Cross Keys eased their way in to the Welsh National Cup Round 2 with a comfortable 49 points to 3 victory at Championship side Glynneath on Saturday afternoon.
With both sides struggling to adapt to the sticky conditions early on it was the hosts that took the lead in the 9th minute with a finely struck penalty by outside half Corey Jenkins following a scrappy opening.
As Keys settled they started to take control and didn’t really look back. A superb break by centre Lewis Barnett from just inside the host’s half pulled him clear of the chasing defence and with just one man to beat his pace did the rest as he rounded the last defender to score Keys first points of the day with a little over 15 minutes played. Josh Prosser added the straight forward conversion.
The visitors defence was coping well with everything that Keys threw at it as a number of chances came and went for Keys but after half an hour of play Keys’ patience was rewarded when after Keys were awarded a scrum as James Leadbeater was held up over the line. Keys scrum power was too much for the hosts as they illegally impeded a seemingly unstoppable Keys scrum for referee Simon Rees to award a penalty try which Josh Prosser duly converted.
Just before half time Keys launched another powerful drive from a close range lineout toward the Glynneath try line and this couldn’t be stopped as Keys number 8 Ieuan Jones ended up crashing over for Keys 3rd try with the visitors now looking increasingly comfortable. Prosser again added the extras as the half drew to a close.
Half Time Score Glynneath 3 Cross Keys 21
The second half saw Glynneath almost score first just a few minutes in, when an excellent break by full back Josh Ferryman who broke from deep inside his own half, evading a number of attempted tackled only to be hauled down just metres from the line. That was arguably the home side’s only real chance of the half as Keys upped the ante.
Keys moved forward in to Glynneath territory with real intent and with 8 minutes of the second half played a lovely flowing move forward eventually saw the ball worked in to the arms of Nathan Trowbridge out wide and the winger crashed over in the corner to all but put the tie to bed as a contest. Josh Prosser coolly landed the tricky touchline conversion to further the Keys lead.
The hosts were looking increasingly deflated and with around 55 minutes played, a wonderfully weighted kick through by Prosser wasn’t dealt with by the Glynneath defence deep in their own 22 and with Mathew Powell chasing the kick through he won the foot race and crossed for Keys 5th try out wide. Prosser again added a tricky conversion as his faultless performance with the boot continued.
With around 20 minutes remaining Keys began to ring the changes and those changes included the long awaited return of skipper Scott Matthews, who replaced Ieuan Jones in the back row after almost 4 months out of action.
Keys superior fitness was really starting to show and after some excellent build up play from their own half, Keys set up good field position close to the home side’s line and this position led to hooker Darren Hughes crashing over for Keys’ 6th try with a little over 10 minutes remaining. Josh Prosser once again adding the conversion.
Keys confirmed their place in the second round draw with a 7th try around 5 minutes before full time. An excellent break forward by Rhys Fitzgerald saw him hauled down just shy of the line but he had that man Scott Matthews on his shoulder and he marked his return to fitness with his 7th try of the campaign despite being out of action since October. Josh Prosser capped a fine individual performance with his 7th successful kick of the day.
Overall a valiant effort from Glynneath but in truth Keys superiority across the field really shone through as they eased in to Round 2.
Penalty: Corey Jenkins
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Lewis Barnett, Ieuan Jones, Nathan Trowbridge, Mathew Powell, Darren Hughes, Scott Matthews & Penalty Try
Conversions: Josh Prosser (x7)