Cross Keys fell to their first defeat of the season at Pandy Park on Saturday after a clinical Pontypridd side took the honours after making the most of some basic Keys errors and Keys’ failure to take their chances.
The first half started brightly for Keys and Angus O’Brien booted the home side in to the lead after 4 minutes with a straight forward penalty. Keys used this as a catalyst to push forward but against the early run of play Ponty clawed their way in front after Simon Humberstone kicked 2 penalties inside the first 20 minutes.
It took until deep in to the 10 minutes of first half injury time (although there were no abnormal stoppages during the half) for the game’s first try when Humberstone himself crossed after poor Keys defence meant that Ponty scored from a move that started behind their own try line after Angus O’Brien’s penalty goal fell short, Humberstone adding the extras to extend his own tally and his side’s lead at half time.
Half time score Cross Keys 3 Pontypridd 13
Keys were on top from the start of the second half and just 2 minutes in to the half Angus O’Brien kicked a penalty as Keys looked to get back in to the game early in the half.
Ponty flanker Wayne O’Connor was sent to the sin bin in the 50th minute after his offence at a ruck deep inside the Ponty 22. Just 2 minutes later Keys got the try they definitely deserved when Scott Matthews stretched brilliantly to reach the try line after a maul. Angus O’Brien failed with the conversion that would have levelled the scores.
Keys were really starting to put Ponty on the ropes but Humberstone added to his own total with his 3rd penalty of the game to settle his side’s nerves in the 55th minute. Keys were in determined mood though and continued to pressurise but they failed to add anything to their total despite their advantages and a number of chances with Ponty still down to 14 men.
Then the killer blow for Keys came when Ponty centre Gavin Dacey crossed on the counter after an hour of play, once again this Ponty try coming after Keys missed a number of tackles in the build up. Simon Humberstone kicking the extras as his side moved further ahead.
Keys were not ready to throw the towel in but found Ponty’s defence was not in the mood for giving the sort of gifts that they were themselves been given by Keys. As the game entered the final moments of a lengthy second half injury time period, Gavin Dacey crossed for his 2nd try to add gloss to the win for his side, the conversion was unsuccessful.
Overall perhaps a flattering scoreline for Ponty but they showed once again why they are champions and why they are overwhelming favourites for this season. Keys made far too many basic errors and missed too many tackles to secure what could have been an unbelievable win.
Try: Scott Matthews
Penalties: Angus O'Brien (x2)
Tries: Gavin Dacey (x2) & Simon Humberstone
Conversions: Simon Humberstone (x2)
Penalties: Simon Humerstone (x3)