Cross Keys made it through to the quarter finals of the WRU National Cup for the 5th consecutive season with a comfortable victory over plucky championship side Bedlinog in Round 2 at Pandy Park last Saturday.
With heavy conditions under foot then this clash was never likely to prove to be a cup classic. Despite both side’s efforts the game, particularly in the first half was scrappy with a number of handling errors and untidy passages of play throughout the opening 40 minutes.
It was Keys who opened the scoring when they opened up an overlap out wide, thanks to a burst forward from back row man Josh Skinner followed up by a perfectly timed pass from Luke Dyckhoff, who impressed on his first start for the Keys worked winger Nathan Trowbridge in to space and he did the rest to cross for the game’s opening score with less than 5 minutes played. Josh Prosser added the conversion.
The game continued to be stop-start as the referee’s whistle continued to dominate proceedings as the half went on with the visitors guilty of conceding numerous penalties, meaning that any opportunities they might have had to get themselves back in to the game went astray with Keys able to clear any danger or create good field position for themselves.
Josh Prosser slotted over 2 penalties in quick succession for Keys, midway through the half and Keys went close to crossing the whitewash with Dyckhoff, Mathew Powell and Trowbridge all close to crossing, only for the Foxes to clear their lines thanks to their well organised defensive line.
On the stroke of half time the visitors conceded another penalty and the referee lost patience and showed hooker Nathan Huish a yellow card thanks largely to the number of penalties awarded against his side throughout the first half.
Half Time Score Cross Keys 13 Bedlinog 0
The Keys wasted no time in extending their lead early in the second half when inside the opening 5 minutes of the half, a sustained period of pressure led to full back Leon Andrews having the strength to cross for his side’s second try of the game close to the posts at the clubhouse end. Josh Prosser added the straight forward conversion.
The Foxes then enjoyed their best period of the game as Keys were beginning to commit several offences which enabled the visitors to clear their lines and make their way up field to pin Keys back to their own 22, putting them under pressure.
That pressure finally told when after 55 minutes of play the Foxes grabbed their opening points of the game when following a close range lineout second row Damon Pritchard was driven over the whitewash for the try, which was converted by outside half Liam Jones.
The visitors used this score as a catalyst and can perhaps consider themselves unlucky to have not put more points on the board despite another good period of play in Keys’ territory. They also had a one man advantage going in to the closing 15 minutes when Keys’ number 8 Adam Powell was sent to the sin bin, again probably due to the number of penalties conceded in quick succession by Keys.
Despite being a man down, Keys upped the ante going in to the final 10 minutes when a break by Mathew Powell, after good work by Leon Andrews in defence saw Powell deliver a scoring pass to centre Lewis Barnett who crossed to all but seal the victory as the game entered the closing 5 minutes. Replacement Corey Shephard added the conversion from in front of the posts.
Keys attacked immediately from the kick off, when a break from halfway saw Barnett again worked in to space and he crossed in front of the score board for his second try with the game entering added time. Shephard adding the conversion from out wide. There was still time for Keys to grab their 5th try when a break down field saw Mathew Powell use his pace to good effect and cross in the corner with Barnett this time delivering the scoring pass for the try which was converted by Shephard with the final play of the half.
Overall a valiant effort from Bedlinog and perhaps the score line did flatter Keys somewhat thanks to those late scores.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Lewis Barnett (x2), Nathan Trowbridge, Leon Andrews & Mathew Powell
Conversions: Corey Shephard (x3) & Josh Prosser (x2)
Penalties: Josh Prosser (x2)
Try: Damon Pritchard
Conversion: Liam Jones
Keys Man of the Match: Tom Lampard