BEDWAS v CROSS KEYS (Tonight, KO 7.15)

CROSS Keys go into tonight’s important Gwent derby away at Bedwas fired up after their numbing Swalec Cup defeat away at Neath last weekend.

Last year’s cup kings, the Pandy Park outfit were much fancied to beat the Welsh All Blacks after hammering them twice in the Premiership.

But they are left to rue what might have been after a 19-12 defeat.

Still, the third-placed side’s season is far from over as they go to second in the league Bedwas four points behind their rivals who have a game in hand.

Keys head coach Greg Woods candidly admitted the defeat at The Gnoll has been a bitter pill to swallow.

“We’ve had a terrible, empty feeling all week – the mood has been really down,” he said.

“We thought we were the better side and had beaten Neath by a big margin twice in the league.

“It feels like we’ve wasted a golden opportunity.”

But Woods’ side will be determined to put things right this evening.

“We will be fired for tonight’s Gwent derby – we will be motivated and switched on for it,” he said.

“Our league season is on the line – if Bedwas win, they could go nine points clear of us.

“They beat us earlier on in the season at Pandy Park so we’ve got to go there and take those points back.

“All credit to them, they have been fantastic this season.”

Superbly coached by the highly regarded Steve Law, Bedwas have been the surprise package of the Premiership.

The Bridge Field side have made enormous strides since finishing one from bottom in the league last season, finishing below Pontypool and above Tonmawr, those two clubs axed as the Premiership was reduced from 14 teams to 12.

In this league campaign they have won 12, drawn one and lost two of their 14 matches.

They did suffer their own Swalec Cup trauma last weekend when they were defeated 23-21 away at Carmarthen Quins.

Keys go into the match maintaining an excellent run in the Premiership.

They have triumphed in all of their last four encounters and are unbeaten since losing 37-24 to league leaders Pontypridd at Sardis Road at the end of November.

Bedwas haven’t lost in the league since Aberavon beat them late September.