The Western Mail of 17th January 1879 reported the game as follows:-
"SOUTH WALES CHALLENGE CUP"
"MERTHYR v. NEWPORT. _ This match was played on Thursday, at Newport, being the last the both clubs had to play to entitle one or the other to compete in the final match for the South Wales Challenge Cup. There was a large number of spectators present to witness the contest, and the weather was everything that could be wished for overhead, but, owing to the severe frost and sudden thaw, the ground was in a very rotten state, which made it exceedingly heavy-going for the running men. At three o'clock sharp the captain (J. Forrester) of the visitors started the leather well into the home team's quarters, but it was immediately returned by the Newport backs to more neutral territory, and well dribbled up, obliging the Merthyr men to touch down in self-defence twice in quick succession. The next point was a free catch by F. Phillips, which Ponsford endeavoured to convert into a goal, but was not successful. Newman now made a good run, and immediately after Rosser obtained a splendid try, but F. Phillips failed to kick the leather over the bar. Evans (Rhymney) showed magnificent form at this point of the game, but did not manage to score for his side. Rosser (of Newport) soon after this obtained a second try, which F. Phillips, from a very difficult place, converted into a splendid goal. This play was immediately followed by a third try for the home team by Spittle, after a good run; but the goal was not obtained. The next point scored was a try by A. F. Goss, and F. Phillips was again successful in kicking the ball over the bar, although the place was of the most difficult character. Half time was now called, and after the usual interval and the welcome lemon the game was re-commenced. Newport soon had it all their own way, , and tries were obtained by F. Phillips, C. H. Newman, E. Jenkins and G. Rosser, but neither of them were converted into goals owing to the difficult places and slimy state of the ball. For Newport all played well, and on behalf of Merthyr Evans (Rhymney) played a grand uphill game, and had he been well backed up on one or two occasions would have, without a doubt, scored for his side. Forrester, Osgood, and J. H. Jones also did their best to avert defeat. At the call of no side the score stood thus:- Newport: two goals, six tries, obtained by Rosser, Spittle, Newman, Goss, F. Phillips, and E. Jenkins, and the visitors had to touch down 11 times in self-defence to nil. The Newport team consisted of C. F. Thompson, back; F. Phillips, and C. H. Newman, three-quarter backs; G. Rosser, half-back; T. Spittle and A. F. Goss, quarter-backs; W. Phillips (captain), G. F. Harding, A. Goss, Ll. Evans, E. Jenkins, J. Boddington, W. Ponsford, H. Lyne, and R. Rogers, forwards; Richard Mullock, umpire. Merthyr: D. Harris and J. James, backs; Matthews and Harris, half-backs; Evans (Rhymney) and J. H. Jones, quarter-backs; J. Forrester (captain), J. Thomas, R. James, A. Phillips, B. Phillips, D. Jones, S. Osgood, Pritchard and E. Davies, forwards. E. A. Johnson, umpire. Mr. Chas. Sutton of Neath, was the referee. Newport has now played three ties, and it is to be regretted that Swansea and Neath cannot settle their petty dispute and play their first tie; if they do not settle the matter soon we shall not be surprised to hear that Newport and Cardiff will consider that they are the two clubs entitled to play in the final match for the challenge cup, and it will be nothing more than Swansea and Neath deserve. We believe they have both played club matches since their dispute after the last drawn match."