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Newport are on the up

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Newport are the undisputed kings of Shropshire rugby after a play-off final victory that has elevated them to the top division in the Midlands. Newport are the undisputed kings of Shropshire rugby after a play-off final victory that has elevated them to the top division in the Midlands. The Fishes beat Matlock 20-5 in Saturday's Midlands Two promotion play-off final to book their spot in Midlands One next year. And they will be the highest-ranked Shropshire club - the first in the county to play at this level since Whitchurch were relegated two years ago. Read the full story in today's Shropshire Star - with more pictures 

Newport are the undisputed kings of Shropshire rugby after a play-off final victory that has elevated them to the top division in the Midlands.The Fishes beat Matlock 20-5 in Saturday's Midlands Two promotion play-off final to book their spot in Midlands One next year.

And they will be the highest-ranked Shropshire club - the first in the county to play at this level since Whitchurch were relegated two years ago.

"Our coach Ginge Wills was always looking to go out and win the league," said delighted Newport spokesman Chris Bristow.

"Even when we got to Christmas and we'd lost four times, he never lost the belief that we could do it.

"What's nice is that we've got a lot of young players in there, and they don't fear anything.

"Next year us a big, tough ask, but we're going to enjoy what we've done first. We'll be aiming to do well though, that's for sure."

A noisy crowd of around 500 crammed into Forton Road to cheer the Fishes on to victory in what was the biggest game in their history.

The hosts certainly enjoyed the perfect start, opening the scoring within five minutes.

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Newport won a penalty into the corner and a clean catch at the line out set up a driving maul. Chris Taylor broke away and reached the line for the first score, Jamie Simpson converting.

Two successful penalties from Simpson then extended the lead to 13-0 on 29 minutes, and that was still the score at the break - though Matlock did start to come into the game and were only denied by good work from Marc Millward and Watisoni Leqeti.

The Derbyshire men began the second half as they had finished the first by monopolizing possession. From a line out on half way they set up a maul and broke forward.

For the first time in the match Newport missed a couple of tackles and Matlock went over for an unconverted try to narrow Newport's lead to 13-5.

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The visitors continued in the ascendancy for seven or eight minutes, and pounded the Newport line.

The tackling and defence held firm, but they kept driving and a fantastic tackle by Newport hooker John Pular, saw the ball held up.

From the resulting scrum, the hosts were awarded a penalty and their lines cleared - and Matlock came away with no points to show for their long period of intense pressure.

As the clock wound down, Newport got back on top again and added a decisive second try with just five minutes remaining when a scrum was disrupted and the ball went loose.

Taylor was on it in a flash and picked up to score right in the corner. Not for the first time this season, Simpson converted from the touchline.

By Chris Hudson

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