Cross Keys came out as victors in this entertaining clash against Bridgend at the Brewery Field on Saturday afternoon.
The home side started the game brighter than the Keys and the Ravens soon built up a 10 - 0 lead all thanks to their outside half Jamie Murphy who firstly scored a penalty after 4 minutes then crossed for a converted try after 7 minutes, largely assisted by some extremely poor attempted tackles by The Keys particularly on Ravens second row Scott Hicks who rampaged through the Keys defence.
It took around 10 minutes of the game for Keys to build any real momentum and it was outside half Dorian Jones who got Keys' first points of the afternoon with a straight forward penalty following a Ravens offence at a ruck. After 15 minutes Keys got their first try of the game with flanker Rhys Peebles crossing after excellent build up play from a number of Keys players to put them in the scoring position. Dorian Jones failing to add the extras.
Keys were really starting to dominate particularly looking sharp in the back line with Gareth David imparticular looking really keen to impress against his old side where he has amassed a number of points scoring records but also on his 100th appearance for The Keys.
After 26 minutes Keys took the lead for the first time with Scott Matthews, who had a fine game finding his way over the line in similar fashion to how his back row colleague Rhys Peebles had crossed earlier. This time Dorian Jones was successful with the conversion.
It stayed that way for the majority of the remainder of the first half but Jamie Murphy struck a sweet drop goal just before half time.
Half time score: Bridgend 13 Cross Keys 15
In the second half Bridgend took an early lead thanks to another straight forward penalty struck by Jamie Murphy.
Keys quickly responded and the man making his 100th Keys appearance Gareth David was never going to be denied his opportunity to cross the whitewash on the ground where he was once a hero and crossed comfortably after excellent work from a number of his team-mates, although Gazzy perhaps needs to work on his swallow dive technique! Dorian Jones unable to add the extras from near the touch line.
Keys pulled further ahead as
Dorian Jones added his second penalty of the game on 63 minutes. Back
came the Ravens just two minutes after this though and Shaun o'Rourke
crossed for a try once again after poor Keys defending and ensured that
the scores would be leveled if Jamie Murphy could kick the conversion,
which he duly did.
A tense ending was pretty much a certainty now as the game entered the final 15 minutes but Danny Hodge crossed for the bonus point try for Keys with just over 10 minutes to go as he charged down an attempted clearance kick on the Ravens 22 and gathered the bounce well to cross the line, Dorian Jones successful with the conversion. The Ravens were not going to let their heads drop and once again came back at Keys and with Keys reduced to 14 men as Scott Matthews sat in the sin bin following a ruck offence, the Ravens scored a try by Andrew Waite which was converted by Jamie Murphy tied the scores once more with just 5 minutes left on the clock.
Keys were then awarded a penalty with two minutes left young replacement fly half Angus o'Brien stepped up and successfully pulled Keys in to the lead once more, a lead which this time was not going to be surrendered. Keys broke clear once more as the game entered the final minute and replacement wing Kristian Baller crossed for Keys 5th try of the day which o'Brien could not convert.
Overall a good victory for Keys to bring a 4 game losing streak to an end and keep them in the hunt of the end of season playoffs although other teams results have to go Keys way if that is to happen. Much to admire in this game and a huge congratulations to Gareth David on his 100th appearance for the club and I'm sure that if he couldn't have made the appearance at Pandy Park then the Brewery Field was the next best thing for the former Ravens' favourite.
Tries: Jamie Murphy, Shaun o'Rourke & Andrew Waite
Conversions: Jamie Murphy (x3)
Penalties: Jamie Murphy (x2)
Drop Goal: Jamie Murphy
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Rhys Peebles, Scott Matthews, Gareth David, Danny Hodge & Kristian Baller
Conversions: Dorian Jones (x2)
Penalties: Dorian Jones (x2), Angus o'Brien (x1)