Cross Keys claimed a bonus point victory over Cardiff last Friday evening after a hugely entertaining Principality Premiership fixture at Pandy Park.
It was a fairly level opening few minutes as both sides tried to figure each other out. As it was Keys soon went ahead when after around 5 minutes of play Cardiff attempted to run the ball from deep but a stray pass was read perfectly and was intercepted by Keys’ centre Lewis Barnett and he had the legs to do the rest to cross for the opening try under the posts in front of the clubhouse. Outside half Josh Prosser added the straight forward conversion.
The Keys lead was doubled on around 20 minutes when Keys, who had continued to have the better of the play after that early score, set up camp in the Blue and Blacks 22 from a close range lineout. The Keys pack did the rest from the lineout and from good field position a rolling maul proved unstoppable and hooker Rob Jones emerged from under a pile of bodies with the ball to claim the Keys’ second try of the game. Josh Prosser was again on target with his conversion attempt with Keys fully deserving of their lead with just over 20 minutes played.
The blue and blacks gradually got back in to the game and were on the scoreboard after 25 minutes when outside half Ben Jones kicked a penalty for his side’s first points of the game. This seemed to spur the visitors in to action with Keys unable to build any sort of momentum as the blue and blacks stayed on top.
The Keys were reduced to 14 men with half an hour played when full back Leon Andrews was sent to the sin bin for an apparent high tackle as Cardiff attacked in to the Keys 22. The blue and blacks made their numerical advantage count almost immediately when they kicked to the corner from the resulting penalty. This enabled them to produce a series of drives toward the Keys try-line and they eventually moved the ball wide and, helped by some poor one on one tackles by Keys, Cardiff second row Miles Normandale was worked in to space to cross for the visitors first try of the game with a little over 30 minutes played. Ben Jones added the conversion.
Half Time Score Cross Keys 14 Cardiff 10
The Keys must have been given some harsh words in the changing rooms at the break as they responded perfectly when they scored a superb try just 2 minutes in to the second half. An excellent break by skipper Scott Matthews, who took play up toward the Cardiff 22 saw the ball moved out to the left and following good work from a number of Keys players the ball was worked out to replacement winger Nathan Trowbridge who was worked in to space down the left flank to cross for Keys’ third try of the evening. Josh Prosser, who showed deft hands in the build up to the try added the conversion.
The visitors responded almost immediately when they made their way down field from the restart and from a driving lineout as a result of a penalty kick to the corner they were able to charge forward to score their second try of the game through James Murphy. Ben Jones was again on target with the conversion.
With the game passing the hour mark Keys secured their bonus point when from a ruck formed from a lineout just outside the Cardiff 22, skipper Scott Matthews went down the blindside of the ruck toward the blue and blacks try-line. He didn’t quite have the legs to go over the whitewash himself but he found support on his shoulder in the shape of Lee Evans and on his debut the flanker did the rest to cross for Keys’ 4th try. Prosser again adding the extras from the right of the posts.
The visitors reduced the deficit with around 12 minutes remaining with a second Ben Jones penalty but the outcome of a highly entertaining clash was all but decided with a little under 10 minutes remaining when Cardiff’s attempted clearance from their own try line saw Keys’ replacement scrum half Owain Leonard charge down the clearance kick and he pounced on bouncing ball to grab Keys’ 5th try of the evening which was again converted by Prosser.
The blue and blacks had the final say when their forwards forged another try with around 5 minutes remaining when Kristian Smith went over for the visitors 3rd try which was converted by Ben Jones. Any hopes of a comeback by the blue and blacks were short lived as the referee bought an end to proceedings just a few minutes after that blue and blacks try.
Overall another step in the right direction for Keys as they secured a 3rd straight deserved victory.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Lewis Barnett, Rob Jones, Nathan Trowbridge, Lee Evans & Owain Leonard
Conversions: Josh Prosser (x5)
Tries: Miles Normandale, James Murphy & Kristian Smith
Conversions: Ben Jones (x3)
Penalties: Ben Jones (x2)
Cross Keys Man of the Match: Scott Matthews