Wanderers lost in the Memorial Ground mist
Cross Keys 24
“The division gets tougher by the week” Commented Martyn Fowler “We knew this Championship would be a massive test for our young squad and so its proving. Its where we see ourselves as a club and we will all be giving everything to ensure it continues”
“Second best in several key areas of the game. We were always playing catch up” added Darren Gibbon.
A grey misty day greeted the teams without a breath of wind in the air. Proceedings began with both sides, referee and crowd ready but no match ball to play with. This was soon rectified by despatching someone back to the changing rooms (the Wanderers possibly wish that he’d got lost in the mist on his way back!) After some aerial tennis to start the match Cross keys laid down a marker at the first scrum of the day. Driving the Wanderers back they gained a penalty and set up a field position in the home side 22. Not surprisingly a forward drive followed but good work by Mike Owen gained the Wanderers a penalty and they cleared the play back to half way. A promising attack from the home side followed but after pushing the Keys back the ball was spilled when recycled. The visitors were forced into an early change in their back row and Keys were soon back on the attack starting to dominate possession and territory. After 17 minutes the deadlock was broken when an offside allowed Keys to slot a penalty 0-3. A dart from debutant Dan James looked promising but once again good Keys defence and poor handling prevented any real chances for the Wanderers. The game ebbed and flowed with neither side really putting together any really positive handling moves with the difference being the power of the visitor’s pack. As the half entered its latter stages that power resulted in a second score. A penalty gave them good field position and a solid drive from the lineout powered over the line for the first try of the game. An excellent conversion made it 0-10. The game continued to be littered with stoppages from the referees whistle and an already slow game was made even slower by the very long crouch, bind, engage at every scrum. Finally the half time whistle sounded and both sides headed for a regroup as the mist continued to descend. HT 0-10.
The gloomy weather continued as did the gloomy feeling amongst the Wanderers faithful and any chance of a revival were squashed early in the second half. From a lineout the Wanderers defence appeared to make a tackle but the player was deemed as not being held and he picked up, raced away to extend the Keys dominance 0-17. The home side coaches sent out a call for the cavalry and a flood of subs arrived in an attempt to turn the tide of the game. Unfortunately the only real change was the ability to determine who was who as the clean kit of the subs made player identification a little easier. The game continued to be littered with penalty calls and although, clearly the better side and in control of the game, the visitors couldn’t put the game to bed. The middle period of the half did see a mini revival from the home side and they finally had some pressure inside the Keys 22 but despite their efforts they could not score. A break from sub Dan Watts set up a play that came to nothing and when Josh Male went close he was deemed to have wriggled over the line and the visitors were awarded a penalty. The last 15 minutes saw the visitors resume control and they scored a third converted try which gave them a sniff of a bonus point win but the stop start nature of the game continued and the Wanderers dug deep to prevent a further score. The game petered out and the Cross Keys seasons revival continued with a well deserved win 0-24 leaving the Wanderers to reflect and look to a huge game against Beddau in two weeks time.
Management MOM: Dan James
Massiv MOM : Mike Owen