Cross Keys produced a fine performance to gain victory over Llanelli who had not lost in the league since early October prior to this game.
Nathan Williams sent Keys on their way to victory as early as the 2nd minute when he gathered a kick to score well in the corner. Keys outside half Dorian Jones, who really is growing in stature and continues to improve failed with the conversion attempt from the touchline. Llanelli then got themselves on the scoreboard with an Owen Williams penalty from in front of the posts in the 7th minute.
Dorian Jones pulled Keys clear in the 18th minute with a penalty. Keys continued to press for more scores but it was to be Llanelli who scored next against the run of play after a needless penalty was given away by Keys for Owen Williams to pull his side back in to contention in the 26th minute with his second straight forward penalty of the afternoon. Back came Keys and Dorian Jones this time kicking his second penalty to once again restore Keys lead in the 28th minute.
Keys got their second try of the afternoon in the 33rd minute when Nathan Trowbridge scored in his corner to push Keys clear with the added advantage of coming downhill in the second half. Dorian Jones this time successful with the conversion. Keys were really getting on top at this stage, although were often frustrated by the referee's whistle as play developed. A fight between the two sides broke out and after a talk to his assistant the referee decided that at Pandy Park it only take one side to fight and that a telling off should only be issued to Keys (namely to the Hodge brothers, who perhaps according to the referee resemble the Kray brothers more than rugby players), with not even a word said to Llanelli or their captain despite their being more than a few punches thrown by both sets of players. Llanelli (and Owen Williams) did score again in quick succession with 2 further penalties either side of a fine Dorian Jones drop goal for Keys taking his personal tally to 11 points.
The second half saw much of the same in the opening stages but the referee had had enough of the technical problems at the breakdown with first Richard Cornock and then Danny Hodge being sent to the sin bin within a minute of each other in the 43rd minute, both seemingly for the same offence.
The effort of the 13 players left on the park was nothing short of heroic in the next 10 minutes, as Llanelli failed to take anything from their 2 man advantage. This 10 minute period included numerous scrummages when without Richard Cornock at prop and with skipper Rob Nash watching from the side as he was temporarily replaced by prop Nathan Williams, Keys used centre Will Owen and full back Steffan Jones to shore up their scrum and it more than held it's own. Despite the repeat infringements at the break down from the visitors in this time there was no card shown to them in the same way it had be shown to Cornock and Hodge jr. which produced more than one or two groans from the Keys faithful.
Shortly after the hour mark, and with Keys restored to 15 men the home side produced a series of drives from close range lineouts and the man in the middle after one to many previous penalties being given away by Llanelli decided enough was enough and made his way under the posts to award a penalty try, although Tom Lampard did appear to score despite the awarding of the penalty try. Steffan Jones took over the kicking duties from namesake Dorian, who was replaced by Gareth David, and Steffan added the straight forward extras.
Llanelli started to show some of the form that had seen them lose just once in the last 8 games as the time went on. They got their opening try just two minutes before the end of normal time when an up and under was sent high towards Keys' defence and despite what appeared to be an obvious knock on Llanelli when attempting to gather the up and under the referee played on and replacement Nathan Hart got the touchdown for Llanelli. The conversion attempt was sent wide.
As the game entered stoppage time (of which there were bizzarely around 10 minutes played) the referee issued yet another yellow to Keys, this time to Scott Matthews who had shortly before played a big part in Keys attempting to get the bonus point try when he broke away from the visitors defence to feed Leon Andrews who couldn't quite deliver the vital pass which could've seen Keys get the 4th try but it wasn't to be. Llanelli weren't finished and Nathan Hart got his second try in the corner to earn his side a losing bonus point. Jonny Lewis successful with the conversion from the touchline.
Overall a great win for Keys who now have a three week break from league action, when they travel to Newport and then host Newcastle Falcons in the British & Irish Cup, of which there is no chance of qualifying from this season. It's Swalec Cup time then on the third break weekend but Keys, as champions have received a bye in to the latter stages of this seasons competition.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Nathan Williams, Nathan Trowbridge and Penalty Try
Conversions: Dorian Jones (x1) & Steffan Jones (x1)
Penalties: Dorian Jones (x2)
Drop Goal: Dorian Jones
Tries: Nathan Hart (x2)
Conversion: Jonny Lewis
Penalties: Owen Williams (x4)
Keys rugby committee man of the match: Tom Lampard