Cross Keys made it through to the quarter finals of this season’s Welsh National Cup with a comfortable victory over Neath at Pandy Park on Saturday afternoon.
Keys settled quickly in to the game and launched a number of early attacks deep in to Neath territory. One such attack saw Keys look to move forward out wide before the ball was worked away from a ruck to outside half Josh Prosser, and with the referee playing an advantage in Keys favour Prosser launched a cross field kick and the high ball wasn’t dealt with by Neath’s defence. The ball was played back over the try line by a Neath hand and Keys’ wingers Nathan Trowbridge and Mathew Powell both reacted to chase the ball down, Trowbridge got to the ball first ahead of his team-mate to open the scoring with a try in the scoreboard corner. Prosser’s touchline conversion sailed over with around 7 minutes played.
The Welsh All Blacks responded well and following a kick to touch from a penalty around the halfway line they maintained good field position and launched a number of attacks toward the Keys line. Keys’ defence coped well initially before the visitors spun the ball out wide and winger Aaron Grabham squeezed in at the corner for his side’s opening score, with Keys running out of numbers in defence. Full back Ed Howley kicked the most difficult of conversions from the touch line to level the scores with a little over 20 minutes played.
Almost immediately from the restart Keys hit back when Josh Prosser kicked a penalty with 22 minutes played. Keys were now starting to get back in control and with a number of charges forward Neath gave away a pair of penalties in quick succession for Prosser to kick his 2nd and 3rd penalties of the day from relatively straight forward positions to put Keys well in control of proceedings.
With the last kick of an entertaining first half Josh Prosser kicked his 4th penalty when Keys destroyed the visitors at scrum time. Prosser was successful with the inevitable resulting penalty from some 35 metres out.
Half Time Score Cross Keys 19 Neath 7
Playing down the slope the visitors started the second half well and Ed Howley reduced the deficit with a penalty after around 5 minutes of the second half.
The Welsh All Blacks were reduced to 14 men 10 minutes in to the half when their skipper Jordan Collier was sent to the sin bin for an offence at a maul as Keys looked to launch an attack from around the Neath 22. The resulting penalty saw Josh Prosser on target once again with his 5th penalty of the game.
Keys kept control of the game but couldn’t add any further to their total despite having a one man advantage. The score Keys definitely deserved eventually came around 10 minutes from time when from a scrum out wide they put Neath under pressure once more before the ball was eventually worked in field and from a rolling maul Keys number 8 Ieuan Jones pounced to score his side’s second try of the game which effectively put the game to bed with 10 minutes to play. Prosser added the conversion from near the posts.
Overall, a comfortable victory for Keys who march on to the quarter finals for the 4th time in 5 seasons. Also Saturday’s game marked a pair of milestones for 2 Keys stalwarts with prop Richard Cornock and second row Danny Hodge leading the Keys out as they marked their 250th and 200th competitive appearances respectively for the Keys.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Nathan Trowbridge & Ieuan Jones
Conversions: Josh Prosser (x2)
Penalties: Josh Prosser (x5)
Try: Aaron Grabham
Conversion: Ed Howley
Penalty: Ed Howley
Keys Man of the Match: Josh Prosser