Cross Keys emerge from bruising encounter – Cross Keys 20 Moseley 16 match report
CROSS Keys got their British and Irish Cup campaign off to a great start after a hard fought victory over English Championship side Moseley in a brutal encounter.
The Birmingham side may not have brought their strongest side to the Gwent Valleys but they went about their business with a serious intent in this frequently ferocious clash, making the Pandy Park side fight tooth and nail for their triumph.
Credit to both teams for a blood and thunder encounter that frequently boiled over into open warfare, the hosts, arguably, just about deserving to win.
It certainly wasn’t a place for the faint heated, only Welsh guile and a bit of luck the difference in a battle that ended in a heart-stopping finale.
It shouldn’t have been so after Keys led 20-3 at half-time. But they let Moseley back into the game, the Midlands outfit showing plenty of steel to be unbowed at such a deficit.
It was the visitors who started the stronger and hammered away at Keys’ try-line, only for some stoic defence to keep them at bay.
They should have been rewarded for their early domination when they were presented with an eminently kickable penalty only for fly half William Hooley to miss.
And he was off target with another one as the score remained 0-0 after ten minutes despite the Birmingham side’s stranglehold.
But it was a case of third time lucky as he eventually put them into the lead after Keys were again penalised in the contact area. Hooley went on to miss another two conversions that proved so costly for his side.
His team was soon to pay from a case of Welsh flair when a superb break by Keys’ Newport Gwent Dragons Academy outside half Angus O’Brien from deep in his own half saw the hosts score a try as good as your ever likely to see.
He linked up with wing Luke Williams who, with superb vision and class, fed centre Leon Andrews, the captain putting Nathan Trowbridge away, the wing finishing well in the corner.
O’Brien topped off his marvellous work with a stunning touchline conversion.
And Keys scored a remarkable breakaway try just minutes later when it was again Luke Williams who hacked ahead from outside his 22 and chased up field.
Moseley made a hash of gathering the ball and his composure saw him pass to his fellow wing Trowbridge who crossed for a sucker punch of a try, O’Brien again getting the extras.
It was 14-3 to the hosts after 20 minutes, completely against the run of play.
With Moseley shell shocked, Keys got more into the game and their O’Brien penalties gave them a comfortable 20-3 lead going into half-time after slotting over two penalties.
Moseley openside flanker Joseph Carpenter was yellow carded for an off-the ball incident just before the interval which seemed to spell the end for his side.
But not a bit of it as Hooley kicked his second half early in the second half just before tempers flared soon when as a Wild West style fist fight broke out.
Keys blindside flanker Reuben Tucker and visiting lock Cory Hill were sin binned not long before the awesome home side's lock Dan Hodge was yellow carded in the 53rd minute for infringing as Moseley went for the Keys try-line from a driving lineout.
The English side’s reward came when number eight Christopher Brightwell crossed for a try as their scrum powered over the line.
The cards came thick and fast with Moseley’s former Caldicot and Ospreys man, captain and lock Mike Powell was sin binned for pulling down a maul.
The sublime O’Brien blotted his almost immaculate copy book with two missed penalties as the indomitable Moseley refused to throw in the towel.
They were rewarded when wing Scott Armstrong crossed late on for an unconverted try to give Keys a fright but they held on for a proud and engrossing win in a dog fight that shows they can compete with England’s professional teams.
Moseley were evidently smarting from their 42-3 defeat at Pandy Park two years ago in this competition and nearly made amends with a gutsy performance.
Fair play to Keys though for their courage and they go to London next week with everything to play for against Ealing.
Cross Keys: A Bramwell (S Jones 40), L Williams, L Andrews (capt), A James (N Williams 16), N Trowbridge, A O’Brien, R Dyer (R James 66), R Cornock (A Coundley 61), G Price, N Buck (C Gould 61), D Hodge, T Lampard, R Tucker (O Hodge 26-40, 77), S Matthews, A Powell.
Replacement: D Hughes.
Cross Keys scorers: Tries – Nathan Trowbridge (15, 20), Conversions – Angus O’Brien (15, 20), Penalties – A O’Brien (32, 36).
Moseley: M Penn (S Browne 77), S Armstrong, W Owen, W Hafu R Caolan 70), S Hunt, W Hooley, A Day (D Brazier 66), S Thorp (T Warren 66), W Evans (M Williams 70), A Parkins (D Herriott 73), C Hill, M Powell (capt), L Buster. J Carpenter, C Brightwell.
Replacement: S Browne.
Moseley scorers: Tries – Christopher Brightwell (60), Scott Armstrong (78), Penalties – William Hooley (12, 46)
Referee: Stuart Gaffikin (Ireland)
Argus star man: Dan Hodge
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