Keys dominate as Wanderers starved of possession
Cross Keys 41
“You need a lot of character to keep defending for such long periods. All credit to the spirit of the side that they kept going” commented team manager Mark Gould after the Wanderers were well beaten by Cross Keys.
“The game was competitive but it’s the same mistakes every week. Soft tries conceded making our task all the more difficult” added Cai Milsom backs coach.
On a day that saw the second half deluge send the supporters rushing for cover the Wanderers were well beaten by an impressive Cross Keys side who dominated possession and territory for 78 of the 80 minutes. The die was set early on with the Keys on the attack and the visitors forced into several defensive sets. An early penalty gave the home side the lead 3-0 before the Wanderers had ventured into the Keys half and that situation continued for the first 15 minutes of the game. The shackles appeared to have been broken when Ioan Cooper intercepted a pass to race away only for the referee to pull the play back for a previous offside and the home side extended their lead to 6-0. From the kick off the travelling Massiv had a moment of cheer when a penalty gave Aled Evans a chance to reduce the arrears which he did with a shot of his own 6-3. Unfortunately for the visitors the cheer was short lived. A solid Keys scrum set up field position and the Wanderers defence was carved open leading to the first try of the game 13-3. The pressure was then compounded upon when, from the kick off a speculative box kick from the home side was superbly gathered by the wing who stepped the defence and raced away to score the second try 20-3. The tide had certainly settled with the home side and the game rarely ventured from the Wanderers half. Constantly under the cosh with little or no possession to work with the visitors toiled against a barrage of Keys attacks. The constant pressure had to tell and a third try followed to extend the lead to 27-3 and it already looked as if the game was beyond the visitors. There was a late rally as the half drew to a close and the Wanderers showed what could be possible if the opposition let them have the ball. A rare foray into the Keys 22, with forwards and backs carrying well put Alfie Llewellyn in space on the blind side. He fed Morgan Williams who forced his way over in the corner to make the half time score 27-8.
The heavens opened to announce the start of the second half sending everyone but the players and officials racing for the cover of the stands. From the kick off the home side set up a ruck but the clearance kick was charged down by Mackenzie Martin. The ball had enough force to roll over the line and Martin was quickest to the ball to score the Wanderers second try 27-13. Back came the home side once again setting up camp in the Wanderers half but against the run of play the visitors struck again. With the home side on the attack the ball went loose and Cooper seized the opportunity. He gathered the ball and raced clear of the defence to run 65 metres to score. Evans added the extras and at 27-20 a revival seemed possible. The conditions deteriorated and both sides started to look for drier players to come on. The home side regrouped and reset the camp in the Wanderers 22. Normal service was resumed and the visitors dug deep to defend their line. With little or no ball to play with and some poor defensive kicking allowing the Keys to keep the pressure on it was only a matter of time before more scores came. The Wanderers saw yellow after series of penalties making the challenge even harder and a fourth and fifth try followed as the game entered its final minutes. There was a late revival by the Wanderers after another extremely rare visit to the Keys 22 saw Freddie Barnes, who put in his best performance in a Wanderers shirt, cross for a losing bonus point try making it 41-27 and the game petered out in the poor conditions allowing all to retreat to the warmth and hospitality of the Cross keys club. Final score 41-27 and a well-deserved win for the home side.
Tries: Morgan Williams, Mackenzie Martin, Ioan Cooper, Freddie Barnes
Cons: Aled Evans (2)
Pens: Aled Evans
Management MOTM: Freddie Barnes
Massiv MOTM: Freddie Barnes