THE OUTCOME of this game between third placed Merthyr and seventh placed Cross Keys was very much a reflection of their respective Premiership positions, writes Peter Hughes.

While the hosts opened the scoring with a well worked try, they seldom threatened their visitors thereafter as the Iron Men went away from Pandy Park with a maximum points haul while the Keys were left empty handed.

Slick offloading and rapid recycling were the keys to the home side’s opening try in the fifth minute with full back Leon Andrews touching down under the posts to provide an easy conversion for outside half Josh Prosser.

The visitors countered immediately but, held up just shy of the Cross Keys line, they were forced to settle for a Matthew Jarvis penalty. Two penalties in quick succession saw the Ironmen opt for touch both times with the power of their pack setting up prop Nathan Trevett for the try.

Moments later the home side were down to 14, No 8 Adam Powell seeing yellow for a deliberate knock on. Merthyr made the most of the resulting penalty, hooker Matthew Dwyer going in for their second try.

The visitors were also a player short soon afterwards, centre Aaron Finches being dispatched to the sin bin for a high tackle. A jinking run by full back Leon Andrews looked to have set up a second try for Cross Keys just after the half hour mark only for the final pass to wing Nathan Trowbridge to go forward.

A nicely judged chip ahead from scrum half Justin James was gratefully dived on by wing Stef Andrews to give Merthyr their third try and make the half time score 24 – 7 to the visitors.

The visitors’ bonus point try, a second for Andrews, came barely a minute after the restart. Home skipper Scott Matthews claimed his side’s second try in the 66th minute but the flanker’s effort was quickly followed by a try for Merthyr replacement wing Kyle Evans.

A late interception try for wing Nathan Trowbridge saw the home side within sight of a bonus point but that fourth touchdown eluded them.

Cross Keys: L Andrews; M Powell, L Barnett (C Nicholls 57), P Williams (D Richards 57), N Trowbridge, J Prosser, J Leadbeater (R Pritchard 78), C Hewlett (L Smout 73), W Griffiths (R Jones 71), R Cornock (G Carpenter 79), T Lampard, S Andrews, J Skinner, S Matthews (capt) (T Basham 69), A Powell.

Scorers – Tries: L Andrews, S Matthews, N Trowbridge; Con: J Prosser (2) Merthyr: M Jarvis, S Andrews, T Riley, A Pinches, C Phillips (K Evans 58), R Powell (G Davies 67), J James (R Downes 70), N Trevett, M Dwyer (R Wilkes 67), L Jones (R James 74), B Murph (B Sier 67)y, C Locke (capt), N White (S Tolaski 58), E Siggery (O Davies 50), P Rees.

Scorers – Tries: N Trevett, M DwyeR, S Andrews (2), K Evans. Cons M Jarvis (3). Pen: M Jarvis.

Referee: Mr Elgan Williams (WRU)

Cross Keys Player of the match: Tom Lampard