NEWPORT slipped to their first defeat of the season in the Indigo Group Premiership as they had to settle for a losing bonus point at the Talbot Athletic Ground.

Something had to give with both teams eager to continue their winning start and a close encounter could be predicted, especially considering the 13-13 draw between the two teams in the corresponding fixture last season.

And so it proved but, on this occasion, Aberavon left it late to clinch the win.

The Wizards made an early breakthrough, hooker Ieuan Davies the unlikely finisher of a wide attack, with his try converted by Aled Thomas.

Both sides showed plenty of zip and vigour in their play but the home side adding the required cutting edge, squeezing their opponents in the set pieces for outside half Thomas to slot over a penalty.

The Newport response was, however, emphatic; full-back David Richards firstly spinning out of a tackle to score and then winger Harri Lang sniping in from an attacking scrum. The first try was converted by Matt O’Brien.

Aberavon, in their attempts to recover, were conceding turnovers and costly handling errors, the Black and Ambers holding out for a 12-10 interval lead.

The visitors were under pressure as play resumed, conceding penalties and having No.8 Josh Skinner dispatched to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock-on. Home outside half Aled Thomas slotted a kick between the posts having uncharacteristically missed with a couple of earlier attempts.

With weather conditions deteriorating, so was the standard of play, the contest high on intensity but often short on class.

Aberavon could claim an edge on territory and possession going into the final quarter, protecting a precarious one-point lead, but rarely threatening their opponents’ try line.

It was a long range Aled Thomas penalty that finally broke the deadlock, enabling his team to apply concerted late pressure in the Newport twenty-two.

At close of play, deep into injury time, the Wizards had by sheer hard graft more than any kind of magic, managed to hold out for a valuable home win.

Aberavon: Jon Phillips (James Garland); Aled Rees (Garyn Payne), Chay Smith, Joe Gage, Stef Andrews; Aled Thomas, Rhodri Cole (Dan Davies). Rowan Jenkins (Rhys Thomas), Ieuan Davies (Luke Davies), Chris Davies, Rhodri Hughes, Sam Williams (Shay Smallman), Lee Purnell, Lloyd Evans (Joe Tomalin-Reeves), Ashton Evans.

Try: Ieuan Davies; Con: Aled Thomas; Pens: Aled Thomas (3)

Newport: David Richards; Ryan Gardner, Harri Griffiths, Adam Jones (Geraint O’Driscoll), Harri Lang (Elliot Frewen); Matt O'Brien, Luke Crane; Lewis Smout, Henry Palmer (Brodie Coughlin temp / Jamie Jeune), Garin Harris (Louis Jones), Joe Bartlett, Dan Partridge, Andrew Mann (Kyle Tayler), Rhys Jenkins (James Sheeky), Josh Skinner.

Tries: David Richards, Harri Lang, Con: Matt O’Brien.

Star men: Aled Thomas (Aberavon); David Richards (Newport)