Above: Rob Nash Red Carded
CROSS KEYS 3 PONTYPRIDD 28
Not exactly the start to the new season Keys wanted but in truth it looked as though Keys simply didn't want the season to start anytime soon.
For large periods of the game Keys were on the back foot and had no answer to a Ponty side that rarely made mistakes and punished Keys dreadful discipline and sometimes woeful decision making.
Playing downhill first half Keys needed to start brightly and make the downhill advantage worthwhile. This looked possible with Dean Gunter grabbing Keys first points of the season with a well struck penalty early on. That was basically as good as it got for Keys when a number of try scoring opportunities went begging during the first half, each time the final pass not quite going to hand or poor decision making was to blame. Keys' Danny Hodge was sent to the sin bin and Ponty responded with two Dai Flanagan penalties in quick succession seeing them take the lead.
Half time score was Cross Keys 3 Pontypridd 13 seemingly Keys were still in the game at the end of the first 40 minutes.
Keys could simply not get on the correct side of referee James Jones' whistle and will rue the ill-discipline. Captain Rob Nash not exactly leading by example when he was sent the bin for an apparent swinging arm, and then within 5 minutes of returning to the field Nash was issued with a straight red for foul play.
Keys could not add to Gunter's penalty and in the second half hardly had any chance to do so as Ponty's determined, punishing defence took the game to the home side.
Ponty's tries came from Gavin Dacey, Chris Phillips and Lewis I Williams with ex-Osprey Flanagan adding to his opening 2 penalties with another 3 pointer and converting 2 of the tries.
To summarise Keys perhaps looked un-prepared, whilst the improved discipline of last season seemed nowhere to be seen. Keys will no doubt move on from this poor performance quickly, they simply have to as Bridgend are ready and waiting to come to the Black and Whites next Saturday. Honourable mentions to Luke Willams and Nathan Williams who both did their best playing out of their ususal centre positions on the wings. Up front Gerwyn Price was his usual self and Ollie Hodge looks to be a fine signing.
FINAL SCORE CROSS KEYS 3 - PONTYPRIDD 28.
Keys rugby committee man of the match: Nathan Williams