Cross Keys bounced back from 2 successive defeats on the opening 2 weekends of the season with a spectacular victory at the Bridge Field over Bedwas on Saturday afternoon.
Things started well for Keys and straight from the kick off Keys were on the front foot. It took under 2 minutes for Keys to take the lead when a driving lineout from close range was only ever going in one direction and Scott Matthews, carried well to score yet another try following a hat-trick in the defeat at the hands of Cardiff last weekend. Ethan Davies was narrowly wide with the conversion.
Bedwas responded well and closed the gap with a Richard Powell penalty from in front of the sticks after 9 minutes of play. The home side came back at Keys and took the lead when Matthew John found himself on the end of some neat back line play to score his side’s first try of the afternoon. Powell converted as Bedwas led for what would be the first and only time of the game.
The end to end opening quarter continued as Keys again surged forward and after an excellent break through the middle of the park by skipper Leon Andrews, his centre partner Phil Williams was hauled down just short of the line before Adam Powell picked up the ball from the resulting ruck and twisted and turned to touch down by the posts. Ethan Davies added the extras this time as Keys regained the lead in the 20th minute. It got better for Keys as another break through the home side’s defence led to skipper Andrews going over the whitewash for his sides 3rd try after 29 minutes, as Keys began to stamp their authority on the game, allowing Bedwas very little chance to create any opportunities. Davies again converted from in front of the posts, Keys leading by 22 points to 10.
The bonus point was secured after 32 minutes when an up and under from debut making outside half Josh Prosser was superbly kicked and caught and his break clear saw him caught deep inside the Bedwas 22 before the ball went wide to full back Ethan Davies who crossed in the corner against his old side. Davies converted his own try. Davies grabbed his second try just a couple of minutes before the break when he squeezed over in the same corner as his first try following another play from a driving lineout. This time he failed to convert his own try but even at this stage it looked as though Keys simply couldn’t be caught, with 5 tries scored before the interval.
Half Time Score Bedwas 10 Cross Keys 36
The second half took some time to get going with both sides perhaps knowing the result was already a forgone conclusion. Keys set piece was at a different level to the hosts throughout and despite Bedwas making numerous changes to try and breakdown Keys stubbornness Keys always remained on top.
The home side were reduced to 14 men after 57 minutes when replacement prop Brynley Toms saw yellow for an offence at a lineout. Despite being a man down Bedwas gave Keys something to think about after just over an hour of play when they scored a fine try after a movement that started deep in their own half. Replacement Andy Evans eventually going over at the clubhouse end. Richard Powell added the conversion and Keys now had to set about putting the game to bed in the final quarter.
Keys couldn’t make their one man advantage tell and a series of silly mistakes in good positions meant that Bedwas may still have been sniffing out a comeback with Keys failing to take chances. Keys did finally take their chances in the final 10 minutes when heavy long standing pressure on the home side’s line led to replacement prop Luke Garrett crashing over under the posts. Ethan Davies converted and Keys knew the game was won with under 8 minutes remaining.
With the game entering the final moments Keys grabbed the 7th try when replacement Tom Lampard benefited from a long period of pressure on the Bedwas try line to go over unopposed for an unconverted try.
Overall this was much more like it from Keys with the superb set-piece playing a key role against a traditionally well drilled Bedwas outfit. Keys also looked sharp in the back line and some excellent individual performances contributing to an excellent squad effort.
Tries: Matthew John & Andy Evans
Conversions: Richard Powell (x2)
Penalty: Richard Powell
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Ethan Davies (x2), Scott Matthews, Adam Powell, Leon Andrews, Luke Garrett & Tom Lmapard
Conversions: Ethan Davies (x4)