Cross Keys, just as they had done at Merthyr last weekend once again let their lead slip as Bargoed triumphed at Pandy Park last Saturday.
It was the visitors who made the perfect start when number 8 Ieuan Jones, who left Keys over the summer to join his hometown club fooled, everyone as he broke from the base of a maul set up on the Keys 22 and left the Keys defence chasing shadows as he crossed unopposed next to the posts. Bargoed full back Matthew Lewis added the straight forward conversion to give his side a 7 – 0 lead with a little over 2 minutes of the game played.
Keys gradually found their feet and slowly clawed their way back in to things. The Keys got themselves onto the scoreboard when full back Carl Meyer kicked a monster penalty from inside Keys’ own half with just over 10 minutes on the clock.
Shortly after that Keys closed the gap to one score when they won a penalty following a scrum which Josh Prosser duly converted from just outside the Bargoed 22. With around half an hour on the clock Keys went ahead for the first time when they won another penalty which Prosser, against his old side was again successful in converting from around 40 metres out.
Half Time Score Cross Keys 9 Bargoed 7
The second half got off to an exciting start when a superb break from second row Tom Lampard some 5 minutes in to the half saw Keys coast up field toward the Bulls 22. The ball was recycled quickly away from the tackle area and a neat dab through from Josh Prosser found Josh Skinner flying in out wide to gather the ball and pounce for Keys first try of the game which was then converted from the touchline by Prosser. The benefit of having 2 such athletic, mobile second rows certainly showing in the make-up of this try.
The visitors hit back immediately from the restart and won the ball from the kick off before centre Darren Humphries combined an excellent angled run and some poor Keys defence to almost make it to the try line before offloading to the supporting Grant Rogers who had the relatively simple task of crossing under the posts. Matthew Lewis adding the conversion to close the gap.
The Bulls were reduced to 14 men with 10 minutes of the half played when former Keys scrum half James Pizey took Josh Prosser out in the air to earn himself a spell in the sin bin. Keys made their one man advantage show when they worked the ball outwide to winger Joe Goodchild. Goodchild had plenty of work to do from around 35 metres out but tore through a number of would be tackles and cut in field brilliantly to finish off an excellent solo try under the posts at the club house end of the field. Josh Prosser adding the conversion to restore the Keys lead.
With 20 minutes of the game remaining Bargoed really turned the screw as Keys struggled defensively against a side who sensed that a comeback was on. Matthew Lewis closed the gap with a pair of penalties to start the Bulls’ comeback as the half went on.
With just over 15 minutes remaining and with the visitors firmly on the front foot they pulled themselves in front when from a lineout on the Keys 22 they marched their way toward the Keys try line at a rate of knots. Keys could only stop the rampaging rolling maul illegally and referee Adam Jones had no choice but to make his way under the posts to award Bargoed a converted penalty try which gave the visitors a lead that they certainly didn’t look like surrendering such was they’re dominance at this stage. Keys skipper Adam Powell was sent to the sin bin for the part he played in halting the maul.
Shortly afterwards, with the game entering the final 5 minutes Keys were reduced to 13 men when replacement Darren Hughes joined Adam Powell in the cooler when he was shown a yellow card for a dangerous challenge on his former teammate Ieuan Jones at a ruck.
Just 2 minutes from the end the visitors secured their fully deserved bonus point try when Ashley Norton benefitted from the Bulls using their 2 man advantage to good effect to cross unopposed in the corner. Matthew Lewis added the tricky conversion.
Keys rallied in the closing moments to try and salvage a losing bonus point but it wasn’t to be and it was Bargoed who took the honours thanks largely to creating more opportunities and perhaps looking like they had more appetite for the victory.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Josh Skinner & Joe Goodchild
Conversions: Josh Prosser (x2)
Penalties: Josh Prosser (x2) & Carl Meyer
Tries: Ieuan Jones, Grant Rogers, Ashley Norton & converted penalty try
Conversions: Matthew Lewis (x3)
Penalties: Matthew Lewis (x2)
Keys Man of the Match: Josh Skinner