Cross Keys were defeated by Llanelli on Tuesday evening with basic errors proving costly against the visitors.
On a bright, warm evening and with the Pandy Park surface looking as good as it ever has done it was the visitors who enjoyed the better opening and it was no surprise when the visitors went ahead with a little under 5 minutes on the clock when outside half Ashley Sutton slotted over a penalty from the left of the posts, around the 22 metre line after Keys found themselves offside with Llanelli looking to set up an early attack.
The visitors continued to apply pressure with Keys struggling to exit their own territory. To their credit Keys kept Llanelli at bay with some solid defensive work as the half went on.
Keys finally got some meaningful possession as the game opened up somewhat. A series of pick and goes initially came to nothing although centres Scott Williams and Leon Andrews both went close to crossing only to be halted by some resolute Llanelli defence in front of their own posts. The ball was worked through the hands and Keys grabbed their opening score when number 8 Ieuan Jones forced his way over for a try after 18 minutes of play which James Leadbeater converted from the right of the posts.
With The Keys building some momentum as a result of the try, they went further ahead 5 minutes later when James Leadbeater kicked a penalty from in front of the posts from around 30 metres out.
From here it was Llanelli who got themselves back on top and they crossed for their opening try with around 5 minutes of the first half remaining. A long period of pressure saw hooker Taylor Davies burrow over in the scoreboard corner for a well taken try. Ashley Sutton failed to add the extras, meaning Keys took a narrow lead in to the break.
Half Time Score Cross Keys 10 Llanelli 8
The Keys looked like they would control proceedings early in the second half but the visitors had other ideas and they were quick to react to a loose ball which led to Matthew Jenkins being worked in to space out wide and the winger showed excellent pace to race home to score a try against the run of play 5 minutes in to the second half. Ashley Sutton added the conversion.
Keys were looking to attack from deep and had set up good field position around the Llanelli 22. A loose ball from Keys’ replacement Simon Veall, who looked to put width on the play was read superbly by Llanelli winger Ryan Davies and with a clear path in front of him he raced away with only Keys’ winger Mathew Powell coming in pursuit from the opposite wing. Powell wasn’t able to get their and Davies finished well in the corner for an opportunist interception try. Sutton failed to add the tricky conversion with around 48 minutes on the clock.
Llanelli all but wrapped up the win against a shell-shocked Keys 5 minutes later when they scored a 3rd try in 10 minutes when winger Matthew Jenkins benefited from an unforced Keys error and then broke free of a number of attempted tackles and went through to score his 2nd and his side’s bonus point try. The try was converted by Ashley Sutton with a little over 25 minutes remaining.
Just a few minutes later Keys gave themselves a lifeline when they forced a rare Llanelli mistake which saw the ball spilled in midfield, Mathew Powell hacked through the loose ball and won the foot race to cross for the try with around 20 minutes remaining. James Leadbeater couldn’t add the conversion.
Llanelli pulled themselves more than 2 scores clear when Ashley Sutton calmly kicked a penalty with 15 minutes to play.
With 10 minutes remaining Keys’ centre Leon Andrews made a break through the middle of the park and he was able to off load to second row Tom Lampard who, on his 353rd appearance for the club raced through to beat 2 defenders and touchdown for the try near to the posts at the clubhouse end of the ground. Leadbeater was back on target with the conversion to give Keys the faintest glimmer of hope of a result with just under 10 minutes remaining.
Any hope of Keys turning the result around in the final moments didn’t materialise as Llanelli controlled the remainder of the game well and were able to celebrate a deserved victory after a well-executed performance throughout.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Ieuan Jones, Mathew Powell & Tom Lampard
Conversions: James Leadbeater (x2)
Penalty: James Leadbeater
Tries: Matthew Jenkins (x2), Taylor Davies & Ryan Davies
Conversions: Ashley Sutton (x2)
Penalties: Ashley Sutton (x2)
Keys Man of the Match: Scott Williams