Bedwas 22 Cross Keys 12
CROSS Keys’ Principality Premiership ambitions took a dent after they were comprehensively outmuscled by Bedwas’ forwards to leave the Bridge Field empty handed, writes Iwan Gabe Davies
Following their disappointing 31-17 defeat at Moseley in the British and Irish Cup the previous week, this was another below par performance.
Just as they came unstuck in Birmingham after coming second best to the English Championship side’s eight, they were again given a lesson up front.
Bedwas’ tight play was impressive and the men from Pandy Park were under intense pressure in the scrum at times.
The first half was played in shocking conditions, so bad in fact that one feared the game might actually be abandoned at one point in monsoon conditions.
As well as dominating possession, Bedwas had the significant advantage in the opening 40 minutes of the howling wind and rain being at their backs as they held Keys in a merciless stranglehold.
Fly-half Richard Powell converted their considerable pressure into points with a penalty after ten minutes.
And they continued to exert an enormous strain on Keys, the visitors’ scrum buckling as the home eight ploughed over their try line, back row forward and captain Simon Grainger touching down for a score which Powell converted to put them into a 10-0 lead as the first quarter drew to a close.
The visitors began to fight back and were rewarded when their outside-half Dorian Jones slotted over a penalty in the 24th minute.
But Bedwas kept turning the screw and hooker Richard Wilkes crashed over for his side’s second try, Powell missing the conversion near the posts as the near gale force wind took his attempt off the target.
The score was 15-3 as the sides went into the welcome warmth of the changing rooms at half-time.
When they re-emerged, the weather had abated which meant Keys couldn’t fully utilise the elements in their favour.
Although their impressive No 10 Jones kicked two fine penalties to reduce the gap to 15-9 it was Bedwas who were the better side.
They made the game safe with just over 20 minutes to go when former Pontypool wing Rory Budina pounced on a neat chip by Powell.
The outside-half’s excellent touchline conversion of their third try made it 22-9.
A lovely drop goal from a tight angle by Jones with ten minutes to go gave Keys hope but Bedwas didn’t release their tight grip, Steve Law’s men seeing the game home safely without any serious prospect of their opponents even getting a losing bonus point.
Keys know better than anyone they will have to shape up for their next clash – home to Bedwas at Pandy Park on Sunday before facing their old foes in three weeks at the Bridge Field in the Swalec Cup.
Bedwas: Hartley Thomson, Rory Budina, Lewis Hudd, Scott Williams, Glen Lewis, Richard Powell, Tom Edwards; Ian George, Richard Wilkes, Matthew Pettit, Phill Rees, Kyle Maiden (James Sawyer 48), James Thomas, Dan Crimmins (James Connolly71), Simon Grainger (capt).
Replacements: Matthew Phelps, Dan Preece, Huw Wilkes, Luke Crane, Stuart Thomas, Andy Humberstone.
Bedwas scorers: Tries – Simon Grainger (18), Richard Wilkes (34), Rory Budina (58), Conversions – Richard Powell (18, 58), Penalty – Richard Powell (10)
Cross Keys: James Cordy-Redden, Elliot Jones (Ryan Lee 65, Nathan Williams (Aled James 6), Phil Williams, Nathan Trowbridge, Dorian Jones, Rhys Dyer, Richard Cornock (Luke Garrett 60), Darren Hughes (Jack Perkins 63), Anthony Lott (Craig Gould 60), Dan Hodge, Tom Lampard, Reuben Tucker, Gerwyn Price (Henry Palmer 63), Adam Powell (capt)
Replacements: Sean Higgins, Owen Jones.
Cross Keys scorers: Penalties – Dorian Jones (24, 42, 53), drop goal – Dorian Jones (70).
Referee: Sean Brickel (WRU)