Cross Keys were soundly beaten by Cardiff after a devastating display of attacking rugby in the second half by the Blue and Blacks at the Arms Park last Saturday.
Keys should have gone ahead after just 3 minutes of play when Josh Prosser missed a straight forward penalty. This miss proved crucial just minutes later when Cardiff centre Will Rees-Hole crashed over from close range with just 6 minutes on the clock. Outside half Ben Thomas added the extras from the left of the posts.
Keys could have closed the gap on 10 minutes but Prosser missed his second penalty attempt from long range. Keys ended a good spell of play by getting themselves on to the scoreboard with around 14 minutes played when from a scrum deep inside the Cardiff 22, Keys centre Barney Nightingale picked a lovely angle and went over for Keys first points of the day. The try was converted by Prosser as Keys levelled the scores.
The home side edged back in front on 23 minutes when Ben Thomas kicked a straight forward penalty for his side.
It was Keys who grabbed the next score when they went back to the old school with a real old fashioned forward orientated try to take the lead with 35 minutes on the clock. A series of pick and goes following a close range lineout saw Liam Davies, Rob Jones and Adam Powell all go close to scoring but with the ball coming in field on each occasion it eventually led to prop Lewis Smout crashing over under the posts against his old side for his first ever try in Keys colours. Josh Prosser added the conversion as Keys led for the first time.
On the stroke of half time Cardiff closed the gap to one point when Ben Thomas closed a fairly even first half with his second penalty of the game.
Half time score Cardiff 13 Cross Keys 14
If the first half was fairly even, the second half was anything but. Keys were simply outplayed with a sensational display of attacking rugby seeing the Blue and Blacks running in 5 second half tries to condemn Keys to their 3rd defeat in 4 games so far this season.
It took just over a minute for the blue and blacks to get the first of those 5 second half tries when the Cardiff attack created a massive overlap for the home side to exploit and they left the Keys defence in their wake before Blues scrum half Lewis Jones raced away to score a try which Ben Thomas converted for Cardiff to reclaim a lead that they were not going to lose.
The Keys appeared to be staring down the barrel of a gun just minutes later when winger Owen Lane squeezed over for his sides 3rd try with just 5 minutes of the second half played. The try was unconverted from the touchline.
It didn’t get much better for Keys as the half went, as they were restricted to only scraps of possession, much of which they had to cope with deep in Cardiff territory, meaning they were unable to create any sort of opportunity to score.
The blue and blacks secured their bonus point with 53 minutes gone when centre Will Rees-Hole got his second try of the game when slick handling and angled running opened up Keys out wide before Rees-Hole came under the posts to score. Outside half Thomas added the straight forward conversion.
The Keys rang the changes to try and grab something from the game but the Keys body language perhaps told the best story with heads down and confidence looking low to say the least.
The Cardiff onslaught continued with a little over an hour played when number 8 James Sheekey crossing for the blue and blacks 5th try, which was converted by replacement Gareth Thompson. Will Rees-Hole got his hat-trick try with 10 minutes remaining when from a lineout some 15 metres from the Keys try line he again benefitted from some slick passing and he then picked a perfect angle to blaze through the Keys defence for his side’s 6th and final try, which was again converted by Gareth Thompson.
Keys did have the final say when they crossed for what was arguably the best of the 9 tries seen on the day. From behind their own try line Keys worked the ball to Barney Nightingale and the centre broke through several tackles to bring play up field toward the Taff end that Keys had not really visited at all for the whole second half. Nightingale continued his sensational run up the middle in to the Cardiff half, again breaking through numerous tackles before he was eventually hauled down out wide as he entered the Cardiff 22. The ball was recycled quickly by Keys and Josh Prosser showed pinpoint accuracy with a kick out wide from one side of the pitch to the other. The kick was gathered by replacement Nathan Trowbridge on the opposite wing and he strolled over for nothing more. than a consolation score for Keys. Prosser failed to add the conversion from the touchline with a minute remaining.
Overall not a good day at the office for Keys but you have to simply admire the way that Cardiff played in the second half which gave Keys very little opportunity to get anything from the game despite such a competitive first half.
Tries: Will Rees-Hole (x3), Lewis Jones, Owen Lane & James Sheekey
Conversions: Ben Thomas (x3) & Gareth Thompson (x2)
Penalties: Ben Thomas (x2)
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Barney Nightingale, Lewis Smout & Nathan Trowbridge
Conversions: Josh Prosser (x2)