Cross Keys booked their place in this season's British & Irish Cup
with an overwhelming victory over Bedwas at the Bridge Field on Saturday
It was Bedwas who started the game much better than Keys but despite setting up camp in the Keys 22 for almost all of the opening 10 minutes, they could only manage an 8th minute penalty by their outside half Richard Powell.
Keys finally got some quality possession and field position from the restart and in the 11th minute crossed for the opening try of the game thanks largely to a lovely flat pass from outside half Dorian Jones in to the grateful arms of wing Nathan Trowbridge who crossed in the corner for his first try, Jones failed with the conversion striking the post from out wide. The home side responded immediately from the restart as wing Elliot Jones (not Keys very own) picked up a lose ball which somehow made it in to the Keys 22 and raced away to score under the posts, Richard Powell kicking the conversion to give the home side the lead once more.
Perhaps the key moment of the game came in the 23rd minute when Bedwas were reduced to 14 men when under pressure their flanker Aaron Harris committed an offence at the break-down meaning he was shown the yellow card by referee Gwyn Morris. Keys were gradually getting on top at this stage and were rewarded in the 25th minute when Danny Hodge this time was the receiver of another perfect Dorian Jones pass to barge over in the same corner as Nathan Trowbridge had done earlier, Jones again failing with the conversion, hitting the other post for good measure. Keys were now making Bedwas pay for their ill-discipline as they began to cut the 14 men defence to shreds and it was no surprise when Nathan Trowbridge crossed under the posts for his second try of the game thanks to captain Leon Andrews and Aaron Bramwell's midfield breaks, Dorian Jones kicking the conversion to give Keys a 17 - 10 lead after half an hour.
Half Time Score Bedwas 10 Cross Keys 17
The Keys were well an truly on top as they began the second half and it took just 2 minutes of the half for Keys to extend their lead when good handling led to impressive full back Aaron Bramwell crossing for his first competitive try in Keys colours as he virtually walked over the line as Bedwas ran out of numbers in defence, Dorian Jones failing to add the conversion he would normally kick with ease. Richard Powell did kick another penalty for Bedwas in the 46th minute to keep them in touch but despite this penalty Keys remained on the front foot and another spell of pressure led to Dorian Jones kicking a lovely drop goal and a penalty for Keys just before and just after the hour mark. Midway through the second half, referee Gwyn Morris was unfortunately injured as he got a little too close to the action for comfort and accidently barged over by several members of both sides. Despite trying to carry on, his injuries meant he had to be replaced by touch judge Jason Langdon for the final 15 minutes or so.
Keys got a 5th try in the 69th minute when wing Luke Williams crossed after going across field and finishing excellently despite the efforts of several Bedwas defenders and this try effectively ended any slim hopes Bedwas had of stopping Keys now. Dorian Jones kicking the conversion on this occasion. As an entertaining game entered the final 10 minutes Keys were not finished and with 5 minutes remaining Danny Hodge read a mistimed Bedwas pass to perfection and showed good speed to intercept and cross for his 2nd try under the posts racing over after gathering the ball outside the home side's 22. Replacement outside half Angus O'Brien kicking the extras
There was still enough time for Angus O'Brien to bring the fancy new scoreboard in to action once more towards the end as he kicked a straight forward penalty with just 2 minutes left on the clock. Keys replacement prop Luke Garrett was sin-binned in the final minute for not rolling away from a tackle but it was way too late for Bedwas to take advantage of and Keys took the spoils along with the Dragons' region's place in the British & Irish Cup for this season.
So Keys can now look forward to trips to Ealing, Moseley and Dublin for a clash with Leinster A. These are exciting times for Keys and the season continues next Saturday when the Principality Premiership for 2013/14 commences with Keys travelling to St. Helens to take on Swansea.
Try: Elliot Jones
Conversion: Richard Powell
Penalties: Richard Powell (x2)
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Nathan Trowbridge (X2), Danny Hodge (x2), Aaron Bramwell & Luke Williams
Conversions: Dorian Jones (x2) & Angus O'Brien (x1)
Penalties: Dorian Jones (x1) & Angus O'Brien (x1)
Drop Goal: Dorian Jones