Cross Keys were soundly beaten for the second successive
game as Cardiff eased to a bonus point victory at Pandy Park in the penultimate
Tier 2 fixture of this season’s Principality Premiership.
From the start it was the Blue and Blacks that looked more dangerous as they created several chances early on. It took a little over 5 minutes for the visitors to deservedly take the lead when an excellent break from outside half Jarrod Evans, combined with some woeful defensive work from Keys eventually led to Cardiff skipper and hooker Joe Tomlinson crashed over for the game’s opening try. Evans failed to add the conversion.
Things didn’t exactly get any better for Keys and after Keys conceded 2 penalties in quick succession which saw the visitors edge up the park with a pair of driving lineouts. From the second of these lineouts Keys again struggled to deal with the danger and hooker Tomlinson was on hand again to crash over for his second try of the game with 13 minutes on the clock. Jarrod Evans this time making no mistake with his conversion attempt, as the visitors were well worth their early lead.
Keys slowly clawed their way back into things and were left
to rue the bounce of the ball when arguably their best chance of a try during a
frustrating first half went begging. A kick up field, as Keys quickly won the
ball deep in their own 22 was chased by flying winger Lloyd Lewis but despite
his rapid pace he couldn’t quite make it to the ball which bounced out of play
as it entered the Blue and Blacks 22.
Keys first score of the game came after 33 minutes when outside half Josh Prosser put an earlier miss behind him when he kicked a penalty from some 20 metres out to close the gap slightly.
The visitors ended the half strongly and another break from Jarrod Evans saw the outside half off load to centre Will Rees-Hole who had the legs to cross for the visitors third try on the stroke of half time. Evans added the conversion.
Half time score Cross Keys 3 Cardiff 19
The second half saw both sides try to make inroads early on but Keys continued to be frustrated despite a number of chances coming their way.
Keys were eventually rewarded for their patience when after a number of close range drives which saw several players go close to scoring, centre Barney Nightingale was the one that eventually powered over the whitewash for Keys’ try, in front of the scoreboard. Josh Prosser added the conversion as Keys closed the gap.
The Blue and Blacks pulled clear with around 15 minutes remaining when replacement Ben Thomas kicked a pair of penalties in quick succession which effectively ended the game as a contest with Keys unable to get their hands on the ball to cause the visitors any major problems.
With just under 10 minutes to go the Blue and Blacks got their bonus point try when Jonathan Edwards went over out wide for his side’s 4th try which went unconverted.
The Blue and Blacks first victory since the split was secured with the last play of the game when Ben Thomas added his third penalty of the game.
Overall a deeply disappointing day at the office for Keys, who just 2 games ago were looking like dead-certs for a play-off berth but with 2 heavy defeats in succession the Keys must now go to Newport on Wednesday evening where a victory will put them back in the play-off places. Should Keys lose at Newport then Wednesday evening will be the last game of the season for Keys although for some it seems the end of the season perhaps occurred at the end of the National Cup Semi Final defeat at the hands of Pontypridd at Aberavon.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Try: Barney Nightingale
Conversion: Josh Prosser
Penalty: Josh Prosser
Tries: Joe Tomlinson (x2), Will Rees-Hole & Jonathan Edwards
Conversions: Jarrod Evans (x2)
Penalties: Ben Thomas (x3)
Keys Man of the Match: Barney Nightingale