Cross Keys ended the season on a high after comfortably defeating Carmarthen Quins with a bonus point victory.
The Keys were ahead as early as the 2nd minute with impressive Wales under 18's fly half Angus o'Brien kicking a penalty goal. The lead was doubled on 15 minutes once again thanks to a penalty by o'Brien whose distribution and kicking out of hand was superb throughout the game.
Keys were really starting to dominate but the lead they had built up was cut by 3 points as Quins fly half Dan Newton got what proved to be his side's only points of the game on around 20 minutes with a straight forward penalty from in front of the posts.
The Keys pack then began to take the game to Quins and set a platform for Keys dangerous back line to build upon. It was this solid pack performance that saw Quins hooker Richard Wilkes sent to the sin bin as he got frustrated and offended at a ruck with Keys camped on the Quins try line. Nothing came of this though as Quins successfully kept Keys out initially. Then on around 25 minutes with Keys pack once again really on top a Keys scrum was illegally halted by Quins as it marched towards the the try line. This time Quins prop and skipper Ian Jones getting frustrated as his opposite number Anthony Lott well and truly had the upper hand, Jones catching Lott with a right hook for which he was then yellow carded. But bizarrely Keys scrum half Ryan James joined him in the sin bin despite trying to stop the fight that Jones caused and the original penalty was reversed by referee Rhys Thomas in Quins favour so Quins cleared their lines.
So with 14 men versus 13 men the opening try finally came. Flying winger Kristian Baller, who was lively and dangerous throughout picking up a lose ball on the halfway line which Quins had lost and sprinted clear to score under the posts. Angus o'Brien kicking the easiest of conversions. Both sides were restored to 15 men shortly after this but that didn't last long as Tom Lampard was sent to the sin bin after 35 minutes for interfering with a Quins lineout just short of the Keys try line.
Despite Keys being a man down Kristian Baller got his second try of the game as he crossed excellently in the corner after a move that had moved from one side of the pitch to the other thanks largely to some slick handling and running from the dangerous Keys back line. Angus o'Brien failing with the conversion with the last kick of the 1st half.
Half Time Score: Cross Keys 18 Carmarthen Quins 3
In the second half Keys set about securing the bonus point victory that they needed if they were to finish the season in 4th position, although they needed Bedwas to take nothing from their winner takes all clash with Llandovery if this was to happen.
The Keys 3rd try came as Nathan Trowbridge finished off a fine move which started with Leon Andrews forcing a turnover after a bone crunching tackle on the half way line. The ball was turned over from the ruck that had formed and the ball once again went through many hands before Trowbridge did the rest to score wonderfully in the corner. Angus o'Brien again unfortunate with the conversion.
As Keys built on their domination it seemed almost inevitable that the bonus point try would soon come, and it did with just over an hour played. Scott Matthews this time finding himself on the end of another move that seemed to involve everyone and he crossed well to secure the bonus point that might have been critical had Bedwas not picked up anything from their game.
Keys defence was then tested for the next 5 minutes or so as Quins had their best period of the game but the defence was in no mood for favours and cleared the lines successfully. With news filtering through that Bedwas had themselves secured a bonus point and were narrowly leading Llandovery, the final 10 minutes or so seemed to pass with out incident as Keys perhaps realised the final league position was out of their own hands as they had done all they could.
In the end Bedwas were defeated by Llandovery but picked up both a try scoring bonus and a losing bonus point meaning Keys ended the season in 5th place, which is still a record high for Keys beating last year's 6th place finish.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Kristian Baller (x2), Nathan Trowbridge & Scott Matthews
Conversion: Angus o'Brien
Penalties: Angus o'Brien (x2)
Penalty: Dan Newton
Keys Rugby Committee Man of the Match: Kristian Baller