Cross Keys won an entertaining game at Pandy Park against a tough Connacht Eagles side.
Keys started brightly and took the lead in the 3rd minute with a penalty by Steffan Jones. Keys continued to put pressure on the visitors and once agains had Jones to thank for extending the lead with a penalty in the 16th minute and later in the 26th minute.
Connacht did have the odd moment where they threatened but Keys stood firm and were not prepared to let the Eagles through. Back came Keys with the pack firmly on top and a big drive led to a penalty which Keys kicked to the corner and from there a driving lineout caused chaos in the Eagles defence and Ollie Hodge was the man to get the opening try with a fine try, in similar fashion to how his younger brother Danny has scored so often in the past. Steffan unsuccessful with the extras. Connacht did get on the scoreboard just before the break when centre Tadgh Leader kicked a penalty.Half time score Cross Keys 14 Connacht Eagles 3
Connacht certainly responded better in the second half with long periods of pressure piled on to Keys defence. The Eagles added their second and third penalty thanks to Leader's boot in the 58th and in the 65th minute.
As if Keys injury situation was not already bad enough there was yet further bad news with replacement Rhys Dyer being knocked out cold after making a tackle. Thankfully after a break in play of around 15 minutes and being stretchered off Dyer is fine and was up and about shortly after being treated. This together with the late withdrawls of both Luke Ford and Danny Hodge, although both were on the bench means Keys are currently, not for the first time this season stretched to the limit.
Connacht replacement Jack Carty pulled his side to within a score of Keys as the full timers superior fitness started to show in the 80th minute. Thankfully Keys got another penalty in the 8th minute of added time with Steffan Jones sealing the victory with his 4th successful penalty.
Overall a tough day on the park for Keys but an excellent win which was largely down to the superior performance of the pack.Cross Keys Scorers:-
Try: Ollie Hodge
Penalties: Steffan Jones (x4)
Connacht Eagles Scorers:-
Penalties: Tadhg Leader (x3), Jack Carty (x1)
Keys rugby committee man of the match: Leon Andrews