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News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm

By Tom Carmichael
January 26 2014

Travelling to support the Saints in the LV Cup tends to be a minority occupation . The hardy few had a tale to tell as the Saints saw off a plucky Dragons team after a storm of biblical proportions . It was quite decent weather as I crossed the bridge into Wales paying £6.40 for the privilege. Although the wind and rain made an appearance as I parked up close to the ground , no-one could have predicted what was to follow from the skies .    

LV= Cup Round 3

Newport Gwent Dragons v Northampton Saints

Saturday 25th January 2014, KO 3.00 pm


Dragons 16 - Saints 34

Newport apparently is a city nowadays and there’s a feeling of optimism at Rodney Parade . Although the training ground has a rundown feel about it and the Main Stand remains, the new Bishley Stand has hospitality suites , gives an impressive view at reasonable prices and the thirsty can seek refreshment in the concrete corridor beneath the stand . The Dragons are well coached, have reached mid-table in the Rabo and are a tough nut to crack at home . A decent and good-spirited crowd filled the seats and terraces . Worried that Row A would not be the best slot for my reporting efforts , I sought a higher perch ; it turned out to be a wise move .

As the game got under way , pitch conditions were tricky with the wind strongly in the Dragons’ favour . Decent handling was always going to be difficult. An early Saints scrum sent the Dragons pack back at pace and set the tone for the match. Our strength in depth at prop is becoming apparent . The four Saints props had only one first team start between them prior to this game and it was debut for Danny Hobbs-Awoyemi and Adam Parkins. Dorian’s conveyor belt is operating very smoothly.We had a penalty try from a scrum and a try from a super pick up by Fats Autagavaia to set against three wind-assisted penalties from Jason Tovey.

The yellow-carded Teimana Harrison had just made it to the stand when an apocalyptic storm hit the ground. The teams were bombarded by horizontal hail and referee, Andrew Small, had no hesitation in taking them off the field . The occupants of Row A and many others took shelter in the concrete corridor whilst the tannoy played “Rain Drops Keep Falling on my Head.” At least the stands and surrounds stayed in one piece; unlike events at the Stoop.ail

The players returned but half the pitch had become lake-like in several places. It was announced that  Mr Small would make a decision about the game at half-time . Apparently finances had dried up half way through the summer drainage work and only half the pitch was completed. Fortunately the Saints were due to defend the deep end and it was unlikely to see much second half action.

The Dragons did claw back a try for the lead just on half time but with the second half wind behind them , it was surely just a matter of time for the Saints.

Forsaking kicks at goal , the driving maul became a key tactic. One was used to retake the lead through a Mikey Haywood try after 45 minutes and the sun made an appearance blinding the denizens of the Bishley Stand and forcing me to switch headgear from Saints woolly hat to Saints cap. More forward domination and a delighted Gareth Denman slid in for his first Saints try.

The Dragons never gave up and strong Saints defence was needed to deny them. The young replacement props announced their arrival by shoving the Dragons backwards on their own ball.


Another driving maul led to a try for the impressive GJ van Velze who appears  to be Worcester-bound. We’ll certainly need him in the remainder of the season . But with Harrison everywhere, Ben Nutley returning from injury and American Cam Dolan close to being ready (he was travelling reserve today) , we’re not short of back row cover.

There was just time for Wardle and Ken Pisi to aquaplane over the line simultaneously line with the TMO ruling against a Dragons’ try.

How the forwards must have loved this game .The half backs controlled things well with Glen Dickson growing into the role at fly half. The poor three quarters hardly got a touch. It reminded me of playing for the school in the late 1960s.

Just time for a quick visit to my sister in Abergavenny (probably the only N’pton-born resident) and a 200 miles trip home to Kent listening to a little bit of boring footie , an interesting programme on a Boston art heist and the Absolute Radio Classic Rock Show ; Twisted Sister were on …just a coincidence , of course.


Jim and Christian Day say:-



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News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm (IP Logged)
26/01/2014 18:44
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Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
OldPete (IP Logged)
26/01/2014 21:13
great report - in difficult conditions

but one thing bothers me - can the ball be adjudged to be grounded for a try when it is probably floating?

Flinstone Saint
Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
Flinstone Saint (IP Logged)
26/01/2014 21:14
Thank you so much for your report Tom. Much appreciated and an excellent one at that too.


Please sponsor me for Saints with Heart []

Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
CraiginWootton (IP Logged)
26/01/2014 22:22
Nicely summed!

Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
riverlodge (IP Logged)
26/01/2014 22:43
poor old daisy, cold or what!

Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
Dave Jackson (IP Logged)
27/01/2014 06:33
Good report Tom and well done for braving the elements.

Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
StBleach (IP Logged)
27/01/2014 07:28
Nice job, im always full of admiration for those that make these sort of trips.

Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
40:20 (IP Logged)
27/01/2014 08:51
Good summary - I was there supporting the Dragons but Saints deserved their win and your report is a good synopsis and an excellent read.

Dragons have plenty of bars around the ground at least!!

Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
Connorman (IP Logged)
27/01/2014 10:25
Good report, thank you Tom. I had no issue at all with the TV pundits giving Daisy MOTM but for me it was fantastic to see Teimana Harrison in full cry. A bit to learn, obviously, but what an athlete.

Casual Saint
Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
Casual Saint (IP Logged)
27/01/2014 12:05
An excellent report sir, even more so considering the weather. I am surprised that your note book was not paper mache by the end.

Once a scrum half .... always a scrum half

Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
St Marlowe (IP Logged)
27/01/2014 12:10
Was not able to attend this. Due to inconsiderate wedding plans! Thank you for a good read

David L

What if there were no hypothetical questions?

- Live wrong and preposterously

Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
saintcobbler (IP Logged)
27/01/2014 13:40
Hi Tom. So you live in Kent. Anywhere near Whitstable by any chance?

Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
tws (IP Logged)
27/01/2014 14:08
Hi Tom. So you live in Kent. Anywhere near Whitstable by any chance?

Nowhere near , sorry . Tunbridge Wells . But Northampton born and bred.

Re: News: Saints Slay Dragons after Monster Storm
saintcobbler (IP Logged)
28/01/2014 15:44
Me too (Northampton Born and Bred). Living in Whitstable unfortunately restricts the number of games I can attend.

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