Cross Keys were soundly beaten by a rampant Bedwas at the Bridge Field last Saturday afternoon.
With the favourable weather conditions always likely to mean that a feast of running rugby was likely to be served up by the two sides this game certainly proved an excellent advert for the Principality Premiership, but Keys will be extremely disappointed at some of the basic errors and poor defence that they delivered on Saturday.
Bedwas started brightly and were soon ahead inside the opening 5 minutes when former Keys favourite Steffan Jones, playing in the unfamiliar outside centre role opened up a huge gap in the Keys’ defence to round off a flowing move and cross for the opening try just 4 minutes in, Jones also adding the conversion from the right hand side of the posts.
Keys responded well and were on the scoreboard themselves with 9 minutes played when Josh Prosser slotted over a straight forward penalty after Bedwas had gone off their feet at a ruck.
The home side again benefitted from some frankly woeful defending from Keys allowed them to set up good field position and outside half Joseph Scrivens was able to break free and crossed with relative ease for his side’s second try with around 15 minutes on the clock. Steffan Jones again adding the conversion, from a similar position to his first attempt.
Just three minutes later Keys grabbed their opening try when, from a scrum around the 22 metre line, winger Lloyd Lewis found himself in field and his run opened up the home side’s defence before he provided the scoring pass for his fellow winger Mathew Powell who finished brilliantly in the corner for the try which Josh Prosser failed to convert from the touchline.
The game settled somewhat as it entered the second quarter but after a scrum on the Keys 5 metre line, Bedwas scrum half Tom Rowlands darted down the blindside and crossed for his side’s 3rd try with almost 30 minutes played. Steffan Jones again added the conversion to further the home side’s lead.
The you score, we score mentality continued just 3 minutes later when a impressive break from deep by Keys’ full back Corey Shephard from his own 22, after the ball was recycled quickly from a Key scrum inside their own 22 saw Keys break up field toward the half way line. As he entered the Bedwas half Shephard kicked the ball through for centre Barney Nightingale to chase and he won the race to the ball to finish off a fine move for Keys’ second try of an entertaining first half. Prosser added the conversion from just right of the posts with 34 minutes now played.
As seemed almost inevitable Bedwas were next to score when they secured the bonus point for their 4th try when winger Ryan Davies found himself in space to race through in to the right hand corner for a try with around 3 minutes of the half remaining, Keys defence again looking suspect in the build up to the try. Steffan Jones maintaining his 100% kick record by adding the touchline conversion which went over off the post.
Half Time Score Bedwas 28 Cross Keys 15
Bedwas stopped the you score, we score pattern of the first half as they crossed for a 5th try when Ryan Davies crossed for his second try of the game with the second half being only 2 minutes old. Steffan Jones this time was unable to add the conversion.
With Keys ringing the changes early on in the second half, replacement Joe Thomas gave Keys some hope 5 minutes later when he went over for his first try thanks to some quick handling and neat running across the Keys back line, which created the space for Thomas to cross in the corner. Josh Prosser couldn’t add the extras from the touchline.
Bedwas stuck to the script as they came back almost immediately from the restart when Keys failed to clear their lines and turned the ball over in their own 22. This turn over allowed Bedwas to get back on the front foot and Steffan Jones, who was at the heart of everything Bedwas were doing punished his former side to break through some weak tackle attempts to cross for his second and his side’s 6th try with 50 minutes played. He failed to convert his own try from the left of the posts.
From the restart Keys found themselves down to 14 men when prop Scott Evans was harshly shown a yellow card, which appeared to be the decision of the assistant referee following a dangerous ‘no arms’ tackle.
With a one man advantage the home side crossed for their 7th try and all but sealed the victory when, with 55 minutes on the clock hooker Mike Dacey found himself going over the whitewash with the ball after a close range driving lineout. Steffan Jones got back on target as he added the extras with the home side closing in on 50 points, to lead by 45 points to 20.
The pace of the game slowed somewhat going in to the final quarter, with both sides showing signs of fatigue after a frantic hour of almost non-stop running rugby. Keys grabbed their bonus point for the 4 tries when after 5 minutes camped near to the Bedwas line, skipper Scott Matthews barged over from close range next to the posts with around 10 minutes remaining. As Keys sensed an unlikely comeback Josh Prosser quickly slotted over a drop kicked conversion.
Any hope of a remarkable Keys comeback was ended when former Keys full back Aaron Bramwell went over in the final 3 minutes for Bedwas’ 8th try of the game after some good handling worked him in to space to score. Outside half Joseph Scrivens added the conversion with Bedwas passing 50 points. Almost immediately from the restart Keys broke through and replacement Joe Thomas was on hand to cross for another try. Josh Prosser added the conversion from left of the posts.
With the last play of the game Bedwas had the final say when winger Ryan Davies completed his hat-trick as he eased his way over as the home side created another overlap outwide for him to touchdown at the corner flag. Scrivens sent his conversion wide of the posts but Bedwas were deserved winners as Keys defensive errors proved all too costly.
Despite the result there was one cause of celebration for Keys as club legend, Tom Lampard played his 350th competitive game for the club, after 13 years at Pandy Park.
Tries: Ryan Davies (x3), Steffan Jones (x2), Joseph Scrivens, Tom Rowlands, Mike Dacey & Aaron Bramwell
Conversions: Steffan Jones (x5) & Joseph Scrivens (x1)
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Joe Thomas (x2), Mathew Powell, Barney Nightingale & Scott Matthews
Conversions: Josh Prosser (x3)
Penalty: Josh Prosser