CROSS Keys got their Principality Premiership play-off push back on track by crushing Cardiff with a comprehensive bonus point victory over at Pandy Park, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.
After three defeats on the bounce in the league away to Llandovery, Aberavon and Llanelli, the Gwent Valleys side desperately needed a win.
And the home team delivered in spaded in an encounter played at breakneck speed, the hosts’ triumph forged by a dominant scrum, great attacking play, by wing Nathan Trowbridge in particular, and the stewardship and place kicking of No 10 Dorian Jones.
Keys shaded a highly competitive first 40 minutes which saw them lead 19-10 at the interval after a flurry of points just before half-time.
Cardiff had led 10-9 after blindside flanker Nick White had scored the game’s opening try and former Keys fly-half Dean Gunter had converted it and kicked a penalty to three slotted over by Jones.
He added his fourth before Trowbridge’s interception try was converted by Jones as he reached 200 points for the season.
A Gunter penalty saw Cardiff draw first blood in the second half before Keys hit back with a superb team try scored by blindside flanker Jevon Groves after great work by Trowbridge and Jones, the latter’s conversion making the score 26-13.
And the game was effectively over in the 51st minute when Keys got their third converted touchdown, their powerful scrum putting the visitors under enormous pressure, referee Gwyn Morris awarding the home side a penalty try.
Jones’ conversion saw his side go 20 points ahead with just under half an hour to go.
They got their bonus point try when lock Dan Hodge crossed from a driving lineout with seven minutes to go while replacement prop Anthony Lott got try number five right at the death.
This win saw Keys complete the double over the capital city side after November’s 38-10 hammering of their opponents at Cardiff Arms Park.
It gives them a huge psychological advantage ahead of their Swalec Cup quarter-final clash with the same opponents away next Saturday.
Cross Keys scorers: Tries – Nathan Trowbridge (39), Jevon Groves (48), Penalty try (51), Dan Hodge (73), Anthony Lott (80), Conversions – Dorian Jones (39) (48) (51) (73), Penalties – D Jones (13) (29) (32) (38)
Cardiff scorers: Tries – Nick White (23), Conversions – Dean Gunter (23), Penalties – D Gunter (37) (44)
Referee: Gwyn Morris (WRU)