Cross Keys secured their 3rd victory of the season with a dominant second half display at Bargoed last Saturday securing the honours for Keys.
Bargoed enjoyed the lion’s share of both possession and territorial advantage in the opening stages but Keys defence remained resolute and the score remained at 0-0 for the opening 10 minutes.
The Keys gradually cleared their lines to good affect and went ahead after just over 10 minutes of play when Josh Prosser kicked a long range penalty for Keys against his old side. The lead lasted just a couple of minutes as Bargoed levelled the score with a straight forward Iain Smerdon penalty with 12 minutes on the clock.
The game was then opening up somewhat and the two sides were both attempting to play some running rugby from all around the park but were often left frustrated as both handling errors and the referee’s whistle restricted any meaningful opportunities.
The Keys appeared to be getting a grip on the game as it entered the second quarter with a good period of play deep in Bargoed territory but after Barney Nightingale was held up over the line during this period, it was in fact The Bulls that went ahead when they cleared their lines and went down field, eventually winning the penalty which was duly converted by Iain Smerdon.
The Bulls went further ahead with around 5 minutes of the first half remaining when Smerdon was adjudged to have kicked his 3rd penalty of the afternoon. Most in the ground would have seen that the ball seemed to drift wide of the posts in the strong wind but the 3 pairs of eyes that matter thought differently and flags were raised to award the 3 points much to the bemusement of most onlookers.
Almost immediately from the restart Keys pegged Bargoed back to their own 22 and as the Bulls attempted to run the ball from the base of a tackle area, a loose ball was hounded down by Keys blindside Taine Basham who, just 2 days after his 18th birthday picked up brilliantly and raced home to cross for the game’s opening try with just a few minutes of the second half remaining. Josh Prosser adding the conversion from the left of the posts to give Keys a one point lead going in to the break.
Half time Score Bargoed 9 Cross Keys 10
The home side were under the cosh from the start of the second half but Keys were unable to make their early dominance count as the second half went on.
Keys made their one man advantage count when, with around 55 minutes played, patient build up play eventually saw the ball worked in to the arms of impressive winger Mathew Powell who had come across field off his own wing to touchdown in the left hand corner for Keys’ second try of the game. Powell getting his just reward for an excellent performance where he constantly looked to run with the ball in hand. Prosser’s conversion attempt drifted wide from the touchline but Keys were now firmly in control of the game as the game headed toward the closing quarter.
The Keys all but secured the victory with around 10 minutes remaining when after another good period spent deep in Bargoed territory they worked the ball in to space once more and this time full back Joe Goodchild was worked free to finish brilliantly in the right hand corner. Goodchild was another constant threat all afternoon and thoroughly deserved his try for an excellent display. Josh Prosser this time making no mistake with the tricky touchline conversion.
With time running out Keys were reduced to 14 men as Phil Williams was sent to the sin bin as a result of the number of consecutive penalties that Keys had conceded in the closing 5 minutes. Despite being a man down Keys, who were on the hunt for a 4th try broke up the middle of the park from deep inside their own 22 but Mathew Powell’s excellent solo break came to nothing as Bargoed bought Powell down as he headed into the Bulls’ half. The game was soon bought to an end as Keys gained revenge for the defeat to Bargoed at Pandy Park earlier in the season.
Penalties: Iain Smerdon (x3)
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Taine Basham, Mathew Powell & Joe Goodchild
Conversions: Josh Prosser (x2)
Penalties: Josh Prosser (x2)