Derby travelled to Forten Road, to play 3rd place Newport, still looking for their first win since they last played Newport before Christmas.
Dan Woods made his first appearance of the season, in the centre, while Sam Pittman returned to the side. Jake Bates made his first appearance of the year from the bench.
Newport kicked off, but it was Derby who made a superb start. Charlie Barker made a break and the move was only stopped illegally. The penalty was kicked to the corner and the line out caught. Derby then drove over the line with skipper Martin Kent touching down for his 5th try of the season. George Castledine added a superb touchline conversion.
Newport were level after 17 minutes with a converted try of their own, thanks to the excellent Vaka. Derby had also lost 2 players to injury at this stage, with both Jake Barker and Sam Pittman being forced off.
Derby continued to press and were rewarded, after 24 minutes, with a penalty under the posts, which George Castledine kicked, to give Derby the lead again.
The following 15 minutes took the game away from Derby, with Newport scoring 3 tries and converting twice, to lead 26 – 10.
Derby hit back just before the break with a multi-phase move which ended in an excellent try. McGrath Van Wyk and Ryan Milton were both prominent; before Josh Tizard scored his 6th try of the season. George Castledine converted taking him to 100 points for the season.
Half time saw Newport 26 – 17 ahead.
That was as good as it got for Derby as despite some promising attacks, they were unable to add to their half time score.
Newport added 4 converted tries to put the game to bed.
Derby played with great heart and commitment against a bigger, heavier, taller side. Newport thoroughly deserved to win and cemented third place.
Derby finish the season against 7th place Nuneaton, at Haslams next Saturday.
Come on Derby !
Match Report by Richard Bambra