Newport HSOB 10-40 Caerphilly
Saturday May 6, Caerleon
Caerphilly secured promotion from Division 3 East A with a six-try victory over Newport HSOB on Saturday May 6.
The Castlemen retained their focus after a mid-week bonus-point win against Oakdale to ensure they achieved their pre-season target, needing just a solitary point to confirm their place in Division 2 East.
Anxiety to get the job done may have contributed to some early mistakes by Caerphilly, as they failed to collect the kick-off and found themselves under sustained pressure from the Old Boys.
The defence held firm, restricting the home side to a three-point advantage.
At the end of the first quarter, the Castlemen finally made their mark on the match.
Quick ball off the lineout allowed winger Lewis Willacott to make inroads on the flank, drawing in defenders to put scrum-half Jac Jonathan into space under the posts.
Outside-half Matthew Hurley converted the first of his 18-point tally.
Next over the line was the young centre, Gethin Evans, who stepped up at the final hour after a late withdrawal. Powering over from ten metres, Evans stretched to place the ball over the line.
Hurley added the extras, and Caerphilly doubled their lead.
With five minutes of the first half remaining, the visitors rushed to a quickly-taken lineout, and flanker Josh Williams crossed before the Newport defence had time to take stock of what had happened.
The scores were 3-19 at the interval, and Caerphilly could almost smell promotion.
In the space of ten second-half minutes, Willacott sent the Green Army into raptures with two tries in the same corner, provided first by full-back Tom Candy and then by an unexpected out-the-back pass from loosehead prop Stuart Williams.
The Old Boys managed a consolation try on 56 minutes as they turned pressure into points when second-row Kieran Hunt went over from a series of penalties and scrums in the 22-metre area. Outside-half Niall Martin converted the extras.
However, it was Caerphilly who would have the last say, as Hurley grabbed the final try with 10 minutes remaining, breaking through from close as Evans was hauled down inches from the line.
Despite securing promotion, the Castlemen now have the league title in their sights, trailing leaders Hartridge by two points with two games in hand against Chepstow and Usk – in fifth and fourth respectively.
• Match report and photography by Mark Tamplin of Caerphilly RFC.