CROSS Keys earned a desperately needed victory and avenged their 34-23 defeat to Bargoed earlier this season with a well-deserved win, writes Iwan Gabe Davies.

Breaking a three-game losing streak, Greg Woods and Jonathan Westwood’s men also moved off the bottom of the Premiership East section.

Keys were the only one team in it in the second half after a competitive first 40 minutes.

The hosts enjoyed a bright opening, but it was the visitors who struck first, former Bulls outside-half Josh Prosser slotting a long range effort which was soon cancelled out after his opposite number Iain Smerdon put over a simpler shot at goal.

Both sides tried to throw the ball around on a lovely autumn afternoon, perfect for running rugby but handling errors prevented the game from really flowing.

Keys enjoyed a purple patch in the early stages of the second quarter but failed to capitalise on their domination and excellent field position.

As it was, the hosts went downfield and took the lead when Smerdon kicked his second penalty on the half-hour mark after Bargoed set up a promising offensive.

Excellent defensive work by the home side put Keys under enormous pressure and saw them concede a penalty just short of their try-line a few minutes before half-time.

Smerdon’s penalty looked to have gone wide of the uprights to just about everyone apart from the assistant referees behind the posts who awarded the three points, much to the amusement of the home fans.

Older readers might remember Saint and Greavsie’s old maxim that football is a funny old game, well rugby can be a curios one too.

With Bargoed having worked so hard to get themselves 9-3 up, they then gifted Keys a try from the restart.

They tried to run the ball from deep and a mistake allowed young blindside Taine Basham to scoop up the ball and romp home, Prosser’s conversion giving the visitors a 10-9 lead at the interval.

Keys dominated the opening stages of the second half and it resulted in Bargoed lock Matthew Thomas being sin binned, Prosser’s penalty stretching his side’s lead.

With the Bulls down to 14 men, Keys capitalised and dangerous wing Matthew Powell finished superbly for an unconverted try as they turned the screw.

With the Pandy Park outfit camped in the Bargoed 22, full-back Joe Goodchild crossed for a converted try in the 68th minute in a one-sided second half.

Bargoed: C Jones, L Smalley, A Norton, D Humphries (L Bowden 61), D Evans, I Smerdon (J Mogg 58), J Pizey (J Hallett 55), K Brown (R Morgan 58), G Clarke (L Meades 58), S Evans (A Gardener-Key 58), M Thomas, J Locke, A Coupe (L Johnson 67), L Blacker (capt), I Jones (L Weyman 61).

Cross Keys: J Goodchild, M Powell, L Barnett, P Williams, B Nightingale, J Prosser, J Leadbeater, C Hewlett (L Smout 60), W Griffiths (R Jones 61), R Cornock, T Lampard, J Skinner (D Mock 30), T Basham, S Matthews (capt) (L Davies 76), A Powell.

Referee: Adam Jones (WRU)

Bargoed scorers: Pens: I Smerdon 3

Cross Keys scorers: Tries: T Basham, M Powell, J Goodchild, Cons: J Prosser (2), Pens: J Prosser (2)

Argus star man: Matthew Powell