WINGER Kristian Baller has got the taste for silverware after Cross Keys brought the Swalec Cup back to Pandy park, writes Chris Kirwan.
Keys ensured that a magnificent season ended with the first trophy in their 127-year history when they beat Pontypridd at the Millennium Stadium on Monday.
This term they finished sixth in the Premiership, were beaten by Munster A in the final of the British and Irish Cup before winning the Swalec Cup.
“We want to push on next season,” said Baller, who signed from Pontypridd last summer. “With a few signings I am sure we can target the Premiership.
“We slipped off in the league this year when we reached the two finals but we want to go all the way next time.
“We want more silverware. On Monday we had it in the back of our minds that we didn’t want to see another team lifting a trophy in front of us.
“In the end we thoroughly deserved the win and we showed our quality, which was important after Munster when a few of us got stage fright, myself included.
“We took a few teams by surprise this year but everyone now knows how dangerous we are. That will make things a bit different but there is real spirit in this squad, a desire to improve and win more cups.”
It was a sweet victory for centre Leon Andrews, who was a member of the Cardiff side that lost the cup to Llandovery with the last play in 2007.
And the 27-year-old, Keys’ standout performer this season along with hooker Gerwyn Price, believes their loss at Musgrave Park was a key factor. “I think that a few of us had points to prove after Cork,” he said. “That showed at the end of the game when we had more resilience and were more streetwise.
“No-one likes losing and being told how well you’ve done to get to a final, you want a winner’s medal. We had to stick at it at times and if they had scored before half-time (when leading 13-6 and piling on the pressure) then they would have been able to shut up shop.
“But there was real desire and everyone played out of their skin. In the end we got our reward and it would have been an injustice if we didn’t get anything after the season we have had.”