A brave young Warriors headed out of the Anglo-Welsh Cup after an entertaining 33-27 defeat by Dragons at Rodney Parade on Friday night.
Warriors scored in the first minute as Ben Howard raced through to tee up Kurt Haupt before a Howard yellow card allowed Dragons back into the contest thanks to a score for Jarryd Sage.
Ashton Hewitt then darted through for the hosts before Warriors replied through Dean Hammond and a Sam Olver penalty gave them a 17-14 lead at the break.
Zane Kirchner went over early in the second-half before Tom Howe dived over and Olver’s penalty saw Warriors lead by eight.
But tries for replacements Sarel Pretorius and Tyler Morgan edged it for the hosts late on.
Warriors got off to a sensational start as a quick Luke Baldwin lineout set the gazelle-like Howard racing forward and he galloped into the 22 before finding hooker Haupt in support to dot down.
Olver converted from wide out and Warriors continued to exert the pressure as the fly-half almost set Howard through again, only for the ball to be lost in collision to deny what looked another certain score.
The busy Warriors number 15 was then yellow-carded as he tried to intercept a pass by his own line and the hosts made the man advantage count as Sage bundled over.
Warriors weathered the storm for the next ten minutes and perhaps should have made some good field position and territory count when camped in the opposition 22.
And a missed opportunity cost them as Hewitt’s electric run from halfway gave the hosts the lead, with Kirchner landing an impressive conversion.
But Warriors soon levelled things when piling the pressure on in the 22 and Ollie Lawrence found Hammond who ran a tremendous line to glide under the posts for Olver to convert.
And stand-off Olver then went and landed a stunning 45-yard kick from the angle to put Warriors back ahead.
Dragons looked to find an answer but a youthful Warriors held firm in their 22 on several occasions to deny the hosts and went in 17-14 up at the interval.
The Newport side looked to kick in behind Warriors down the left on two occasions early in the second-half and got their reward the second time round as an awkward bouncing ball fell nicely for Kirchner to grasp and dot down.
But Warriors got their third try of the night after some positive build-up play in the 22 leading to Howe’s sixth try in six games as he powered over out wide.
Olver kept up his impeccable form from the tee with a well-struck conversion and soon landed another impressive penalty to extend the visitors’ lead to eight, with his goal-kicking stats 100 per cent for the night.
But Dragons reduced arrears when replacement scrum-half Pretorius went over after a quick-tap penalty.
Nick Schonert came off the bench to make his comeback in the last 20 minutes as Warriors looked to hold on for the win but with five minutes to go, heavy Dragons pressure resulted in Tyler Morgan diving over as the home side regained the lead.
And despite Warriors searching for a late winner, the hosts held on for the win.
Warriors | 15 Ben Howard, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Dean Hammond, 12 Ollie Lawrence, 11 Alex Hearle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Luke Baldwin; 1 Ryan Bower (C) (Milasinovich 61), 2 Kurt Haupt (Williams 30-40), 3 Simon Kerrod (Schonert 61), 4 Anton Bresler (Clegg 61), 5 Andrew Kitchener, 6 Alafoti Faosiliva (Taylor 51), 7 Matt Cox (Williams 73), 8 Tom Dodd
Replacements | 16 Matti Williams, 17 Gareth Milasinovich, 18 Nick Schonert, 19 Justin Clegg, 20 Huw Taylor, 21 George Wootten, 22 Jamie Shillcock, 23 Nick David
01m | Haupt try 0-5
02m | Olver con 0-7
09m | Sage try 5-7
10m | Kirchner con 7-7
18m | Hewitt try 12-7
19m | Kirchner con 14-7
25m | Hammond try 14-12
26m | Olver con 14-14
29m | Olver pen 14-17
44m | Kirchner try 19-17
50m | Howe try 19-22
51m | Olver con 19-24
54m | Olver pen 19-27
60m | Pretorius try 24-27
61m | Kirchner con 26-27
74m | Morgan try 31-27
75m | Kirchner con 33-27
|Competition:||Anglo Welsh Cup|