CROSS Keys took a large step towards WRU National Championship safety with a comprehensive 44-7 victory against Beddau on Friday night.

Morgan Stoddart's in-form side bagged a five-point haul at Pandy Park to leapfrog Ystrad Rhondda and increase their lead over their visitors, who are in the last relegation spot.

Keys now have a 14-point advantage over Beddau with a game in hand.

They led 15-7 at half-time thanks to tries by flanker Joe Thomas, scrum-half Rhys Meredith and five points from the boot of fly-half Loui O'Brien.

Number eight Gwion Jones and full-back Curtis Povey secured the bonus point but the hosts weren't finished, flanker Chris Johnsey, Thomas and prop Keagan Bale made it a fine evening's work.

After a summer of change following their relegation from the Premiership, Keys' much-changed squad has settled down and won five of their last seven games, with their two defeats being to leaders Pontypool and fourth-placed Cardiff Met.

Next up is a tricky home clash with promotion-chasing Bargoed but Stoddart's men will be looking to maintain their impressive form so that they can look up rather than down in the run-in.