CAPTAIN Scott Matthews says he has noticed a change in mood among the Cross Keys squad after the “doom and gloom” of earlier in the season.

The Pandy Park outfit may sit sixth in the eight-team Principality Premiership East table but they will go for a fourth straight win today following victories against Bargoed, Ebbw Vale and Cardiff.

Matthews’ men could also complete a league double over Bedwas at Bridge Field this evening (kick-off 7.15pm) – Keys beat their Gwent rivals 25-22 on home soil in September.

Their current form is in contrast to the first few weeks of the new campaign when results were harder to come by than they have been recently.

The low point came at Cardiff Arms Park on September 16 as a second-half capitulation ended up with Keys being thrashed 46-19 by the Blue and Blacks.

But since then things have taken a turn for the better, and Matthews thinks he knows why.

“We’re definitely trying to play a little bit more,” he said.

“It’s something that’s definitely working for us and we’re now going into our matches with an attitude of being braver.

“By that I mean if we make a call then we’re really looking to execute the move, rather than playing safe or taking three points.

“Without giving too much away, we’re also trying some different lineout and backs moves.”

He added: “The atmosphere in the group is a lot better now compared to a few months ago when we had a couple of bad results and it was all doom and gloom.

“Everybody is enjoying the environment again and it’s a good place to be.

“After the Ebbw Vale game someone said they felt as if they wanted to play the next one straight away, there’s that feel to things at the club.

“One thing I’ve also noticed in games recently is how physical we are.

“I can’t remember us being as physical as we have been for a long time.

“It’s pleasing for me when I’m standing in the defensive line and guys inside me are putting in big hits which I know I wouldn’t want to be on the end of.”

According to Matthews, Bedwas will be a “massive threat” tonight, especially through their forwards and dangerous fly-half Steffan Jones.

However, Matthews knows Keys, who last Friday gained revenge for that Arms Park loss, have threats of their own.

“Taine Basham has played really well,” he said.

“He didn’t play for a couple of months in order to get bigger at the gym, and it has certainly paid off.

“He is really physical now and quick with it.

“He was a travelling reserve for the Dragons last week and is not too far off breaking through at that level.

“Matthew Powell is very dangerous in the backs and is a threat whenever he gets the ball.

“He always makes something happen and gets the fans in the stand on their feet.

“We’ve told him that when he gets the ball to just go for it and take the opposition on.”

On Bedwas, he continued: “They are a very good side and we know they’ve got a big scrummaging game.

“They’ve also got a good kicking game with Steffan Jones at fly-half.”