Cross Keys continued their recent good form and made it 7 games without defeat in a hard-fought, well-earned win at Carmarthen Quins on Saturday afternoon.
In a fairly even opening 10 minutes or so neither side seemed to be able to secure enough possession to cause the opposition any major problems. Keys wing Polu Uhi, however caused no end of problems for the Quins defence in the early stages with a series of barnstorming runs across the park. Each of the rampaging runs created some early territorial advantage for Keys but the end product simply wasn’t there early on.
Gradually Keys made their territorial advantage show and some slick handling from firstly Josh Prosser who was able to bring the rest of the backline in to play to feed the ball out wide to Polu Uhi who crashed over for a well worked try thanks to some excellent handling and sweeping movement across the backline for a try after a little over 10 minutes of play. Ethan Davies converted and Keys were up and running.
The Quins struck back almost immediately and a run forward from deep from Quins full back Chris Banfield caused panic in a disorganised Keys defence and the ball went through the hands and saw the home side’s scrum half Kieran Hardy cross for a try out wide, which was then converted by Craig Evans to level the scores.
A scrappy half then began to take place with both side spurning a number of opportunities due to some poor handling skills with the ball being lost by both sides all to easily. Polu Uhi did come close to crossing for his second try later on in the half but he spilled the ball close to the line. Scott Matthews and Leon Andrews also both went close to crossing but each time the ball once gathered up by the Quins defence.
As the half was heading towards it’s conclusion, Keys’ winger Nathan Trowbridge made a superb break through the Quins defence and scrum half James Leadbeater was on hand to receive Trowbridge’s pass as he entered the 22. Leadbeater fended off the last attempted Quins tackle and raced through to score under the posts, as Keys led once again. Davies again converting with Keys ahead going in to the break.
Half time Score Carmarthen Quins 8 Cross Keys 16
The second half didn’t really get much better in terms of skill level and despite Keys creating the better chances thanks to a series of close range driving lineouts throughout the half nothing appeared to be happening as Quins again snuffed out the Keys chances with relative ease.
Keys also worked hard in defence as the half went on with Quins using a strong scrummage as their platform to create some pressure on Keys but Keys, who were sharper behind were able to clear their lines on a couple of occasions.
With Keys realising the tactic of driving lineouts wasn’t functioning as well as it has done in previous games they decided against continually battering the Quins line and instead opted to take 2 points on offer from a penalty by Ethan Davies to move more than 1 score clear as the game entered the closing 15 minutes.
Keys did come close to scoring a third try as the game was nearing it’s conclusion but the hard working Quins defence again frustrated the Keys attack.
In added time Ethan Davies all but secured the victory for Keys with a second penalty from in front of the posts some 35 yards out. It was enough to win the game and Keys maintain their excellent form with this well-disciplined victory in West Wales.
Carmarthen Quins Scorers:-
Try: Kieran Hardy
Conversion: Craig Evans
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Polu Uhi & James Leadbeater
Conversions: Ethan Davies (x2)
Penalties: Ethan Davies (x2)