A scrappy first half saw Bedwas make the better start and they went ahead after a little over 5 minutes of play when, following a close range driving lineout they launched into a driving maul from 5 yards out and this proved unstoppable when hooker Dale Rogers emerged with the ball to open the scoring with a try in front of the scoreboard. Former Keys favourite, outside half Steffan Jones added the extras for the Bridge Field side.
The Keys closed the gap with 20 minutes on the clock when Josh Prosser kicked a penalty following a good spell of pressure in Bedwas territory.
Most of the first half passed without major incident as both defences appeared to lead the way and clear any danger that came their way
Keys were camped on the Bedwas line for much of the closing moments of the first half but couldn’t quite capitalize despite going through numerous phases with the forwards in control. Bedwas eventually cleared their lines as Keys were left frustrated in closing out the half without scoring again.
Half time Score Cross Keys 3 Bedwas 7
If the first half proved a relatively low action 40 minutes the second half certainly made amends for it with and end to end half seeing both sides looking to attack whenever opportunity came their way.
It was the visitors who got the opening score of the second half when Steffan Jones restored their 7 point lead with a well struck penalty with around 5 minutes of the second half gone. The 7 point lead didn’t last long as Josh Prosser slotted over his second penalty of the game just 3 minutes later for Keys.
With 50 minutes played Keys went ahead for the first time when they scored an excellent try. The ball was worked through the hands and some excellent carries from Leon Andrews, James Leadbeater and Josh Skinner who offloaded to Joe Goodchild who in turn showed superb hands to offload to Joe Thomas who carried hard along the touchline before returning the favour by passing back to Goodchild who saw off the chasing Bedwas defence to finish off an excellent team move with Keys’ first try of the game. Josh Prosser failed to add the conversion but Keys edged in front.
Keys went further ahead with an hour played when hooker Rob Jones emerged with the ball from under a pile of bodies after Keys launched a rolling maul from a lineout deep inside the Bedwas 22. Prosser was this time on target with the conversion to give Keys more that a 2 score lead with a quarter of the game remaining.
Bedwas perhaps showed why they have been the team to beat over the 6 minutes or so when they reclaimed the lead with 2 tries in quick succession. Firstly a break up the middle of the park with Keys missing crucial tackles which allowed Bedwas to make burst in to the Keys half. The ball was worked to centre Mike Callow who rounded off the attack by racing away to score under the posts for his side’s second try which Steffan Jones converted.
The visitors attacked almost immediately from the restart and again benefitted from some poor Keys’ defence to break from their own half before they worked the ball in to space as replacement Lewis Evans went over for a try in the corner which Jones failed to convert from the touchline with a little over 10 minutes remaining, but it was the visitors who now led once again.
Keys weren’t done and showed a great hunger to get something from the game as the game entered the closing stages. A patient build up was occasionally thwarted by Bedwas’ well organised defence but crucially Keys kept up the pressure. The Keys eventually worked the ball through the hands and Mathew Powell was worked in to space by Josh Prosser and Powell did the rest to race through for a try which gave Keys a one point lead with only minutes remaining. Prosser added the conversion.
Keys’ defence worked overtime in the closing minute as Bedwas tried to grab something from the game but that wasn’t to be and Keys closed the game out and condemned Bedwas to their first defeat of the campaign.
Overall an excellent advert for the Principality Premiership and there appeared to be much more belief and confidence from Keys in this game and they deservedly took the honours along with Bedwas’ unbeaten record.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Joe Goodchild, Rob Jones & Mathew Powell
Conversions: Josh Prosser (x2)
Penalties: Josh Prosser (x2)
Tries: Dale Rogers, Mike Callow & Lewis Evans
Conversions: Steffan Jones (x2)
Penalty: Steffan Jones
Keys Man of the Match: Joe Thomas