The score line may suggest to those who did not witness the game, that the Blues were well beaten. This, however, was most certainly not the case, as for 3/4 of the game there was nothing between the sides, with Newport holding a slender 8-12 lead. Three late scores saw the visitors draw clear, but Kettering have many positives to take from this defeat, and they will have learnt a great deal about life at this level from one of the favourites for promotion this season.
Kettering took the lead on 5 minutes with a Joe Daniel penalty, and the score line remained 3-0 until pressure from Newport finally told and they scored a converted try to take the lead, 3-7. With half-time beckoning the visitors scored wide out to take a 3-12 lead into the break.
The game still ebbed and flowed, with Kettering’s running game threatening to close the gap. And this was the case when a great line by Alex Bayley saw the wing forward burst through a gap in the Newport defence for a fine, unconverted try, on 53 minutes. 8-12.
On the hour, though, Newport extended their lead with a third converted try, as they outflanked the home defence. 8-19.
Then, on 70 minutes, the decisive score of the game came when a great attacking move by the Blues was stopped illegally, and when scrum half, Tasker Stables, took a quick penalty, he was clearly impeded by an encroaching defender. The referee missed the offence, and Newport turned the ball over, counter attacked and scored from 75 metres. The conversion added salt to the Blues wounds and the game was finally out of reach. 8-26.
Newport added a further score in the final minute as the home side tired, and whilst the score line flattered the visitors, they were deserved winners and showed the Blues what they need to achieve to be real contenders at this level.
Kettering 8 - 33 Newport
RAJ Man of the Match : Jordan Butlin.