Cross Keys defeated Gwent rivals Bedwas to keep alive their hopes of finishing in the top 8 when the league splits in 2 in just 3 matches time, whilst the visitors will need to wait just a little longer to secure their place in the top 8.
A tense first half saw very little try line action although Keys probably fared slightly better than the visitors but couldn’t quite turn a large territorial advantage into points despite spending large periods of the opening 20 minutes in and around the Bedwas 22, with the visitor’s defence coping with everything Keys threw at it.
It was the visitors who eventually opened the scoring when outside James S Dixon slotted over a penalty with just over 20 minutes on the clock. Frankly the rest of the half won’t really live long in the memory as neither side created anything of any note.
Half time Score: Cross Keys 0 Bedwas 3
The second half proved to be much more lively and it was the visitors who initially looked like they would further their lead early in the half with a series of attacks toward the Keys’ 22. With 5 minutes of the half played Bedwas attacked in to the Keys 22 but a wayward pass which looked to free Bedwas winger Philip Pariyo was read superbly by Keys own flyer Mathew Powell and the Keys wing sprinted away before kicking forward around the halfway line as he was hounded by the scrambling Bedwas defence. Powell won the race to his own kick and gathered to feed his fellow wing Nathan Williams with a well-timed pass and Williams in turn fed the supporting Josh Prosser who did the rest to score Keys’ first points of the afternoon. Prosser, still gathering his breath failed to add the extras for Keys to further their narrow lead with 47 minutes on the clock.
The Keys lead didn’t last long as Bedwas this time made the most of a decent attack in to the Keys 22 and a string of close range drives eventually proved unstoppable and the Bedwas pack proved to strong with second row Geraint Edmunds emerging with the ball from a pile of bodies for his side’s first try of the game, which went unconverted with 52 minutes now played.
The Bedwas lead was extended after a little over an hour when replacement James Dixon kicked a penalty, awarded to the visitors as a result of a powerful scrum.
Keys didn’t let their heads drop and from the base of a decent scrum just inside the Bedwas half, after 65 minutes Keys burst forward with real intent. Adam Powell started the move from the base of the scrum, with his pass finding Owain Leonard who fed full back Leon Andrews who combined with neat handling and footwork, glided through brilliantly to burst deep in to Bedwas’ 22 before he fed replacement winger Joe Goodchild and with his first touch Goodchild had the legs to finish well near the posts for a try that was converted by Josh Prosser for Keys to retake their slender lead with under 15 minutes remaining.
With around 5 minutes remaining Bedwas were penalised in the breakdown area and Josh Prosser kicked the resulting penalty as Keys looked to wind the clock down. The visitors spent more or less the entire closing 5 minutes camped on the Keys line but despite a number of scrums in their favour Keys held firm and coped with all that was thrown at them before forcing a turnover from a Bedwas put in and clearing the ball to touch for the game to be bought to an end.
Overall this was a decent victory for Keys and a number of excellent individual performances from Danny Hodge, Adam Powell, Leon Andrews, Josh Prosser and in-particular Scott Andrews, who was returning to Keys’ colours after his short term deal with Ealing Trailfinders came to an end led the way to this hard fought victory against a top 3 side.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Josh Prosser & Joe Goodchild
Conversion: Josh Prosser
Penalty: Josh Prosser
Try: Geraint Edmunds
Penalties: James S. Dixon & James Dixon
Keys Man of the Match: Scott Andrews