The phrase ‘in a different league’ is overused but it was entirely appropriate in this case, writes Peter Jones.
Newport had been unlucky to be relegated from the league above last season and will make an immediate return having won the league by 30 points plus.
The club has a fine rugby tradition but it also has the good fortune to have some very generous sponsors and their side contained many players who would not look out of place several leagues above.
Indeed, the outstanding Henry Vaka, a Fijian centre, would have looked at home in the Championship, while a South African full-back arriving in characteristic flip-flops was an indication that this was a club whose recruitment policy went beyond the boundaries of rural Shropshire.
Newport, despite their commercial success, maintain their tradition of old-fashioned hospitality and Kenilworth were warmly entertained beforehand with an enjoyable lunch.
For the away supporters, however, the enjoyment stopped there as the home team systematically dissected the Kenilworth defence, scoring almost at will from all parts of the field.
As an exhibition game to an impartial bystander, it would have been a rewarding experience but for the visitors it was a much more chastening one.
In fairness, Kenilworth have a very young side, with the oldest of their backs celebrating his 24th birthday and only one of the team aged over 30.
There were one or two bright spots for the visitors with Joe Jepps, Mikkel Andreson and Gareth Renowden making some promising individual attacks but poor support play and an occasional lack of vision meant Kenilworth were unable to break their duck.
In defence, Ed Hannam and Rhys Jones struggled manfully to contain the forceful Vaka and at times operated merely as a speed bump or a gently applied handbrake to his forceful bursts.
Ks’ lineout functioned well with Tom Lane and Ed Rogers to the fore and for much of the game the forwards scrummaged reasonably well against a much bigger pack.
However, having shipped 13 tries without reply, Kenilworth will not miss facing Newport next season.
Ks wrap up their campaign tomorrow with a trip to relegation-threatened Old Silhillians.
Kenilworth Colts withstood a spirited fightback to beat Bakers Butts 24-22.
Kenilworth looked in control when Matt Slater touched down two minutes after the interval to put them 24-10 up.
But a string of penalties forced Ks on to the back foot and they were grateful for the final whistle after the visitors had closed the deficit to two points.
Olly Jones had earlier scored two tries, with Jacob Umaga also crossing and Zack Templeton adding two conversions.