Report Courtesy of www.southwalesargus.co.uk
JASON Tovey kicked 18 points but it was not enough to save Cross Keys from defeat in an eight-try British and Irish Cup thriller at the Mennaye Field in Penzance yesterday.
While this result dealt a severe blow to Keys hopes of topping Pool 4 they are not out of contention for a quarter-final place via qualification as one of the best runners-up with Cornhish Pirates ansd Bedford still to visit Pandy Park.
Cross Keys looked to be in control when they led 30-17 as the game entered the final quarter, but the Pirates came storming back with two further tries, and Exeter Chiefs Academy fly-half Laurence May kicked the match-winning penalty seven minutes from time.
Pirates took an early lead when referee Andrew Jackson lost patience with Cross Keys after a series of infringements close to their own line and awarded a penalty try, with May converting.
Cross Keys, fielding eight Dragons in their starting line-up, responded in fine fashion when they took a quick tap penalty inside the opposition half and moved the ball wide to winger Ashton Hewitt, who showed great footwork to dance his way over in the corner, with fly-half Tovey adding a fine conversion.
A catch-and-drive try by Pirates No.8 Alex Cheesman just before the midway point of the first half put the hosts back in front, but Cross Keys finished the half strongly.
A crossfield kick by the impressive Tovey set up a try for full-back Rhys Jones against his former club, and Tovey converted before adding two penalties to give the Welshmen a 20-12 interval lead.
Pirates had the strong wind behind them in the second period, but it was Keys who stretched their lead with a Tovey penalty.
The hosts replied with a try by on-loan Bath winger Richard Lane after he caught May’s crossfield kick, but Cross Keys skipper Leon Andrews intercepted a pass from Craig Holland to race in by the posts, with Tovey converting for a 13-point advantage.
However, replacement hooker Jack Innard and Cheesman scored two converted tries in the space of eight minutes for Pirates, either side of another Tovey penalty to make it 33-31 to Keys, before May’s late strike.
Tries: Alex Cheeseman (x2), Richard Lane, Jack Innard & Penalty Try
Conversions: Laurence May (x3)
Penalty: Laurence May
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Ashton Hewitt, Geraint Rhys Jones & Leon Andrews
Conversions: Jason Tovey (x3)
Penalties: Jason Tovey (x4)