Cross Keys
2009/2010 Principality Premiership
Cross Keys 11 v 12 Pontypridd
27 January 2010 - Pandy Park, Cross Keys

Match Report

Crosskeys v Pontypridd

By Chris Kirwan »  South Wales Argus

Cross Keys 11 Pontypridd 12

IT may have been a 59-point improvement on last season but that will not dull the pain of defeat for Cross Keys.

Pontypridd edged a physical battle at Pandy Park 12-11 but only after a last gasp conversion sailed wide.

There will have been some demons in the home changing room prior to kick-off given the outcome when the sides met on a Tuesday evening last season.

Ponty ran their hosts ragged and crossed for eight tries in a 60-0 drubbing but it was a different matter last night.

And Keys could so easily have been celebrating victory – hooker Lloyd Burns barged over the line three minutes into stoppage time but Dai Langdon was unable to add the conversion.

Keys headed into the game knowing that they would move into the eighth and final play-off berth if they avoided defeat while fifth-placed Ponty, who had not played in the league since December 12, wanted to maintain their title push.

Keys forwards coach Greg Woods said before the game that “there is no such thing as a soft Ponty side” and as a result they set out to meet them head-on.

It was a real slugfest with the hosts attempting to quieten the heartbeat of the visitors' side, namely the midfield partnership of Adam Thomas and Gavin Dacey and talisman number eight Nathan Strong.

The Ponty skipper is like a magnet with the way he drops deep to collect kicks and he is the man they look to in times of need. He also has the handy knack of being invisible to officials at the breakdown.

But Keys were prepared to go toe-to-toe with Ponty with lock Colin Bridges smashing into rucks and prop Paul Douglas grafting hard.

However, a drawback of that policy was that the hosts' accuracy was slightly off as the adrenaline took over, especially in the line-out.

There was just three points separating the sides after a physical first 40 minutes with an opening penalty by Keys' Gareth David cancelled out by a brace from Ponty's Dean Gunter.

It was the mistakes that prevented either side from building up a head of steam yet it was Keys who created the best opportunity of the first 40 when centre Matthew Pewtner burst through midfield and was only stopped by a superb tackle five yards shy of the line by Gary Williams.

The Ponty full-back also had the guts to take a shoeing to prevent quick ball, a brave decision that limited Keys to three points and earned a yellow card.

There was more of the same after the break though Keys did edge things territorially thanks to intelligent kicking from fly-half Dai Langdon, his efforts with the boot contrasting with the aimless attempts from many others.

However, it was a Ponty foray into enemy territory that counted when Gunter added another three and then edging Keys out of bonus point range with another 12 minutes from time.

His fortunes from the tee contrasted starkly to David's with the usually prolific kicker missing five shots at goal.

As usual, there was plenty of honest work from Keys but unfortunately, apart from impressive centre Matthew Pewtner, a lack of a cutting edge.

But they ended on the attack and David booted a 77th-minute penalty to snare a losing bonus point before the frantic finale.

Cross Keys: G David (J Bird 77), M Johnstone, L Andrews, M Pewtner, N Trowbridge, D Langdon, O Jones (captain, R James 57), P Douglas (J Price 63), R Emms (L Burns 51), R Cornock (J Price 54-56, C Gould 77), J Groves, C Bridges (M Curtis 69), R Peebles (T Lampard 51), R Nash, T Faletau.

Scorers: tries – L Burns; penalties – G David (2)

Pontypridd: G Williams (K Baller 63), C Clayton, G Dacey, A Thomas, M Nuthall, D Gunter, R Downes, L Smout, T Hetherington (R Williams 40), R Harford (S Williams 40), M Cook (C Martenko 63), R Savage, W O'Connor (C Martenko 3-7, C Locke 69), D Waters, N Strong (captain).

Scorers: penalties – D Gunter (4)

Referee: Jon Mason (WRU)

Argus star man: Jevon Groves


Official : Jonathan Mason (Wales)

Cross Keys Pontypridd