
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