Brilliant Cross Keys stun mighty Ponty – Pontypridd 17 Cross Keys 38
CROSS Keys topped Friday’s sensational bonus point win away at Cardiff with an even more remarkable victory which saw them thrash league and cup champions Pontypridd on their own patch.
This wonderful triumph saw them take Ponty’s 30-match unbeaten record in all competitions which stretched back to an away defeat in the British and Irish Cup to Leinster A in January.
Ironically it is to Dublin where Keys head next to play in that competition against the champions and they will be greatly buoyed by this breathtaking success – their seventh on the bounce.
Their emphatic win was built on a superb team performance by both backs and forwards, a ruthless clinical edge and some heroic defending as they avenged their league defeat in September at Pandy Park.
Keys opened the scoring after five minutes with a Dorian Jones drop goal as the visitors capitalised on basic errors deep in their own half.
Ponty looked to hit back immediately but some poor handling prevented them crossing the Gwent side’s try-line.
It was Keys who should have scored next when their polished driving lineout took them within inches of the first touchdown.
But they need not have worried because lock Dan Hodge scored a peach of a try when their ambition saw number eight Adam Powell and full-back James Cordy-Redden link well to put their teammate over, fly-half Dorian Jones handsomely converting to give them a 10-0 lead after 20 minutes.
Ponty looked to have hit back immediately with a try from a driving lineout only for referee Gwyn Morris to rule the hosts had been held up – to the consternation of the Sardis Road faithful.
But they were not to be denied when full-back Matthew Nuthall managed to breach the Keys defence, fly-half Dai Flanagan missing the tricky conversion.
And it was Keys who stretched their lead with a monster penalty by Dorian Jones which went between the uprights thanks to some help from the cross bar to give them 13-5 lead after just over half an hour.
Ponty just couldn’t keep up with the Joneses when Elliot Jones crossed for the visitors’ second try after a lucky bounce fell into his arms, the wing finishing in style and their outside-half’s extras putting them 20-5 up six minutes before the interval.
And they were in dream land again before half-time when a ruthless Keys hit them on the break again, Cordy-Redden’s sensational finish saw them cross their third try, again converted and they weren’t finished yet, Dorian Jones’ second drop goal giving his side a shock 30-5 half-time lead.
Ponty came out fired up for the second half and soon cut the deficit to 20 points when centre Garyn Smith crossed in the corner for an unconverted try.
But Keys were applying the squeeze almost immediately and Ponty second row Craig Locke was yellow carded for infringing.
The visitors should have got their bonus point try when a delightful cross-field kick by Dorian Jones nearly saw Tom Lampard go over but he knocked the ball on with the line at his mercy.
They were finally rewarded when openside flanker Scott Matthews barged over for their fourth touchdown to give them a 35-10 lead, another penalty adding to the home side’s agony who scored a last-minute converted consolation try,
Pontypridd scorers: Tries –Matthew Nuthall (25), Garyn Smith (46), Geraint Walsh (80), Conversion – Simon Humberstone (80)
Cross Keys scorers: Tries – Dan Hodge (20), Elliot Jones (34), James Cordy-Redden (37), Scott Matthews (56), Conversions – Dorian Jones (20) (34) (37), Penalties – D Jones (32) (58), Drop goal – D Jones (5) (40)
Referee: Gwyn Morris (WRU)