Cross Keys suffered their second defeat on the road this season as Bargoed claimed their first victory of the campaign following a low quality encounter at Bargoed Park.
On a miserable, wet day, The Keys spent almost the entire first half camped in the home side’s 22 but time and time again despite several chances coming their way Keys couldn’t deliver the killer blow from a series of close range lineouts. Keys were adjudged to be held up on least 4 occasions when it looked as though they had crossed the whitewash. Skipper Damian Welch was in possession on 2 of those occasions whilst Joe Thomas and Richard Cornock were also both held up over the line.
With all the chances coming Keys way, they had a good chance midway through the half when outside half Jason Tovey launched a cross field kick on the Bulls 22 but Keys wing Mason Williams couldn’t quite pluck the ball out of the air to do the rest to score and the game stayed scoreless right up until the final play of a frustrating first half.
The home side had prop John Lavender sent to the sin bin for an offence around his own 22. Lavender shown the yellow card as a result of a dangerous tackle and one too many telling offs from referee Gwyn Morris. Keys once again kicked to the corner and secured their own ball at the lineout and this time the driving lineout proved crucial as hooker Rhydian Jenkins not only found his man at the lineout but was also on hand to claim possession at the back of the maul and crashed over for the first points of the day. Jason Tovey added the extras from the right hand side of the posts.
Half Time Score Bargoed 0 Cross Keys 7
The second half certainly seemed to be a lot more even as the home side started to enjoy more possession as well entering Keys’ territory on a more regular basis.
Keys had prop Richard Cornock sent to the sin bin 10 minutes in to the second half after a breakdown offence. The 14 men of Keys coped with what Bargoed had to throw at them as the increasingly difficult conditions really began to take effect.
The Bulls finally got on the scoreboard almost 20 minutes in to the half when a speculative up and under kick forward from former Keys outside half Josh Prosser from the halfway line was chased by his fellow former Keys team-mate Barney Nightingale and he was able to secure the ball in the air and his chase allowed him to strike under the posts for the Bulls’ first score of the day. Prosser struck the conversion to level the scores with 20 minutes remaining.
The Keys didn’t push the panic button and regained the lead when Jason Tovey kicked a penalty on the hour mark after Bargoed went offside with Keys looking to attack midway in to the Bulls’ half. Just 5 minutes later the Bulls took the lead for the first time as a driving lineout saw their skipper Louis Blacker emerge with the ball after referee Gwyn Morris awarded a try. Josh Prosser added the extras to edge his side further ahead.
With 10 minutes remaining Prosser furthered his side’s lead with a penalty after Keys were penalised for being off side around their own 22. The Bulls victory was all but secured with a second Prosser penalty just 5 minutes from the end.
Crucially Keys enjoyed the better of the closing stages and Jason Tovey’s penalty which was kicked after Bargoed offended at scrum time secured a losing bonus point, something which might prove vital later in the season.
Overall this defeat was probably the one that got away and shows just how crucial it is to take the chances that come your way. However the fact that Keys rescued a losing bonus point may well be vital later in the campaign.
Tries: Barney Nightingale & Louis Blacker
Conversions: Josh Prosser (x2)
Penalties: Josh Prosser (x2)
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Try: Rhydian Jenkins
Conversion: Jason Tovey
Penalties: Jason Tovey (x2)