CROSS Keys came to the Gnoll in search of a vital win to ease their relegation worries and fought for the victory against a Neath side rooted to the bottom of the Premiership, writes Guto Davies.

The Welsh All Blacks had been docked points by the WRU and borrowed players from 11 different clubs to make up their matchday squad.

A miss-match in the visitors’ favour might have been predicted but was not to be, Cross Keys only pulling away in the second half to register a 17pts to 34 bonus point win.

Having seen their kick-off go straight into touch, Neath endured early pressure but Cross Keys lacking the wherewithal to take advantage. Against the run of play it was the home team that drew first blood, full back Jordan Rees initiating a counter attack with flanker Craig Hill in support to score, the try converted by Callum Hall who then added a penalty to his tally.

It was not until the twenty-sixth minute that the Keys sparked into life, flanker Joe Thomas darting over for a try which Jacob Botica converted, but Neath striking back as scrum half Nicky Griffiths arced away from the base of a scrum to score, the touchline conversion added by Hall. The visitors, who had looked ill at ease, then stepped up a gear, scrum half Owain Leonard cutting through for a try, converted by Botica, who rounded off the first half with a long distance penalty, levelling the scores at 17pts all.

Cross Keys strove to maintain momentum into the second period, enjoying a wealth of possession but guilty of committing errors. The breakthrough came ten minutes in as winger Wes Cunliffe barged his way into the home twenty-two, releasing Jacob Botica to cross behind the posts and converting his own try.

Neath still showed plenty of resolve, spending time in their opponents’ half and ensuring the contest remained alive into its final quarter, only for Keys to instigate a wide attack allowing centre Leon Andrews to claim a try converted by Botica. The Gwent team’s victory against spirited opposition was sealed as Botica planted a late penalty between the posts.

Neath 15.Jordan Rees. 14.James Roberts. 13.Aaron Bramwell - cpt. 12.Gavin Evans. 11.Alec Jenkins. 10.Callum Hall. 9.Nicky Griffiths.

1.Ben Uphill. 2.Sion Crocker. 3.Tyla Muravi. 4.Rhys Morgan. 5.Scott Davies. 6.Ioan Jones. 7.Craig Hill. 8.Gareth Jones.

Cross Keys 15.Carwyn Penny. 14.Llywarch ap Myrddin. 13.Leon Andrews. 12.Adam Jones. 11.Wes Cunliffe. 10.Jacob Botica. 9.Owain Leonard.

1.Corey Hewlett. 2.Ellis Shipp. 3.Richard Cornock. 4.Scott Andrews. 5.Tom Lampard. 6.Damien Welch - cpt. 7.Joe Thomas. 8.Garin Price.

Scorers: Neath:Tries: Hill; Griffiths. Cons: Hall (2). Pen: Hall Cross Keys: Tries: Thomas; Leonard; Botica; Andrews. Cons: Botica (4). Pens: Botica (2)