Cross Keys continued where they had left off against Cardiff in their previous game with another bonus point victory this time over Llandovery in a rearranged Principality Premiership fixture at Pandy Park on Tuesday evening.
It was arguably the visitors from mid-Wales that got off to a better start but Keys kept them at bay with some excellent defensive work as they were able to clear their lines despite the Drovers’ best efforts inside the opening 10 minutes.
With a first real foray in to the Drovers territory Keys were first on the scoreboard with around 14 minutes played when some excellent handling, combined with a barnstorming run from prop Gary Carpenter enabled Keys to get on to the front foot and in to the Drovers 22. The ball was moved quickly out wide and an impressive offload from Josh Prosser saw flanker Garin Price crash over the near the touch line for the try, for his second try in as many games for Keys. Prosser added the conversion from out wide as Keys took the lead, arguably against the run of play.
The Keys were reduced to 14 men around 5 minutes later when second row Tom Lampard was harshly shown the yellow card by referee Gareth John for an apparent dangerous tackle on the halfway line. It seemed as though everyone at Pandy Park was a little bemused by the referee’s decision.
From the resulting penalty the Drovers opted to kick to touch and from the lineout they launched an impressive rolling maul which marched its way forward toward the Keys try line. From a resulting ruck formed just short of the Keys line the Drovers captain and number 8 Richard Brooks was able to force his way over for the try, to the right hand side of the posts at the clubhouse end of the ground. Outside half Jack Maynard was unable to add the extras with around 20 minutes now played.
With Keys still down to 14 men the Drovers went ahead for the first time on 28 minutes when they again spent time camped on the Keys’ try line and second row Joe Powell was this time on hand to burrow his way over for the Drovers’ second try just to the left of the posts. Maynard was again unsuccessful with his conversion attempt.
The Keys reclaimed the lead with around 3 minutes of the half remaining. A break up the middle of the park from halfway by centre Barney Nightingale bought Keys in to the Drovers’ 22 and the ball was put out wide to winger Lloyd Lewis. With what looked to be no real chances on, Lewis managed to break through a number of attempted tackles and did the rest to race through and cross for Keys’ second try. Josh Prosser added the extras with Keys taking the lead in to the interval.
Half Time Score Cross Keys 14 Llandovery 10
Playing toward the club house in the second half Keys started well and they extended their lead thanks to a Josh Prosser penalty with 3 minutes of the second half played.
With Keys well in control as the half went on it was no real surprise that they went further ahead after 52 minutes when a burst forward almost led to club captain Scott Matthews grabbing a try, having only been on the pitch for a few minutes. After a move that had started with a turnover by Keys prop Scott Evans deep in his own 22, the ball was carried forward excellently by his fellow rampaging Keys prop Gary Carpenter who broke down the touch line and in to the Drovers half, with a 40 metre run. The ball was played inside and carries forward by Barney Nightingale, Josh Skinner and Ieuan Jones saw Scott Matthews released clear but he was bought down around 10 metres from the Drovers’ try line but he had Tom Lampard with him in support and on his 349th appearance for the club Lampard was able to cross for Keys’ 3rd try, which Josh Prosser converted from just left of the posts.
With the referee’s whistle continuing to play a frustrating part in Keys efforts to attack and get the bonus point try play seemed to be centred around the halfway line for the remainder of the second half. Keys were patient in their approach and despite Llandovery seeming to benefit from the officials decisions and also enjoying the lion’s share of possession Keys kept the Drovers pinned back in their own half.
With around 5 minutes remaining it looked as though Keys may secure the bonus point try as quick thinking by number 8 Ieuan Jones on the halfway line saw him look to put width on the play to release the players outside him in to space. Despite Keys having an advantage for a Drovers knock on, play was bizarrely called back for the knock on even though Keys had possession and had looked to counter from the halfway line.
The Keys did get the bonus point with the final play of the game when Llandovery were awarded another penalty on their own line, they failed to find touch and Josh Prosser bought play forward toward the Drovers 22. Scott Matthews was on hand as play continued forward toward the Drover’s try line and Matthews single handily continued his run taking a number of defenders over the whitewash with him to secure the bonus point with a try near the posts. Prosser made no mistake to round off his faultless kicking display with the final play of the match.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Garin Price, Lloyd Lewis, Tom Lampard & Scott Matthews
Conversions: Josh Prosser (x4)
Penalty: Josh Prosser
Tries: Richard Brooks & Joe Powell
Keys Man of the Match: Scott Evans