A young, inexperienced Cross Keys side were soundly beaten by Pontypridd at Sardis Road last Saturday as the home side dominated every aspect to leave Keys with nothing, which frankly was what Keys deserved.
The writing was on the wall for Keys inside the first minute as Ponty set the pattern for the game after they won a lineout from Keys’ own throw straight from the kick off. The ball was worked away from the lineout and through the hands out to winger Alex Webber who had the relatively simple task of touching down in the corner for the game’s opening score with around 45 seconds played. Outside half Ben Jones adding the extras with the conversion from the touchline.
Ponty furthered their lead just a couple of minutes later when, from another lineout around the Keys’ 22 the ball was worked out wide, this time to the opposite wing from the first try to find full back Dale Stuckey who went over for his side’s second try with barely 4 minutes played. Ben Jones again adding the conversion from the touchline.
It went from bad to worse for Keys who had barely touched the ball inside the opening 10 minutes and it was no real surprise when Ponty crossed for their 3rd try with 11 minutes on the clock when following another lineout, this time just 5 metres from the Keys line, Ponty secured possession from their own throw and started a driving maul which Keys couldn’t stop. Ponty number 8 Steffan Jenkins emerged from under a pile of bodies to be rewarded with the try which, perhaps surprisingly given his previous 2 touchline efforts, Jones missed the conversion of, from the left side of the posts.
Ponty secured their bonus point with their 4th try with 22 minutes on the clock. Ponty earned a penalty at scrum time after destroying Keys on their own put in on Keys 22. Unsurprisingly Ponty went for the corner and after securing possession from the lineout the rolling maul made its way forward with prop Gareth Smith emerging with the ball to score Ponty’s 4th try. Ben Jones once again making a touchline conversion look easy to add the extras.
Another Ponty attack from another Ponty lineout on 25 minutes led to another score, although this time in Keys’ favour as Ponty looked to put width on their game deep inside Keys’ 22, Keys’ winger Rory Budina read the play and intercepted a loose pass to race away from around 90 metres to cross for Keys’ first points of the day. Outside half Will Kelly couldn’t add the conversion from the touchline.
Normal service was resumed on 31 minutes when Ponty crossed for their 5th try as they used the ball to good effect after a loose clearance kick from Keys was picked up around the halfway line. Ponty broke through a number of tackle attempts and as they went out wide hooker Geraint Clarke was on hand to score in the corner for a try which Ben Jones again duly converted.
On the stroke of half time Ponty again secured possession deep in Keys’ 22 after Keys made a mess of an attempted clearance from a scrum 5 metres from their own try line. Ponty won the ball in the tackle area and moved play in field from the touchline where second row Sean Moore was on hand to cross unopposed under the posts for the try which Jones converted to bring up 40 points.
Half Time Score Pontypridd 40 Cross Keys 5
The Keys actually showed some promise early in the second half but Ponty were very well organised in defence as they cleared up any half chances that Keys looked like they might create early on.
The Keys grabbed the first score of the second half when, with Ponty looking to break from the halfway line following a scrum the ball was moved out wide but once again Rory Budina showed his try scorers instinct after he picked up on a loose pass and incepted the ball to break free from 40 metres to cross for Keys’ second try which Will Kelly this time converted from the right hand side of the posts with around 8 minutes of the second half played.
That was about as good as it got for Keys as Ponty switched back on to attack Keys at almost every opportunity. After his pass was intercepted for Budina’s try just a couple of minutes before Ponty centre Alex Knott crossed under the posts for his side’s 7th try of the game after good work in field from winger Alex Webber following a Ponty scrum. Ben Jones duly converted from in front of the posts.
Immediately from the restart Ponty were back on the attack and crossed for the best try of the game after they secured possession at the restart. The ball was swept in field where outside half Jones put a neat grubber kick through from his own 22. The kick was gathered by Alex Knott who then passed out wide to Alex Webber who raced 40 metres toward Keys’ try line, before offloading inside to the supporting Dale Stuckey who did the rest to cross for his second try of the game with half an hour still to play, which Jones converted after playing a key role in the build-up.
Keys did manage to stem the flow over the next 20 minutes although they didn’t really threaten Ponty during this time. With 10 minutes to go Keys were reduced to 14 men when replacement prop Scott Evans was harshly shown a yellow card for an offence at a ruck, although it appeared Evans was pushed back in to trouble as he moved away from the tackle area.
Ponty crossed for their 9th try 5 minutes from time when from a lineout the ball was moved in field and replacement scrum half Huw Rees was able to dive over from close range as Keys left a gap in their defensive line. Ben Jones added the extras from the right hand side of the posts as Ponty passed 60 points.
Two minutes from time and Ponty crossed once again as Keys failed to clear their own lines which led to a turnover and Ponty replacement Ioan Davies crashed over for the 10th try for his side which was converted by Jones. The nail was firmly hammered in to the Keys coffin with Ponty’s 11th try with the final play of the match in stoppage time. The ball was moved out wide once more by Ponty as they tore Keys’ defence to shreds with an attack from deep and flanker Alun Lawrence just about managed to squeeze in at the corner as Ponty passed 70 points with the try which Ben Jones failed to convert from the touchline.
Overall a tough lesson for Keys young, depleted squad but a lesson they will hopefully and no doubt learn from. Ponty didn’t really need to hit top gear as Keys never really looked like causing the home side any major problems, although Keys’ season is not likely to be defined by results at places like the House of Pain.
Tries: Dale Stuckey (x2), Alex Webber, Steffan Jenkins, Gareth Smith, Geraint Clarke, Sean Moore, Alex Knott, Huw Rees, Ioan Davies & Alun Lawrence.
Conversions: Ben Jones (x9)
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Rory Budina (x2)
Conversion: Will Kelly