Cross Keys were soundly beaten by Carmarthen Quins at the Park last Saturday although a late second half comeback meant Keys didn’t leave empty handed and picked up a 4 try bonus point for their late efforts, something that in a relegation season may prove vital as the weeks go on.
The Quins made a rampant start to the game and flew out of the blocks with Keys looking like they were still sat on the bus, and were unable to park it during the opening 20 minutes. The Quins opening score came with around 3 minutes on the clock when Keys failed to deal with the opening kick-off and put themselves under pressure and Quins flanker Ed Siggery powered through from close range to give his side a perfect start. Full back Aled Thomas, who appeared a number of times for Keys as a Dragons player some years ago added the extras from the left hand side of the posts.
It didn’t take long for the Quins to further their lead when they calmly made their way up field from the restart and eventually from a close range lineout the ball was worked through the hands and found its way to openside Elis Lloyd and he went over from close range with 7 minutes played. Aled Thomas again successful with the conversion.
The barrage of pressure continued as the Quins pressed for a 3rd try almost immediately and they weren’t to be denied when they found space out wide which winger Dale Ford exploited and score his side’s 3rd try with a little under 15 minutes played. Thomas continuing his personal haul with the awkward conversion from out wide.
The Keys found opportunities hard to come by but steadied the ship, managing to keep play around the middle of the park as play entered the second quarter. Keys won a string of penalties whilst play was around the halfway and opted to kick to the corner but the resulting lineout drives initially came to nothing as Quins defence remained firm.
Keys finally got themselves on the board when following good quality lineout play from skipper Damian Welch and subsequent drive forward the ball was worked in field and a series forward drives eventually led to prop Gerard Ellis breaking free from a ruck formed in front of the posts and bursting through a last ditch tackle to crash over under the sticks for Keys’ first points of the day with just over 30 minutes played. Outside half Jason Tovey adding the easiest of conversions.
This minor setback didn’t harm Quins too badly as they secured their 4 try bonus point thanks to a powerful run from winger Dylan Morgans and with Keys struggling defensively he found support inside and scrum half Liam Davies did the rest to score under the posts for a try which Aled Thomas again converted.
Half Time Score Carmarthen Quins 28 Cross Keys 7
With the windy conditions favouring the home side for the second half it was likely to be a case of damage limitations for Keys who simply had no answer to Quins first half dominance across the park.
Almost immediately from the restart Aled Thomas pulled Quins further ahead with a long range penalty from in front of the posts. The Quins grabbed a 5th try just under 10 minutes in to the second half when some neat handling from the base of scrum saw the ball worked out to winger Dylan Morgans to force his way over for a try which Thomas couldn’t convert from the touch line.
The home side grabbed their 6th try with 56 minutes played and went past the 40 point mark when replacement Tom Ball went over for an unconverted try.
From here Keys rang the changes and there is no doubt that the bench certainly had a positive impact when Keys began to dominate the scrum as well as looking sharper and stronger in the loose, although with the game entering the closing 20 minutes it was probably too little too late.
The new found forward dominance from Keys was rewarded on 65 minutes when following a powerful scrum the referee, Simon Mills had no option but only just before it looked as though replacement number 8 Izaak Duffy had scored from the base of the scrum. The penalty try of course coming with the automatic conversion.
Keys threw everything they had at Quins and an impressive break forward saw flanker Joe Carlin impressively offload under pressure to supporting full back Leon Andrews who did the rest and crossed for Keys’3rd try which Tovey duly converted with 10 minutes remaining.
The Keys continued to use their pack to good effect and with less than 5 minutes a series of drives forward from close range led to replacement Izaak Duffy, who had an excellent impact from the bench forcing his way over for a try on debut which gave Keys what could prove to be a crucial 4 try bonus point. Tovey added the extras from the left of the posts and Keys set about possibly grabbing an unlikely 2nd bonus point for closing the gap to 7 with a further try. Despite their best efforts that wasn’t to be and Keys settled for a single bonus point after a tough day at the office such was Quins dominance for the opening 60 minutes.
Carmarthen Quins Scorers:-
Tries: Ed Siggery, Elis Lloyd, Dale Ford, Liam Davies, Dylan Morgans & Tom Ball
Conversions: Aled Thomas (x4)
Penalty: Aled Thomas
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Gerard Ellis, Leon Andrews, Izaak Duffy & Penalty Try
Conversions: Jason Tovey (x3) & Penalty Try Conversion