Cross Keys moved in to second place in the Principality Premiership table as they recorded their third victory over Newport this season..
In all fairness this was a pretty poor spectacle for the large crowd that had gathered at Rodney Parade but Gwent derbies very rarely produce classics, and this was no exception to that theory.
It took over 20 minutes for the deadlock to be broken after a scrappy opening quarter that seemed to be dominated by the referees whistle above anything else. As it was it was the home side that probably deservedly took the lead when Geraint O'Driscoll slotted over a penalty goal. Keys almost pulled ahead just moments later when winger Lloyd Lewis attacked out wide only to be hauled back after he had apparently stepped in to touch as he set off on his run.
The black and ambers faired better for the remainder of the first half with several chances coming their way only for some last ditch Keys tackles, from Lewis and James Cordy-Redden on 2 seperate occasions, stopping them from increasing their lead. Despite Newport having the lions share of possession and creating the better opportunities, Keys levelled the scores on the stroke of half time when outside half Ethan Davies kicked a penalty with the last play of the half.
Half Time Score Newport 3 Cross Keys 3
The Keys upped their game slightly in the second half and just over 10 minutes in to the half Keys opted to go for the corner instead of taking what appeared to be a relatively straight forward penalty kick at goal. It proved to be the right call as a driving lineout resulted in pressure on the Newport defence and saw hooker Darren Hughes crash over from close range for the games first try. It was probably the icing on the cake for Hughes, who the night before became Welsh amateur boxing Champion in the Super Heavyweight division. The try was converted Ethan Davies as Keys looked to pile on the Pressure.
Just two minutes later Keys number 8 Jack Condy set off on an amazing run from inside his own 22 taking out several defenders on his way up the pitch. Condy continued his run in to the black and ambers half before delivering the scoring pass, in style to the supporting Lloyd Lewis who raced away to score. Davies again converted and Keys were now well in control. Keys may have wanted more but Newport had other ideas and they bought themselves back in to the game when a series of missed tackles in the Keys defence coupled with a dangerous run up the middle of the park led to Adam Frampton touching down under the posts for the black and ambers, O'Driscoll converted as Newport closed the gap.
The game became scrappy once more as it entered the closing quarter. O'Driscoll closed the gap further after just over an hour of play with a second penalty. Keys moved in to Newport territory with time ticking away but they were unable to convert the chances they created to put the game to bed. Keys outside half Ethan Davies kicked his second penalty of the game with around 5 minutes remaining but this didn't put the game to bed and Newport could have levelled the scores with the last play of the game but their throw in on the Keys 5 metre line was not straight and Keys survived and recorded their 9th straight win in all competitions.
Try: Adam Frampton
Conversion: Geraint O'Driscoll
Penalties: Geraint O'Driscoll (x2)
Cross Keys Scorers:
Tries: Darren Hughes & Lloyd Lewis
Conversions: Ethan Davies (x2)
Penalties: Ethan Davies (x2)