Moseley 31 Cross Keys 17

First published in Sport South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

CROSS Keys’ British and Irish Cup dreams ended abruptly in the West Midlands as they were given a harsh scrummaging lesson by the English Championship side who had wrapped the game up just over halfway through the first half.

The Pandy Park had travelled to face the famous club, fallen on hard times in recent years, with high hopes and an outside chance of making the competition’s quarter-finals as one of two best group runners-up.

But they were blown away by Moseley’s power game, the Championship strugglers’ eight, containing former Wales international prop Ben Evans in their ranks on the tighthead, just too good.

A strong start by Keys had seen them them force their way into the home 22, outside-half Dorian Jones, just named Principality Premiership player of the month, putting them ahead with a penalty in the opening minutes.

But it was Moseley who scored the first try from over half way when Scott Armstrong scorched down the right wing to sear through some weak defending, No 10 Will Hooley giving them a 7-3 lead after ten minutes.

The hosts’ Simon Hunt, formerly of Ebbw Vale, got their second try soon after all too easily with the visitors pinned back near their own line.

The Gwent side battled to get back into the game but they were still under immense pressure in the scrum and a breakaway try from Moseley’s 22 on Keys’ put-in was a killer blow, Hooley converting his own touchdown to give the Birmingham side a 19-3 lead after just 23 minutes.

Without the ability to win any useful possession, it was a tough afternoon for Keys although the introduction of Newport Gwent Dragons’ Argentina international Francisco Chapparo after half an hour did a little to stem the tide.

Keys aren’t the sort of team to raise the white flag and they came close to getting themselves back into it when tighthead Richard Cornock nearly scored a try in the corner.

And they did manage to cross the whitewash just before the interval when old warrior, lock Dan Hodge crossed from close range, Jones converting to give the visitors hope.

But any hopes of a comeback effectively disappeared when replacement hooker Will Evans crossed after Moseley broke through the Keys ranks to get their bonus point fourth try early into the second half.

The conversion was wide but the home side were now 24-10 up.

Keys’ problems were compounded with 25 minutes to go when Cornock was sin binned for taking out a Moseley lineout jumper.

The Gwent Valleys side continued to be under the pump, only brave defence keeping the score down.

Remarkably they were back to within a converted score when wing Nathan Trowbridge crossed for a try in the corner after the home side made a hash of a Dorian Jones grubber, the fly-half majestically converting from the touchline in difficult conditions.

With the home side given the jitters, Keys looked as if they might pull of a remarkable turnaround.

But the hosts kept their nerve to see themselves home, Evans grabbing his second try.

Keys centre Nathan Williams came close to getting a consolation try as Keys kept battling to the end.

Moseley: Mike Penn, Scott Armstrong, Matt Williams, Will Owen, Simon Hunt, William Hooley, Alex Day (Sam Brown 55), Thomas Warren (Craig Voisey 50), Matti Williams (Will Evans 40), Ben Evans (Buster Lawrence 50); Alex Woolford (Mike Powell 40), Gregory Charlton, Neil Mason (capt) (Adam Parkins 50), Olly Robinson, Chris Brightwell.

Replacements: Anthony Carter

Moseley scorers: Try – Scott Armstrong (10), Simon Hunt (13), Will Hooley (23), Will Evans (43, 71), Conversions – William Hooley (10, 23, 71)

Cross Keys: Ryan Lee, Kristian Baller, Nathan Williams, Lewis Robling (Phil Williams 68), Nathan Trowbridge, Dorian Jones, Owen Jones (Luc Jones 40), Richard Cornock, Elliot Dee (Luke Garrett 64), Craig Gould (Francisco Chapparo 32), Danny Hodge, Ollie Hodge (Tom Lampard 35), Phil Sargent (Darren Waters 59), Reuben Tucker, Adam Powell (capt)

Replacements: Luke Garrett

Cross scorers: Tries – Dan Hodge (40), Nathan Trowbridge (62), Conversions – Dorian Jones (40, 62), Penalties – Dorian Jones (4)

Referee: Mark Connelly (IRFU)

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