"by Roger Panting"
"Can Dunvant spoil the party? There have been many examples in the past of last day league surprises. Newport themselves have beaten hot favourites Cardiff on two occasions, including wrecking their Championship winning celebration at the Arms Park. Swansea have also lost at home to Abertillery, so what chance today of Dunvant being party poopers?"
"Newport have every reason to celebrate what they have achieved to date so far this season. Their first ever European Cup Qualification has already been secured and a win today would see them with a final league placing of runners up, unless Llanelli have won at Cardiff and proceed to beat both Edinburgh and Pontypridd. In addition, Newport are really on top or their game at present. Their performances in recent weeks have been a joy to behold and I'm positive the supporters do not want the season to end as they are now basking in reflected glory after so many disappointments in the past."
"Before travelling to Dunvant last Saturday I was able to take in the first half of the Glasgow game when Newport blew away their opponents in a display of pace and skill. Andy Marinos took his try tally to twelve - one behind Ben Breeze - and unless Nick Walne or Craig Morgan, the Cardiff pair, have a late burst it looks like the two Newport players have it between them to be the league's top try scorer. (We'll have to see if Marinos gives the ball to Ben.) Dale Burn at last got some of the plaudits with four tries, including an excellent solo effort, and there is no doubt that had not Newport chosen to bring on a whole host of replacements, Glasgow would have been on the receiving end of a cricket score."
"At Dunvant everybody expected a cricket score as Dunvant had lost 116-0 to Cardiff only five weeks earlier against the same opponents, but they played with tremendous spirit and probably gave their best display of the season to lead 18-12 after nearly an hour. Cardiff eventually won 36-23 but were flattered by the scoreline as the normally reliable Mark Thomas, the Dunvant outside half, missed a few kicks, which would have put even greater pressure on Cardiff. A similar performance today would test Newport as Dunvant are well aware that a defeat would see them relegated, provided Pontypridd win at Caerphilly."
"Franco Smith and Damian Cummins are making their last appearances and all at Newport will wish them well and thank them for all their efforts on behalf of the club. It's a pity that Damian has to go now, just as we are getting a better spell of weather, although Bondi has a slightly better beach than at Barry!"
"All Newport supporters will also wish me to convey their sincere thanks to Tony Brown and his board of directors, Allan Lewis, the Director of Rugby, and the team in ensuring that this season was no false dawn. After taking time to settle, and there were disappointments at Pontypridd and Ebbw Vale in particular, the team are now playing beyond the wildest dreams of those who had watched Newport lose to Caerphilly for the fifth time in a season back in May 1999 . . . remember, it's only a year ago and now Newport are back where they belong after too many years in the wilderness."
"It seems likely that Tony Brown will have to lay out further expenditure in the close season, for Allan Lewis is taking nothing for granted. He recently said, "The current squad is not strong enough to make an impact in the European Cup. We were good enough to qualify, there is no doubt about that, but we do need to recruit players because we do not have sufficient strength in depth. We will only be allowed to have two overseas players in our 22 in Europe and that will create problems, but we will have to improve our resources in a number of areas." This summer it will be interesting to see who is recruited, but for now it's on with the party - and let's hope Dunvant don't spoil it!"
"Dunvant Rugby Football Club"
"On Easter Saturday when Dunvant defeated Caerphilly to leap frog them in the table all at Dunvant must have presumed that they would avoid relegation. However last Friday week Caerphilly went to the Gnoll and picked up a point from a shock draw and Dunvant went back to the bottom. Dunvant have won only three matches all season, that home league win against Caerphilly, Rhymney in the Welsh Cup & Aurillac in the European Shield, they have not won away from Broadacre."
"Nicky Lloyd, a former favourite with Newport supporters for his commitment and tenacity led the side last week when he was partnered by Mark Thomas, a loyal servant of the club, who is their top scorer in the league with 81 points. Anthony Rees and Darren Berry are lively wingers whilst in the pack Dunvant rely heavily on Kati Tu'ipulotu, their Tongan No. 8 and Welsh under 21 hooker Craig Hawkins. Emori Katalau, at lock, another South Sea Islander has already returned home but prop Faletau remains and from that position he has scored four league tries including two at Stradey Park. However he may be absent today as an ankle injury caused him to retire after only 5 minutes against Cardiff last week."
"Tony Brown, Chief Executive"
"A Thank You from Tony Brown"
"We've done it! We have finished in the top four of the Welsh/Scottish League and qualified for the prestigious Heineken Cup for the first time. What an achievement and what an improvement on last year. It has been a huge team effort, not only on the pitch but off it as well."
"While I take my hat off to Gary Teichmann, Allan Lewis and the rest of the playing and coaching squad, I have to say one of the biggest thrills I nave had this season is witnessing the re-birth of the Newport support. Our supporters have been fantastic and I am sure that when the 2000/2001 season opens, Gary and his team will be playing to the biggest crowds in Wales. The potential of this club is enormous and it is my hope that we can all play a part in fulfilling that potential."
"There are exciting things planned for next season, off the field as well as on it. . . new family covered stands, the family village, new signings and a new ticketing system. It's all happening at Rodney Parade. To this end we would like to keep all our supporters fully up-to-date on all developments and activities at the club and in order to do this, if you have not done it already, please fill in one of the database forms included with today's match programme. Fill it in and return it to one of the collection boxes in the club bars, shop and office. This will enable you to be fully aware of any club news and offers available."
"This season has been fantastic - but next season will be even better when we will test ourselves against the cream of European rugby. I can't wait . . . and I am sure you can't either."