REPORTS from the Friday night action in the Principality Premiership...

Cross Keys 18 Cardiff 21

EVERYONE was reaching for the record books in Ystrad Mynach on Friday night, after Cross Keys’ Carwyn Penny took just seven seconds to give his side the lead in their 21-18 defeat against Cardiff, writes Ian Golden.

A late change in location, due to a waterlogged Pandy Park, forced the sides to move down the valley to the 4G pitch, something that certainly suited Cardiff more than Keys – the capital side being used to this kind of surface.

So instead of a potential bogged-in maul-fest, which could have been to Keys’ advantage, the fans who made it were treated to more running rugby than expected, and no-one ran faster than the young Dragons Academy winger. Cardiff mishandled from Keys’ long kick-off, leaving Penny to pounce. Jacob Botica’s conversion attempt hit the post.

Keys played it safe when they next got close to goal. After being awarded a penalty 10 metres out, Botica kicked to make it 8-0, then repeated his action a few minutes later.

A great passing move on the half hour led to Jack Roberts breaking through for Cardiff to put them back in the game. Jones converted and Keys held a four-point lead at the break.

Botica missed an early second half chance to extend Keys’ lead, and their task was further hindered om 47 minutes after Damian Welch was sent to the bin. A couple of minutes later, Joe Gatt set up Roberts for his and Cardiff’s second try to put them in the lead for the first time. Jones converted again.

As Keys went back to full strength, Cardiff increased their advantage. Another good set of passes culminated in Tom Williams grounding in the corner. Jones converted well.

Keys were close to getting a try back but a high pass aimed for Penny was intercepted and the chance was lost. In the dying seconds, Rory Budina also missed out on a try after being outrun on a kick-chase.

Then in the final move of the game, Garin Price received Carwyn Penny’s pass to run under the sticks to earn Keys a losing bonus point. Botica converted.

It was slightly disappointing for Keys who will have felt they had enough in the tank to win the game but they do now move out of the relegation zone. It’s now up to the WRU and Guinness to check the record books to see if Penny’s wonder try earns a place.

Cross Keys: L Andrews; W Cunliffe (R Budina 58), S Majkic, T Loots, C Penny; J Botica, J Guy (D Babos 60); R Cornock (G Carpenter 52), R Jenkins, N Thomas (S Evans 60, T Hansen 70); D Welch, S Andrews (T Lampard 63), E Hopkins, G Price, I Jones.

Scorers: Tries: C Penny, G Price. Conversions: Botica. Penalties: J Botica (2).

Cardiff: E Howley; T Williams, J Roberts, B Thomas (W Rees-Hole 60), J Gatt; S Jones (G Thompson 65), S Gibson (M Roberts 57); T Davies (F Young 68), I Jenkins (W Davies-King 77), P Lloyd (N Huish 60); B Murphy, J Down (T Daley 68), C Bradbury, Z O’Driscoll, S Pailor (K Martin 68).

Tries: J Roberts (2), T Williams. Conversions: S Jones (3) Cross Keys star man: Carwyn Penny

Aberavon 13 Newport 13

A tense and hard-fought – sometimes too hard-fought – game saw Newport put in an impressive defensive performance in the second half to secure a draw against 14-man Aberavon and hold on to their sixth place in the Principality Premiership, writes Peter Hughes.

The home side took less than three minutes to open the scoring after Newport spilled the ball just inside the home side’s half. A strong run by wing Jonathan Phillips was followed by an excellent offload enabling centre Will Price to score the try.

The Black and Ambers narrowed the gap five minutes later with a penalty from the boot of Matt O’Brien. Having successfully converted the early try, Aberavon skipper James Garland missed a relatively easy penalty opportunity in the 13th minute and Newport took the lead soon afterwards, full back Dai Richards successfully chasing his own hack forward to touch down.

With most eyes on a fracas just outside the Aberavon 22 involving several players from both sides, Newport scored a try courtesy of wing Duan Thomas, while Aberavon hooker Ieaun Davies was shown red for his role in the brawl. Despite their man disadvantage, Aberavon scored next with a successful Garland penalty.

Player numbers were temporarily levelled just before half time with a yellow card for Newport scrum half Ryan James. His side held on to the advantage at the interval, however, by 13 points to 10.

Garland missed an opportunity to level the scores with a penalty kick three minutes after the restart but Newport were back down to 14 players soon afterwards with a yellow card for Josh Skinner.

Newport found themselves under pressure and camped in their own 22. Some heroic defence enabled them to withstand the onslaught and with little more than five minutes of regular time remaining Garland opted to kick for goal and level the scores.

Following the restart, Newport finally found themselves in the Aberavon 22 and replacement centre Tom Pascoe looked to have scored between the posts only for referee Dewi Phillips to disallow the try for an earlier infringement. Newport ended the game on the defensive once again and may be a little relieved to come away with a share of the spoils.

Aberavon: C Banfield, S Pearce, W Price, R James (J Gage 65), J Phillips (R Cole 10), J Garland, I Temblett (L Purnell 65), R Jenkins (R Forse 76), I Davies, G James (C Davies 65), R Hughes, S Williams (B Mayers-Davies 65), A Evans (C Hawkins 30), J Tomalin Reeves (I Shenton 73), A Waite.

Scorers: Try - W Price (3); Con – J Garland; Pen – J Garland (33, 75) Newport: D Richards, D Thomas, C Smith, L White (T Pascoe 71), A Evans, M O’Brien, R James, D Preece, W Evans, T Piper, H Taylor (M Burgess 57), J Bartlett (A Mann 42). J Skinner, K Tayler, M Reed.

Scorers: Try - D Richards (16) D Thomas (28); Pen – M O’Brien (9) Referee: Mr Dewi Phillips (WRU).

Newport star man: Kyle Tayler.

Swansea 29 Ebbw Vale 15

The Steelmen fell to a surprise defeat to an in form Swansea side at a rain soaked St Helen’s, writes Paul Hopkins.

With only their second foray into Swansea territory it was the visitors who struck first when Paul King powered over half way and quick ball out wide saw Steff Thomas sprint clear of the chasing R Rhys Williams to score the opening try. Rhys Jones converted.

Steffen Williams cut the gap to four points with a snap drop goal after a period of forward pressure by his Swansea side.

But a moment of brilliance followed when Lloyd Evans stole possession at the scrum and raced 50 metres upfield to score a second Ebbw try. Rhys Jones missed the conversion.

A routine chip through by Josh Thomas was fumbled on his own 22 by opposite number Dan Haymond. From the scrum Tom Williams made a mini break, but was brought down metres from the line. A couple of set pieces later the home side grabbed a try through Jay Williams.

A superb run up to half way from the restart by Lewis Young showed the visitors’ intent. Fricker and Joe Franchi made yards inside the 22, but King had the ball ripped out of his hands as he dived for the line.

A powerful scrum by the visitors’ pack earned a penalty and Rhys Jones kicked to the corner. Steff Thomas was held up a metre short of the line, before Rhys Clarke knocked on over the line and an overzealous Ebbw scrum gave away a penalty.

Swansea turned their possession into points when Chris Morgans broke clear of a ruck and dummied his way over to score a great solo try. And the home side sealed victory with late tries for Nathan Trowbridge and Callum Carson to leave Vale wondering what might have been.

Swansea: J Thomas, T Williams, R Williams, M Evans (C Carson 51), N Trowbridge; S Williams (G Rees 51), C Morgans; T Sloane (J Powell 36), P John (I Phillips 51), A Jeffries, S Kiley (J Ratti 48), J Williams, M Morris, C Bowden, J Fox (W Jones 51), I Phillips, J Powell, R Murphy, J Ratti, W Jones, T Ham, C Carson, G Rees Scorers: Tries: J Williams, C Morgans, N Trowbridge, C Carson. Cons: S Williams, J Thomas (2). DGs: S Williams.

Ebbw Vale: D Haymond, S Thomas, P King, D Franchi (DLangdon 70); Rh Jones, D Jones (M Flanagan 72); Ro Jones, J Franchi (R Francis 64), R Sevenoaks, R Clarke, A Sweet, C Regan, L Evans (K Parker 64), L Young (O Young 64), R Francis, M Hutchings, C Sully, K Parker, O Young, M Flanagan, D Langdon, J Lewis Scorers: Tries: S Thomas, L Evans. Cons: Rh Jones. Pens: Rh Jones.

Ebbw Vale star man: Ross Jones.

Bedwas 52 Bargoed 7

BEDWAS gave their survival hopes a huge boost with a complete team performance as they thrashed local rivals Bargoed to earn a bonus-point win, writes Ian Lovell.

On a windy evening punctuated with heavy showers, Bedwas kicked off in to the strong wind but started at a fast tempo registering the first try of the evening after only four minutes.

Fly-half Jacob Chilcott ghosted past a defender to set up Adam Williams to crash over for a try. Joseph Scrivens added the extras; no mean task against such a strong wind.

Scrivens added a penalty goal as Bedwas continued to dominate. Brynley Toms increased the Bedwas lead after 20 minutes as he used his size to bulldoze over the line. Scrivens again converted.

Bargoed hit back with a try against the run of play as a Chilcott clearance kick was charged down and Bargoed full back Julian Mogg was adjudged the winner of the race to dot the ball down. Callum Jones successfully converted.

Bedwas were in no mood to roll over and dominance up front saw the Bargoed pack splinter under pressure and the referee immediately awarded a penalty try.

With the wind at their backs for the second half Bedwas wasted no time in securing the four-try bonus point from a catch and drive, captain Alun Rees claiming the try. Scrivens kept up his 100 per cent kicking record by adding the conversion.

Replacement Jonathan Davies was next over the whitewash as Bedwas put the game to bed with 30 minutes left to play, Scrivens again converting.

With the game in the bag Bedwas made a raft of changes with fresh legs coming on.

Bargoed secured some territory but could not penetrate a well organised defence and Bedwas increased their lead on 68 minutes courtesy of a second penalty try as again the Bedwas forwards outmuscled their opponents.

Bedwas were reduced to 14 men on 70 minutes as a rare Bargoed attack was snuffed out illegally and Ryan Davies trudged off for an enforced rest.

The remaining 14 were in no mood to yield and no further scores came whilst the team were a man down.

Bedwas wrapped up proceedings in the final minute as Lewis Bowden intercepted a tired pass on the visitors’ try line, Scrivens’ conversion completed the scoring.