Cross Keys were left to rue poor defence and missed opportunities as they came away from the Arms Park with a narrow defeat.
It was a former Keys winger who did the damage for the Blue and Blacks with Jamie Davies crossing for a hat-trick of converted tries, the first of which as early as the 3rd minute under the posts at the Taff end. Joe Griffin converting for the capital city side.
Keys responded well and in the 10th minute after Nathan Trowbridge was held up short the ball was fed to Aled James who found himself at the bottom of a ruck to claim a try in the corner which Dorian Jones just failed to convert. Keys were under pressure after that but the defence stood firm and the pendulum once again swung back in Keys' favour and Dorian Jones kicked a sweet drop goal to give Keys the lead in the 27th minute.
Shortly after Keys had taken the lead Cardiff came straight back at the visitors and on the half an hour mark Jamie Davies crossed for his second try of the game as the Blue and Blacks made a huge overlap count to their advantage and Davies raced away to score as Keys chased shadows. Griffin kickied the conversion and a penalty goal shortly after as Keys were struggling to string any meaningful play together. Keys did however end the first half on top and Dorian Jones kicked a penalty to bring Keys to within a converted try at the break.
Half time Score Cardiff 17 Cross Keys 11
The second half seemed to start brightly for Keys who were finally starting to put the pressure on the home side. But the hard work of the opening 20 minutes or so of the second half produced no scoreboard action but it did see a yellow card produced to a member of each side.
No prizes for guessing who Keys card was issued to with substitute Danny Hodge walking back to the dug out along with Cardiff prop Ryan Harford after a scuffle. There is no doubt that opposition players target certain individuals in the Keys team knowing that those individuals will inevitably respond and perhaps knowing that the officials potentially also target the same Keys players without acknowledging what caused the reaction from Keys players in the first place!!
Skipper Rob Nash, who came off the bench then crossed for a well taken try for Keys which Dorian Jones converted to give Keys a narrow lead once again in the 65th minute. Two minutes later Jones kicked a penalty from inside his own half to further Keys' lead.
Then with Keys firmly on top, a moment of madness occured that perhaps cost Keys the match. Danny Hodge was for all intense and purpose pulled of the ball in a choke hold by his nemesis Ryan Harford so Ollie Hodge took matters in to his own hands, after it seemed the officials didn't feel the need to. It was Ollie who went one better than his little brother receiving his marching orders for charging at Harford with Danny struggling to free himself from the hold Harford had on him. Hodge snr. was red-carded whilst nothing more was said to Cardiff.
Keys fought well with just 14 men although Cardiff lock James Murphy did make his way to the sin bin in the 75th minute following a late tackle on Keys full back Gareth David. It was Jamie Davies who broke Keys' hearts with his hat-trick try in the 7th minute of extra time with poor Keys tackling certainly helping the flying wing to cross in the corner. Griffin converted from the touch line meaning Keys were left to lick their wounds and perhaps see the playoff berth slip away from them.
Tries: Jamie Davies (x3)
Conversions: Joe Griffin (x3)
Penalty: Joe Griffin
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Aled James & Rob Nash
Conversion: Dorian Jones
Penalties: Dorian Jones (x2)
Drop Goal: Dorian Jones