Cross Keys 16 Ebbw Vale 13

First published in Latest Rugby South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

CROSS Keys head coach Greg Woods has called on his men to step up a gear or face the prospect of being knocked out of the British and Irish Cup on Saturday by Newport.

Keys were pushed all the way by a determined Ebbw Vale side at Pandy Park in this play-off clash before they emerged as winners by the skin of their teeth.

The Steelmen showed they are able to be more than competitive at this level after a four-year hiatus since their relegation from the Premiership in 2010.

They led 10-0 before conceding six points to the boot of Keys fly-half Dorian Jones just before half-time proved costly and they were reduced to 13 men with just over ten minutes to go after two players were sin binned as the game descended into something of a farce.

In the end Keys, British and Irish Cup finalists in 2012, had too much for them although they were given an all mighty scare.

With the Black and Ambers trouncing Bedwas 41-25 away in their tournament play-off, it sets up another potential humdinger of a Gwent derby back at Pandy Park this coming weekend.

For Vale, it’s a case of them left to ponder what might have been after they dominated the first half.

Woods is looking for a big turnaround from his men if they are to qualify for the British and Irish Cup for the fourth consecutive season.

“We need to drastically improve if we are going to beat Newport,” he said.

“We are still two weeks away from where we need to be and I’m concerned about our lineout and attacking play. It leaves us plenty to work on.

“This was a potential banana skin for us and I think our experience just got us over the line.”

Ebbw Vale head coach Jason Strange was bitterly disappointed not to have got their start back in the big time off with a famous win over last season’s Swalec Cup finalists and Premiership runners-up.

He said: "At 10-0 up we were pretty much in control of the game. Our scrum began to dominate and we were in the ascendancy only for us to have two front row forwards sin binned towards the end.

"This was a big game for us and one we really wanted to win.

“It’s no consolation for us to have come so close.”

The Steelmen deservedly took the lead after 12 minutes when their outside-half Iain Smerdon struck a fine penalty from 40 metres.

Keys suffered a big blow when experienced loosehead prop Richard Cornock was forced off by a calf injury and he is expected to be absent from at least the Newport game.

The Steelmen were in control for most of the first half and when Keys captain and number eight Adam Powell was sin binned for infringing at a ruck in the 26th minute, they took advantage.

Left wing Owen Williams scored a sparkling try on the half an hour mark after a well executed backs move saw right winger Wes Cunliffe burst into the line before passing to his teammate.

Smerdon's conversion gave his side a 10-0 lead to the delight of the many travelling fans.

But they gave away two late penalties before the interval which Vale old boy Jones punished them for to leave the hosts fortuitously just four points adrift at the interval.

Keys started to get their act together in the second half and they took the lead for the first time when full-back James Cordy-Redden crashed over in the corner just five minutes after the break when the hosts went through the phases, lock Dan Hodge prominent.

Jones converted well from near the touchline and soon put his side further ahead with his third penalty.

But Vale weren’t going to throw in the towel and their scrum began to cause the home side all sorts of problems, their reward coming when Smerdon kicked an easy penalty after the visitors put the Keys try-line under serious pressure.

Jones had a chance of putting his side in a more comfortable position but he missed a drop goal and penalty.

A comedy of errors marred the closing stages after Vale lost, in the same passage of play, hooker Mathew Williams (infringing at a maul) and replacement tighthead prop Gethin Robinson (high tackle) to the sin bin after both were yellow carded.

With Vale needing three front row players to be able to scrummage, there was confusion as to the interpretation of the rules over passive scrums as hooker Joseph Franchi came onto the field and then promptly left in chaotic scenes as the game was held up while referee Neil Hennessy struggled to assert his authority.

In the end, we had passive scrums but the delays spoiled what might have been an enthralling climax.

Cross Keys: James Cordy-Redden, Nathan Williams, Aled James (Polu Uhi 60), Phil Williams, Nathan Trowbridge, Dorian Jones, Rhys Dyer (Ryan James 46), Richard Cornock (Luke Garrett 16), Darren Hughes, Anthony Lott (Craig Gould 56), Danny Hodge, Tom Lampard (Scott Andrews 72), Reuben Tucker (Carl Townsend 12-14, 74), Scott Matthews, Adam Powell (capt)

Replacements: Jon Howard, Elliot Jones.

Scorers: Try - James Cordy-Redden (45), Conversion - Dorian Jones (45), Penalties - Dorian Jones (37) (40) (54)

Ebbw Vale: Dan Haymond (Lewis Reece 61), Wes Cunliffe, Tom Hiscock, Jordan Howells, Owen Williams; Iain Smerdon, Dai Jones (Christopher Thomas 64); Ross Jones, Mathew Williams (Joseph Franchi 77), Rob Sevenoaks (Gethin Robinson 61); Damien Hudd (capt), Ashley Sweet; Aaron Harris (Spencer Gibson 61, John Lavender 74), Ronny Kynes, (Steffan Jouxson 77), Cameron Regan.

Replacement: Thomas Watkins.

Scorers: Try - Owen Williams (30), Conversion - Iain Smerdon (30), Penalties - Iain Smerdon (12) (68)

Referee: Neil Hennessy (WRU)

Argus star man: Dan Hodge

Comments (28)

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10:04pm Sat 30 Aug 14

Insider guy says...

Gonna be a long season for ebbw. Ebbw were fired up for this but still couldnt beat an under par keys. Can see them going straight back down. Too many old hands. Wonder why James Ledbeater didnt play and signed for keys after the game.
Gonna be a long season for ebbw. Ebbw were fired up for this but still couldnt beat an under par keys. Can see them going straight back down. Too many old hands. Wonder why James Ledbeater didnt play and signed for keys after the game. Insider guy
  • Score: -14

12:41am Sun 31 Aug 14

davies_c14 says...

Must agree with insider guy,i expected more than just passion and grunt from ebbw and can see them struggling this season because the premiership is about alot more than that.
LEADBEATER has signed for keys.
Must agree with insider guy,i expected more than just passion and grunt from ebbw and can see them struggling this season because the premiership is about alot more than that. LEADBEATER has signed for keys. davies_c14
  • Score: -3

12:02pm Sun 31 Aug 14

pettsy says...

What does a firing on all cylinders keys side look like ? The last three occasions I 've seen them they've been thumped by Ponty ,scraped home by three points at home and in the cup semi final went through on try count . Really looking forward to the fixture at EXP. Bring Mr Hennesy with you.
What does a firing on all cylinders keys side look like ? The last three occasions I 've seen them they've been thumped by Ponty ,scraped home by three points at home and in the cup semi final went through on try count . Really looking forward to the fixture at EXP. Bring Mr Hennesy with you. pettsy
  • Score: -1

1:43pm Sun 31 Aug 14

Insider guy says...

Obviously you didn't see them beat ponty at sardis last December or win the cup final or get to the b&I final. We can all be selective. We are talking about yesterday. Never mind coming to ebbs that is in February you are back at pandy in September yet. In February you will be battling for survival
Obviously you didn't see them beat ponty at sardis last December or win the cup final or get to the b&I final. We can all be selective. We are talking about yesterday. Never mind coming to ebbs that is in February you are back at pandy in September yet. In February you will be battling for survival Insider guy
  • Score: -4

2:06pm Sun 31 Aug 14

pettsy says...

Along with keys on that evidence............
see you in the basement
Along with keys on that evidence............ see you in the basement pettsy
  • Score: 2

8:11pm Sun 31 Aug 14

davies_c14 says...

Pettsy,
you came down with plenty of talk and passion, something we at keys have seen many times before from upstarts, but our record in this league speaks for itself. Very poor from us but we normally start slow, so it was another expected win.
Pettsy, you came down with plenty of talk and passion, something we at keys have seen many times before from upstarts, but our record in this league speaks for itself. Very poor from us but we normally start slow, so it was another expected win. davies_c14
  • Score: -6

9:07pm Sun 31 Aug 14

pettsy says...

Maybe we should have stayed in the championship, Nicer people,better welcome. And that' s me done.see ya !
Maybe we should have stayed in the championship, Nicer people,better welcome. And that' s me done.see ya ! pettsy
  • Score: 11

10:25pm Sun 31 Aug 14

davies_c14 says...

Well said!
Well said! davies_c14
  • Score: 7

12:02am Mon 1 Sep 14

risca dragons says...

pettsy wrote:
Maybe we should have stayed in the championship, Nicer people,better welcome. And that' s me done.see ya !
and the right level for the players on saturday's evidence.
[quote][p][bold]pettsy[/bold] wrote: Maybe we should have stayed in the championship, Nicer people,better welcome. And that' s me done.see ya ![/p][/quote]and the right level for the players on saturday's evidence. risca dragons
  • Score: -7

9:32am Mon 1 Sep 14

stevey says...

Too many "experts" judging after just one game, thought all the one eyed crew were south of Risca, better redraw that line to south of Newbridge now.
Too many "experts" judging after just one game, thought all the one eyed crew were south of Risca, better redraw that line to south of Newbridge now. stevey
  • Score: -6

12:08pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Newport76 says...

Same old vitriolic rubbish posted on here about Ebbw Vale as posted by "eggbutty" on the lower league forum - coincidence? I actually thought that both teams were quite poor, but Cross Keys probably just about deserved to scrape it (which ultimately they did), due to them being a bit more streetwise and knowing how to close a game down. For me, Ebbw Vale showed enough up front to indicate that they can comfortably compete at this level. Even the report says that Ebbw Vale exerted pressure on the (much vaunted) Cross Keys scrum. Plus, the Cross Keys coach is concerned about their faltering lineout. And what is all this big issue being made about James Ledbeater? Players come and players go. He obviously wasn't selected by Ebbw Vale for a good reason.
Same old vitriolic rubbish posted on here about Ebbw Vale as posted by "eggbutty" on the lower league forum - coincidence? I actually thought that both teams were quite poor, but Cross Keys probably just about deserved to scrape it (which ultimately they did), due to them being a bit more streetwise and knowing how to close a game down. For me, Ebbw Vale showed enough up front to indicate that they can comfortably compete at this level. Even the report says that Ebbw Vale exerted pressure on the (much vaunted) Cross Keys scrum. Plus, the Cross Keys coach is concerned about their faltering lineout. And what is all this big issue being made about James Ledbeater? Players come and players go. He obviously wasn't selected by Ebbw Vale for a good reason. Newport76
  • Score: 4

4:20pm Mon 1 Sep 14

stevey says...

£10 entry to the ground plus £4 to sit in the "grandstand", quite a bit over the top that, think many will stay away from the next fixture there and the programme which is poor by Ebbws' standards was £2. Hope we charge the same to their 2 fans when they visit EXP.
£10 entry to the ground plus £4 to sit in the "grandstand", quite a bit over the top that, think many will stay away from the next fixture there and the programme which is poor by Ebbws' standards was £2. Hope we charge the same to their 2 fans when they visit EXP. stevey
  • Score: 3

5:01pm Mon 1 Sep 14

davies_c14 says...

NEWPORT76 If we want your opinion we'll give it to you!
STEVEY You can have as much support as you want(not that good considering ebbw has a population of aroung 18,000) we dont give a **** because its great to shut up so many and send them back up the valley.
NEWPORT76 If we want your opinion we'll give it to you! STEVEY You can have as much support as you want(not that good considering ebbw has a population of aroung 18,000) we dont give a **** because its great to shut up so many and send them back up the valley. davies_c14
  • Score: -6

5:15pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Newport76 says...

davies_c14 wrote:
NEWPORT76 If we want your opinion we'll give it to you! STEVEY You can have as much support as you want(not that good considering ebbw has a population of aroung 18,000) we dont give a **** because its great to shut up so many and send them back up the valley.
What does "If we want your opinion we'll give it to you!" actually mean? It doesn't even make sense!! So, you are going to give me my opinion? Duh?

I am more than entitled to my opinion, exactly the same as you are entitled to yours. The fact that we don't agree is totally irrelevant. I shall continue to post my comments as much as I want and use the Queen's English appropriately!!
[quote][p][bold]davies_c14[/bold] wrote: NEWPORT76 If we want your opinion we'll give it to you! STEVEY You can have as much support as you want(not that good considering ebbw has a population of aroung 18,000) we dont give a **** because its great to shut up so many and send them back up the valley.[/p][/quote]What does [and I quote] "If we want your opinion we'll give it to you!" actually mean? It doesn't even make sense!! So, you are going to give me my opinion? Duh? I am more than entitled to my opinion, exactly the same as you are entitled to yours. The fact that we don't agree is totally irrelevant. I shall continue to post my comments as much as I want and use the Queen's English appropriately!! Newport76
  • Score: 5

5:26pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Newport76 says...

Why all of these snide, vitrioloic, acerbic comments towards Ebbw Vale anyway? I just don't get it. Friendly banter - YES, personal abuse- NO. There is absolutely no place for it and no need for it on this forum.
Why all of these snide, vitrioloic, acerbic comments towards Ebbw Vale anyway? I just don't get it. Friendly banter - YES, personal abuse- NO. There is absolutely no place for it and no need for it on this forum. Newport76
  • Score: 6

6:38pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Newport Dave says...

Newport76 wrote:
Why all of these snide, vitrioloic, acerbic comments towards Ebbw Vale anyway? I just don't get it. Friendly banter - YES, personal abuse- NO. There is absolutely no place for it and no need for it on this forum.
I've received an email regarding some posts. My good friend from up the valley informs me:

"He's a disgruntled ex-employee who has told more lies than any politician. He has been kicked off forums including Ebbw Vale and Pontypool (who he has a chip for on his other shoulder). He only posts under various alias names. If you come across him, just ignore him."

I think I see the signs.

Anyway, unlucky last Saturday Ebbw Vale. It's great to have you back up where you should be. I only wish we could have Pontypool up as well.
[quote][p][bold]Newport76[/bold] wrote: Why all of these snide, vitrioloic, acerbic comments towards Ebbw Vale anyway? I just don't get it. Friendly banter - YES, personal abuse- NO. There is absolutely no place for it and no need for it on this forum.[/p][/quote]I've received an email regarding some posts. My good friend from up the valley informs me: "He's a disgruntled ex-employee who has told more lies than any politician. He has been kicked off forums including Ebbw Vale and Pontypool (who he has a chip for on his other shoulder). He only posts under various alias names. If you come across him, just ignore him." I think I see the signs. Anyway, unlucky last Saturday Ebbw Vale. It's great to have you back up where you should be. I only wish we could have Pontypool up as well. Newport Dave
  • Score: 5

6:41pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Newport Dave says...

davies_c14 wrote:
NEWPORT76 If we want your opinion we'll give it to you!
STEVEY You can have as much support as you want(not that good considering ebbw has a population of aroung 18,000) we dont give a **** because its great to shut up so many and send them back up the valley.
Shut them up????? I'll bet my house they didn't shut up even when the game was over. It must be nice to play on front of that sort of support.

You really do seem to have a chip on at least one shoulder.
[quote][p][bold]davies_c14[/bold] wrote: NEWPORT76 If we want your opinion we'll give it to you! STEVEY You can have as much support as you want(not that good considering ebbw has a population of aroung 18,000) we dont give a **** because its great to shut up so many and send them back up the valley.[/p][/quote]Shut them up????? I'll bet my house they didn't shut up even when the game was over. It must be nice to play on front of that sort of support. You really do seem to have a chip on at least one shoulder. Newport Dave
  • Score: 0

7:03pm Mon 1 Sep 14

davies_c14 says...

Banter is great when your giving it,but not when your receiving it!!!!!
Chin up boys its our gig at the moment.
keys keys keys.
Banter is great when your giving it,but not when your receiving it!!!!! Chin up boys its our gig at the moment. keys keys keys. davies_c14
  • Score: -3

7:49pm Mon 1 Sep 14

pettsy says...

davies_c14 wrote:
Banter is great when your giving it,but not when your receiving it!!!!!
Chin up boys its our gig at the moment.
keys keys keys.
Oi !! Lone wolf ,calm down pal.You might pee your lonsdale jogging bottoms.
[quote][p][bold]davies_c14[/bold] wrote: Banter is great when your giving it,but not when your receiving it!!!!! Chin up boys its our gig at the moment. keys keys keys.[/p][/quote]Oi !! Lone wolf ,calm down pal.You might pee your lonsdale jogging bottoms. pettsy
  • Score: 2

8:04pm Mon 1 Sep 14

davies_c14 says...

Welcome back pettsy,knew the bait would be too much!!!! Head 1st ★★★★★
Welcome back pettsy,knew the bait would be too much!!!! Head 1st ★★★★★ davies_c14
  • Score: -1

8:38pm Mon 1 Sep 14

pettsy says...

Cheers. Mr. Davies. By the way ,if James Lead better signed for Keys on Saturday what's he doing scoring for Ebbw Development tonight against Gwernyfed. ?...........the plot thickens
Cheers. Mr. Davies. By the way ,if James Lead better signed for Keys on Saturday what's he doing scoring for Ebbw Development tonight against Gwernyfed. ?...........the plot thickens pettsy
  • Score: 4

9:20pm Mon 1 Sep 14

The real davies c14 says...

Guys, ive been alerted to someone using my username and posting some very poor and bad tasting comments which are in no way contributed to myself. I have a good idea who it is, but ive had to use another email address and username.
I am a big crosskeys follower and have been for around 40 odd years, and even though I love a bit of banter, I dont condone this rubbish.
This is the real davies c14.
Guys, ive been alerted to someone using my username and posting some very poor and bad tasting comments which are in no way contributed to myself. I have a good idea who it is, but ive had to use another email address and username. I am a big crosskeys follower and have been for around 40 odd years, and even though I love a bit of banter, I dont condone this rubbish. This is the real davies c14. The real davies c14
  • Score: 3

9:39pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Newport Dave says...

The real davies c14 wrote:
Guys, ive been alerted to someone using my username and posting some very poor and bad tasting comments which are in no way contributed to myself. I have a good idea who it is, but ive had to use another email address and username.
I am a big crosskeys follower and have been for around 40 odd years, and even though I love a bit of banter, I dont condone this rubbish.
This is the real davies c14.
Name and shame.
[quote][p][bold]The real davies c14[/bold] wrote: Guys, ive been alerted to someone using my username and posting some very poor and bad tasting comments which are in no way contributed to myself. I have a good idea who it is, but ive had to use another email address and username. I am a big crosskeys follower and have been for around 40 odd years, and even though I love a bit of banter, I dont condone this rubbish. This is the real davies c14.[/p][/quote]Name and shame. Newport Dave
  • Score: 3

9:52pm Mon 1 Sep 14

The real davies c14 says...

Good idea newport dave. 99.9% a certain martin gray who ironically was a workmate of mine until a couple of weeks ago.
Good idea newport dave. 99.9% a certain martin gray who ironically was a workmate of mine until a couple of weeks ago. The real davies c14
  • Score: 4

10:01pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Newport76 says...

davies_c14 wrote:
Must agree with insider guy,i expected more than just passion and grunt from ebbw and can see them struggling this season because the premiership is about alot more than that.
LEADBEATER has signed for keys.
Well I've just come home from watching Ebbw Vale v Gwernyfed in a pre season friendly and interestingly, have a guess who started at scrum half for Ebbw Vale? None other than a certain Mr James Ledbeater!! He had a very good game and scored a cracking try. So, I can assure you that Ledbeater has not signed for Cross Keys!!
[quote][p][bold]davies_c14[/bold] wrote: Must agree with insider guy,i expected more than just passion and grunt from ebbw and can see them struggling this season because the premiership is about alot more than that. LEADBEATER has signed for keys.[/p][/quote]Well I've just come home from watching Ebbw Vale v Gwernyfed in a pre season friendly and interestingly, have a guess who started at scrum half for Ebbw Vale? None other than a certain Mr James Ledbeater!! He had a very good game and scored a cracking try. So, I can assure you that Ledbeater has not signed for Cross Keys!! Newport76
  • Score: 10

11:05pm Mon 1 Sep 14

stevey says...

Think the sicko has been found out, plenty of guts from behind a keyboard.
Sad that he can turn a sensible debate into a full blown argument, he should get a life really, bet he's single and lives alone with his mam.
Think the sicko has been found out, plenty of guts from behind a keyboard. Sad that he can turn a sensible debate into a full blown argument, he should get a life really, bet he's single and lives alone with his mam. stevey
  • Score: 6

11:50pm Mon 1 Sep 14

Insider guy says...

The real davies c14 wrote:
Good idea newport dave. 99.9% a certain martin gray who ironically was a workmate of mine until a couple of weeks ago.
nice impersonating the real davies_c14 you idiot. Youve named someone who is not involved in this and been reported to admin. I hope they prosecute. Typical wooly back baa baa
[quote][p][bold]The real davies c14[/bold] wrote: Good idea newport dave. 99.9% a certain martin gray who ironically was a workmate of mine until a couple of weeks ago.[/p][/quote]nice impersonating the real davies_c14 you idiot. Youve named someone who is not involved in this and been reported to admin. I hope they prosecute. Typical wooly back baa baa Insider guy
  • Score: 1

12:30am Tue 2 Sep 14

The real davies c14 says...

The guy I named I happen to know well and lives in the south bristol area.Hes done it for the crack and wind up whi h we are all guilty of sometimes.
Goodnight.Godbless.
The guy I named I happen to know well and lives in the south bristol area.Hes done it for the crack and wind up whi h we are all guilty of sometimes. Goodnight.Godbless. The real davies c14
  • Score: 0
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