Cross Keys suffered a 5th successive defeat as fellow strugglers, Bedwas ultimately showed more hunger and desire to claim the win at Pandy Park as Keys were yet again left to rue a torrid display at scrum time along with several instances of basic individual errors that proved costly.
It took just 2 minutes for the scoreboard to be called in to action as Bedwas, attacking the clubhouse end took the lead when full back Joseph Scrivens struck over a penalty. That penalty was cancelled out just 2 minutes later as Jason Tovey pulled Keys level with a penalty of his own from around 40 metres from goal.
The Keys did look more threatening with the ball in hand than the visitors early on and with 10 minutes played Keys crossed for the game’s first try when some neat movement bought Keys in field from the touchline and Jason Tovey delivered a perfectly executed pass to former Bedwas man Rory Budina and the winger did the rest to score under the posts against his old side for an excellently worked try which Tovey then converted to further Keys’ lead.
The Keys then crossed for their second try as Bedwas spilled the ball when looking to attack, after claiming the ball back following the restart. The ball was lost as Bedwas entered the Keys 22 and impressive Keys number 8 Garin Price picked up the loose ball before racing away with a clear pitch ahead of him from around 75 metres to cross for a superb opportunist try, which Tovey then converted with around 13 minutes played.
Bedwas responded well and didn’t let their heads drop when clawed their way back in to the game. The visitors scrum, which, it must be said destroyed Keys throughout the afternoon paved the way for a burst up field and good field position saw scrum half Tom Rowlands burst through to cross near the posts for the visitors’ first try of the day. Joseph Scrivens adding the conversion with 20 minutes on the clock.
With Keys struggling for any platform thanks to their troubles at the scrum, Bedwas kept Keys pinned back and were soon level when following a break from another powerful scrum flanker Nathan Hudd pounced to score a second try for the visitors which Scrivens duly converted with a little over 30 minutes played.
With the scrum becoming more and more dominant for the visitors Keys were seemingly getting nowhere and it was little surprise when just before the break the visitors reclaimed the lead when scrum half Tom Rowlands broke free and crossed for his second try of the game which Scrivens again converted to further the Bedwas lead, which judging by their dominance at scrum time they fully deserved.
Half time score Cross Keys 17 Bedwas 24
The early stages of the second half saw Keys dominate, especially as scrums proved to be non-existent early on meaning Keys looked in scintillating attacking form with ball in hand. Keys earned a penalty with just 2 minutes of the half played and Jason Tovey opted for a shot at goal to close the gap which is duly did with the straight forward kick.
From the restart Keys attacked almost immediately and set up field position in the Bedwas 22. A drive forward from a close range lineout saw Tovey eventually pick out centre Srdan Majkic who picked a fine running line and angle as he crossed in front of the scoreboard for Keys’ 3rd try to see the Keys reclaim the lead with just 5 minutes of the second half played. Tovey was again on target with the tricky conversion.
The Keys early dominance of the second half continued following the restart as they again made their way down field before some excellent interplay saw Srdan Majkic burst forward over the halfway line before offloading to Tovey who had Garin Price outside him before they exchanged passes once more which led to Price going over in scoreboard corner for his second and a fine team try which secured Keys’ bonus point with around 30 minutes remaining. Jason Tovey again nailing the conversion from out wide.
The Keys failed to really exit their own territory from the restart, and following yet another dominant Bedwas scrum on the Keys 5 metre line the visitors closed the gap and secured a bonus point of their own when the referee was left with little choice but to go under the posts to award a converted penalty try with around 28 minutes remaining.
Joseph Scrivens added a penalty with 20 minutes left which tied the scores to ensure an exciting final quarter. With 15 minutes remaining what appeared to be a speculative kick to nothing from Bedwas saw the ball spilled in their own 22 by Keys’ scrambling defence and the visitors’ winger George Gasson got to the ball first to kick through and then win the foot race to touch down for the try which Scrivens converted from the left of the posts.
Despite a series of penalties in the Bedwas 22 during the final 10 minutes Keys couldn’t make the chances count and eventually Bedwas cleared their lines and put the nail firmly in Keys coffin when they took away the losing bonus point when Scrivens kicked his 3rd penalty of the day with a straight forward kick from in front of the posts from the 22 after Keys found themselves off side during a Bedwas attack.
Overall a thoroughly disappointing defeat for Keys who no doubt would have targeted this game against a side who, up to now have struggled to move up the table in the opening weeks of the season. The problems in the scrum over the last few games are clear to see and this must be a big concern, given how dominant Keys scrum has been in recent years. The Keys certainly can’t be criticised for the type of rugby they ae looking to play with ball in hand as they look as good as anyone when everything ‘clicks’ but some of the basics appear to be lacking at the moment and will need to be addressed as soon as possible starting ahead of what could be a daunting trip to the House of Pain to take on Pontypridd next week.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Garin Price (x2), Rory Budina & Srdan Majkic
Conversions: Jason Tovey (x4)
Penalties: Jason Tovey (X2)
Tries: Tom Rowlands (x2), Nathan Hudd, George Gasson & Penalty Try
Conversions: Joseph Scrivens (x4) & Penalty Try Conversion
Penalties: Joseph Scrivens (x3)
Keys Man of the Match: Garin Price