Cross Keys eased to victory in this Gwent derby over rivals Newport at Pandy Park on Thurday evening, without ever needing to hit top gear.
Newport enjoyed their best period of the match in the opening exchanges and former Keys outside half Scott Sneddon booted them in to a 3-0 lead in the 4th minute with a straight forward penalty.
It was Keys who started to build on confidence as the game opened up with outside half Dorian Jones continually making some lovely breaks to put Keys in good positions. It was from these positions, and a Newport lineout that Keys fumbled a opportunity to take the lead when skipper Rob Nash, with the tryline at his mercy knocked on, resulting in a collective sigh of relief from the increasingly under pressure Black and Ambers who cleared their lines from the resulting scrum.
It seemed that it would only be a matter of time that Keys would cross the line and sure enough the moment came shortly after when Dorian Jones again proved to be a handful to the visitors defence with a wonderful jinking run through the heart of the defence to cross to put Keys ahead. Jones converted his own try. Newport pulled themselves back to within a point just after half an hour when Sneddon kicked his 2nd penalty of the evening.
Playing up hill in the second half Keys were simply head and shoulders above the visitors in every aspect. So much so that it is hard to remember a single time that the Black and Ambers entered the Keys 22.
The second try of the night came when Leon Andrews intercepted a wayward pass to feed wing, Luke Williams who did the rest to score a try which was again converted by Dorian Jones. The Keys pack, who were dominant all night created the next try with a driving maul which was seemingly impossible to stop and skipper Rob Nash made up for his first half fumble, was on the bottom of a crowded ruck with no mistake this time around. Jones failing with this conversion attempt.
Keys were hungry for more of the same as Newport seemed to tire. Number 8 Adam Powell came close to crashing over at the base of a driving scrum but he was just short but replacement scrum half, Rhys Dyer fed the ball to Luke Williams who was judged by referee James Jones, to have been held up over the line by Newport's Elliot Frewen.
Keys continued to pile on the pressure and play moved from one side of the pitch to the other for more of the same on slaughts of pressure from the Keys dominating pack. This time the drive over was successful and Rhys Dyer got the all important bonus point score which replacement Steffan Jones converted from the touch line.
Overall a fully deserved victory for Keys with a scoreline that probably flattered the visitors slightly such was Keys dominance. Difficult to single out individuals for praise after this all round team effort. The good news prior to kick off of Jamie Sollis' continuing recovery following the car accident last week seemed to spur Keys on. Sollis came out of ICU on Thursday to pass a good luck message to his team-mates in readiness for this game. His team-mates did not let him down and delivered a fine performance and victory for him.
Tries: Dorian Jones, Luke Williams, Rob Nash and Rhys Dyer
Conversions: Dorian Jones (x2), Steffan Jones (x1)
Penalty: Dorian Jones
Penalties: Scott Sneddon (x3)
Keys rugby committee man of the match: Danny Hodge