Cross Keys claimed a 6th successive league victory and will celebrate
Christmas 2013 by moving up to 3rd in the Principality Premiership
In a game that will probably not live too long in most people's memories Keys showed that those with title ambitions, which Keys undoubtedly do, have to sometimes win ugly. Aberavon probably just about had the better of a scrappy opening 15 minutes but could not find the cutting edge to break through Keys well organised defence.
The opening try, perhaps came against the run of play and came after around 16 minutes of play when a brilliant switch of play by the The Keys stalwart at scrum half, Owen Jones, back with Keys on permit from Fleur de Lys. Jones' pass found the grateful arms of Nathan Trowbridge who stepped around the last man in defence to finish in familiar fashion out wide. Dorian Jones just failing with the awkward conversion in sticky conditions.
From here Keys grew in confidence and started to pile on the pressure to a Wizards side struggling at the wrong end of the table. Dorian Jones put Keys further ahead with a long range penalty after 21 minutes. The Wizards were then reduced to 14 men when prop Chris John was sent to the sin bin after a scuffle. His fellow front row man, hooker Ieuan Davies joined his team-mate in the bin just about a minute later for a deliberate knock onwith Keys firmly on the front foot towards the try-line.
Keys got their second try against the 13 men when flanker Scott Matthews barged over following a driving lineout which came from the resulting penalty after the second yellow card. Dorian Jones was this time able to add the conversion to give his side a commanding lead after half and hour. It stayed that way for the remainder of the first half which passed without any major incident.
Half time score Cross Keys 15 Aberavon 0
Aberavon definitely had the best of the second half as Keys failed to add to their score. Keys were perhaps a little guilty of thinking that it was job done at half time and lacked the conviction that they had in the first half to put the game to bed and perhaps gain the bonus point. Keys did try their best for the opening 5 minutes of the half but the Wizards defence stayed firm and the visitors confidence grew as a result.
Keys had number 8 Adam Powell sent to the sin bin after 53 minutes as he was adjudged to have offended at a maul which was marching its way to the Keys line. Despite having 15 men against Keys 14 Aberavon could not take advantage and failed to score despite their dominance for the 10 minute period.
The Wizards finally got their try with 12 minutes remaining when wing Richard Carter crossed for an unconverted try, which turned out to be the only points his side would score.
The game did find a new lease of life as it drew to a close as Keys started to once again dominate but it was too late for any further scores and Keys can reflect on a job well done.
Overall Keys were perhaps guilty of looking ahead to the festive derby against Newport at Rodney Parade on Saturday 28th December and as if Keys injury situation was not already bad enough in the back line they lost inspirational captain Leon Andrews with a dislocated elbow which will no doubt keep him out of action for some time.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Nathan Trowbridge & Scott Matthews
Conversion: Dorian Jones
Penalty: Dorian Jones
Try: Richard Carter
Keys Man of the Match: Dorian Jones