Phillips, who is part of the Wales World Cup coaching team, was at the Gnoll to see his side send out a stern warning to their rivals and was full of admiration for the work stand-in coach Jason Forster has been doing in his absence.
"I was very pleased with that as a first outing. We've done a lot of hard work in the summer and it paid off for us," said Phillips.
Former Wales outside half Arwel Thomas showed he has lost none of his sparkle as he helped himself to 15 points with three conversions and three penalties. New outside half recruit Howard Thomas, who joined in the summer from Konica Minolta Cup holders Llandovery, marked his Neath league debut with a conversion after coming on as a replacement.
Last season's runners-up Ebbw Vale were pipped 26-25 at home by Swansea in a game in which they lost lock Neil Edwards midway through the first half when he was sent off for kicking. Swansea lost skipper Gareth Newman with a serious achilles injury, but replacement No.8 Steffan Edwards came up with two tries to add to one from wing Nick Jones.
Former Osprey Damian Karuana pitched in with two drop goals and Ricky Williams added a penalty and conversion.
Glamorgan Wanderers picked up a try bonus in their 41-29 home win over Maesteg. Charlie Johnson and Simon Rosser both scored twice and Gareth Morris and Richard Thomas also crossed the Maesteg line. The visitors had 19 points from Gareth Owen to boost their scoreline.
Last season's bottom team, Llandovery, had an amazing 6-3 win at Newport. The Cup winners were 6-3 ahead at the interval, had three players sent to the sin-bin in the second half yet still hung on to win.
Cardiff were 35-21 winners at Cross Keys where outside half Craig Evans kicked six penalties and a conversion. Former Bridgend skipper Adam Whitney got the first Cardiff try after only two minutes and Adam Powell and Wales U19 star Leigh Halfpenny got the others. Former Cardiff fullback Leon Andrews kicked 11 points against his old club and David James and Marcus Johnstone ran in the Keys tries.
Llanelli gave new coach John Davies the perfect start with a 26-13 victory at Aberavon. Dan Godfrey and skipper Craig Hawkins grabbed first-half tries as the Scarlets raced into a 23-10 interval lead. Dan Evans converted both tries and added three penalties and then knocked over a fourth penalty in the second half to make victory safe.
The Wizards, with new coach Simon King in charge, also scored two tries, through Jamie Davies and Richard Carter. King's old club, now being coached by Phil John and Dale McIntosh, were 21-12 winners at Bedwas, where they were forced to overcome a 7-3 interval deficit.