Bedwas 13 Cross Keys 45
CROSS Keys director of rugby Jonathan Westwood stressed the “huge importance” of their British & Irish Cup play-off victory away at Bedwas.
Keys demolished a disappointing Bedwas who, apart from flattering to deceive with a promising start, were never at the races in a decidedly one-sided affair.
The triumph sees them represent the Newport Gwent Dragons region in a competition they lit up two seasons ago.
In 2012, they lost in the final to Munster A after causing a big upset in the semi-finals when they so memorably beat the full-time professionals of the Cornish Pirates at Pandy Park.
They can now look forward to a trip to Dublin to face Leinster A and they’ll get the chance to see how they favour with the English Championship when they play Ealing and Moseley who are also in their group.
The additional six games this season against the above sides, who will be met both home and away, is a big win-win for Keys.
It not only generates some very welcome revenue from hosting three matches, but it also guarantees extra game-time and valuable experiences in an attractive competition that will do no harm to the club’s aura.
It is an adventure that, unfortunately for them, Newport and Bedwas will not enjoy this season after being eliminated by Keys in the play-offs.
Speaking after his side dominated on Saturday, outscoring the hosts by six tries to one, Westwood believes they can still get better.
“I was very pleased with the way we played but I still don’t think we are where we want to be, but we have to be realistic – we are only two weeks into the season,” he said.
“It was also a better performance than last week against Newport and if we are evolving, then that’s fantastic. But there’s a lot to improve on.”
On the significance of the victory, he added: “We have been developing a squad that can compete in three competitions.
“This victory is huge for us, it was vitally important. Had we lost, it would have seen us face long periods of the season with no games.”
It Bedwas who had gone into the lead after a penalty by their outside-half Richard Powell was the reward for their bright start and they had only trailed 17-10 at the interval.
But the second half was a one-horse race as Keys, led from the centre by the superb Leon Andrews, simply blew them away with their power and pace.
The truth was, had their fly-half Dorian Jones not had an off-day with the boot (he missed at least five shots at goal although two were very difficult attempts) they would have won by 60 points.
The Keys tries were scored by sharp wing Nathan Trowbridge who bagged a brace as did consistently excellent second row Dan Hodge, with a pair of touchdowns which showcased his athleticism, exciting full-back Aaron Bramwell and a lovely closing effort by wing Luke Williams.
Jones put over two conversions – his promising prospect replacement Angus O’Brien also kicking one – before slotting over a penalty and dropping a goal.
Bedwas were restricted to a try by Elliot Jones, converted by Powell who also added another penalty.
There were two yellow cards, Bedwas blind side going to the sin bin in the 23rd minute while replacement Keys loosehead Luke Garrett left the field in the last minute.
The game also witnessed the unusual spectacle of referee Gwyn Morris being laid low after accidentally colliding with some of the players.
The match was stopped for a couple of minutes for the official to receive treatment.
He manfully carried on but couldn’t see the game out. He was replaced by touch judge Jason Langdon.
Keys will start their Premiership season next Saturday away to Swansea with the wind in their sails.
For Bedwas it’s back to the drawing board and a daunting trip to face league and cup double champions Pontypridd at Sardis Road’s infamous ‘House of Pain’.
Bedwas scorers: Try – Elliot Jones, Conversion – Richard Powell (13), Penalties – Powell (2).
Cross Keys scorers: Tries – Nathan Trowbridge (2), Dan Hodge (2), Aaron Bramwell, Luke Williams, Conversions – Dorian Jones (2), Angus O’Brien, Penalties – Jones, O’Brien, Drop goal – Dorian Jones.
Bedwas: S Thomas, L Hudd, H Thompson, S Williams (L Gadd 65), E Jones, R Powell (A Humberstone 70), R Downes (T Edwards 67), I George (M Pettit 65), R Wilkes (Z Hadley 65, J Mills (M Phelps 13-45, 80), J Thomas (capt), C Lodge (J Connors 72), A Harris (S Grainger 60), J Sawyer, P Rees.
Cross Keys: A Bramwell, L Williams, L Andrews (capt), P Williams, N Trowbridge (J Cordy-Redden 57), D Jones (A O’Brien 71), R James (J Lewis 71), R Cornock (L Garrett 72), G Price (D Hughes 72), A Lott (C Gould 51), D Hodge, T Lampard, R Peebles (R Tucker 57), S Matthews, A Powell.
Referee: Gwyn Morris (Cardiff)
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