CROSS Keys director of rugby Jonathan Westwood paid tribute to his front five who paved the way for the club entering the Swalec Cup quarter-finals.
The 2012 champions cruised past Bedwas with a superb forward effort to bounce back in style after being humbled at the Bridge Field last month.
Keys lost 22-12 that day in the Principality Premiership, outmuscled by the home side’s pack.
But what a difference three short weeks can make, the tables turned completely as the visitors scrummaged the hosts to death to provide a cast iron platform.
And with a player as good as Keys’ up and coming Dorian Jones dictating matters at outside-half, the end result was never really in doubt.
Westwood was pleased with the impressive performance and felt his men answered their critics in the best way after what was a comprehensive defeat to Bedwas at the end of January, despite the losing margin only being ten points last month.
“We needed this victory big time because we embarrassed ourselves three weeks ago in a performance that was dishonest in many ways,” he said.
“I was delighted with how the front five played in particular.
“But it was also a good team performance and to score 31 points against a good side like Bedwas, who are very difficult to beat at home, is an achievement.”
Keys made a statement of their intent from the off. They started with a big bang, surging into the Bedwas 22.
Their powerful scrum then shunted the hosts back from five metres out, captain and number eight Adam Powell touching down for a pushover try, fly-half Dorian Jones slotting the conversion to give the visitors a 7-0 lead after five minutes.
Bedwas hit back with a penalty from their No 10 Richard Powell, Keys guilty of being heavily penalised in the contact area.
But that was about as good as it got for the shell-shocked hosts, the Pandy Park side powerful scrum making mince meat of the home eight, which began retreating at a rate of knots, for inside-half Rhys Dyer to score his side’s second try to put them 12-3 up after 20 minutes.
Keys outside-half Dorian Jones may have narrowly missed the conversion but he made up for it with a majestic penalty seconds later, his team in total control.
An act of brotherly love saw his full-back sibling Rhys, back from his globetrotting Wales Sevens adventures, touch down for their third try after a neat cross-kick by the No 10 as Keys built up a 20-3 advantage.
The game was held up for several minutes just before the interval when Bedwas No 9 Tom Edwards was stretched from the field with a leg injury, although thankfully it wasn’t a serious one.
And the Keys backs showed the forwards that they weren’t going to win it completely alone when they showed slick hands for wing James Cordy-Redden to cross for their fourth try, a sparkling score in the mud.
The half-time score saw the visiting team full value for their 25-3 lead and the game already won.
The second half started in a similar vein, the home side’s scrum such a devastating weapon, Dorian Jones kicking two penalties from the relentless pressure to stretch their lead.
Bedwas did try and get back in the game but only put Keys under any real pressure in the final quarter, visiting lock Ollie Hodge sin binned.
The hosts didn’t take advantage of having an extra man however, the visitors holding out with relative ease.
Keys looked like their old selves again and are a good bet to do very well in the competition again this season.
Bedwas: Harley Thomson (Stuart Thomas 54), Rory Budina (Elliot Jones 54), Lewis Hudd, Scott Williams, Glen Lewis, Richard Powell, Tom Edwards (Luke Crane 35); Ian George (Dan Preece 55), Rhys Hutcherson (Huw Wilkes 65), Joe Mills (Matthew Pettit 49), Phill Rees, Luke Connolly (James Benjamin 49), James Thomas, Simon Grainger (capt), Dan Crimmins (Deri Mattravers 49)
Bedwas scorer: Penalty – Richard Powell (15)
Cross Keys: Rhys Jones, James Cordy-Redden, Nathan Williams, Aled James, Nathan Trowbridge, Dorian Jones, Rhys Dyer (Owen Jones 71), Richard Cornock, Darren Hughes (Henry Palmer 75), Craig Gould (A Lott 65), Danny Hodge, Ollie Hodge (Jack Condy 75), Tom Lampard, Reuben Tucker, Adam Powell (capt)
Replacements: Phil Williams, Elliot Jones, Ryan Lee.
Cross Keys scorers: Tries – Adam Powell (5), Rhys Dyer (19), Rhys Jones (27), James Cordy-Redden (38), Conversions – Dorian Jones (5), Penalties – Dorian Jones (22) (48) (54)
Referee: Gwyn Morris (WRU)
Argus star men: Richard Cornock, Darren Hughes and Craig Gould