Keys Power too much for young Wanderers
Cross Keys 34
“The score doesn’t really reflect the closeness of the game” commented backs coach Darren Gibbon “we were in the game up until the final minutes. It could have been different if we’d taken our chances.”
“Credit to Keys their power up front and clinical work when they got into the red zone was the difference” added Martyn Fowler. “We continue to build for next season by trying out lots of new faces. Its frustrating for players and supporters but it will bear fruit in the long term.”
On a bright afternoon with a gentle breeze the home side began brightly. The power of their scrum was evident from the off. Gaining good field position, they put the Wanderers under pressure. With penalties punctuating the play on a regular basis Keys kept the play deep in the visitor’s territory and it was no surprise when they powered their way over after some close quarter driving to open the scoring 5-0. The Wanderers were struggling to get into the game and get out of their half and as the penalty count mounted the pressure continued. The defence was strong but they could not contain the power of the home side forwards and the second try came with more forward power 10-0. The try also saw Ryan Matthew take 10 minutes for persistent team infringements. The card galvanised the visitors and they finally started to get into the game. Going through the phases they started to put the home side through defensive work. From a lineout on the Keys 22 they struck. Off the top ball was sent inro midfield and Jamie Murray, entering play from his wing, scythed through the defence and after shrugging off a couple of would-be tacklers he crashed over. Alex Lloyd making his Wanderers debut added the conversion 10-7. The game became a clear contest between the power of the home side forwards and the pace of the Wanderers backs. The half entered its second quarter, the Wanderers started to gain confidence and when a few penalties went their way they had a period of pressure. Another lineout deep in the Keys 22 supplied the visitors second try. This time it was a drive by the pack, not their backs and Eddie Drake emerged form a maul to crash over to give the Wanderers the lead 10-12. Back came Cross Keys. Reverting to their power game they pounded the Wanderers line but time and time again they were repelled by defensive set after defensive set. The game entered its final play of the half and the relentless attacking at close quarters eventually paid dividend and the home side once again squeezed over for their third try and the sides went into the break at 17-12 to the home side.
The second half followed a similar pattern with the Wanderers trying to counter the power of the home side pack by moving the ball wide whenever they could. Debutants Mackenzie Martin and Morgan Hughes were often prominent with ball in hand but once again a penalty allowed the home side to extend the lead which they took with a penalty 20-12. Not to roll over the young Wanderers team dug deep and once again got a good foothold in the Keys half. A series of penalties followed this time the home side seeing yellow and Lloyd kept the visitors in the hunt with two kicks to make it 20-18. Both sides emptied their benches as the Wanderers strove for a score that would take them ahead. Zak Fifield went close from a quickly taken 5 metre penalty and several Wanderers drives were repulsed close to the line. A good turnover in the Keys half saw another attack and they appeared to have gained another penalty only for a decision to be reversed and Drake to see yellow for some sort of offence. The card turned the tide and the home side regrouped and resorted to keeping the game tight and among their dominant pack. With the tide of penalties not turned again they powered their way down the field and added the final nails to the coffin with two well taken tries to put the Wanderers away once and for all and to end a thoroughly enjoyable game. Cross keys deserved winners 34-18.
Tries: Jamie Murray, Eddie Drake
Cons: Alex Lloyd
Pens: Alex Lloyd (2)
Management MOM: Cameron Gibbon
Massiv MOM: Jamie Murray