AFTER a shaky start, Cross Keys put in a credible performance for much of the first half but were ultimately outclassed by RGC, writes Peter Hughes.

The visitors opened the scoring in the fourth minute with second row Beau Williams bursting through the Cross Keys defensive line to touch down under the posts.

Five minutes later, the North Walians picked up their second try as full back Sam Rogers once again exposed the fragility of the home side’s defence and touched down in the corner.

As the game moved into its second quarter, Cross Keys struck back with a break by Number 8 Garin Price setting up his skipper Damian Welch for a try which was converted by outside half Sam Withers. Four minutes later it was Price’s turn to score himself as he broke from close to the half way line to run the ball in himself, another conversion by Withers giving the home side the lead. Sadly, that was to be the last part Price would play in the game as he sustained an injury in the process of scoring and had to leave the field.

Beau Williams quickly responded with his second try and RGC’s third but the home side moved back ahead two minutes later with replacement No 8 Ieuan Jones doing the honours. Three minutes later a missed tackle cost the Keys dearly as wing Bailey Rae dropped on a chip ahead to give his side their bonus point try.

As the interval approached, Keys were reduced to 14 players when Ieuan Jones saw yellow for a high tackle and RGC extended their lead with scrum half Efan Jones running in under the posts to make the half time score 31 – 19 to the visitors.

It took RGC less than four minutes from the restart to extend their lead with a try for prop Jordan Scott while Bailey Rae’s second try of the game came in the 52nd minute. Four minutes later scrum half Efan Jones scored his second. With Keys once again missing tackles, wing Sam Jones scored the North Walians’ ninth try.

Centre Corey Nicholls gave the home side the faintest glimmer of hope with a 62nd minute try but that effectively disappeared four minutes later when Sam Jones claimed RGC’s 10th try before completing his hat trick two minutes later. Skipper Josh Leach got his name on the scoreboard in the closing minutes before Aaron Evans made it a baker’s dozen for the visitors and Sam Rogers claimed his fourth try of the game.

Cross Keys: I Burgwin, D Hitchings (W Cunliffe 56), L Andrews, C Nicholls, J Adams, S Withers (A Tetley 27) , J Guy, J Rogers (R Cornock 44), R Jenkins, C Budgen (M Hutchings 62), D Welch (capt), T Lampard, J Thomas (R Davenport 51), C Johnsey, G Price (I Jones 25).

Scorers: Tries: D Welch (20), G Price (24) I Jones (30), C Nicholls (62); Con: S Withers (20, 24)

RGC 1404: S Rogers, B Rae, R Williams, D Jones, S Jones, B McBryde (A Evans 66), E Jones, J Scott (C Reynolds 70), G Roberts (E Yardley 55), S Wainwright (J Simpson 33), B Williams, R Williams, A Williams, J Leach, J Jones (B Jones 52).

Scorers – Tries: B Williams (4, 29), S Rogers (10), B Rae (33, 52), E Jones (40, 56), J Scott (44), S Jones (58, 66, 68, 80), J Leach (75), A Evans (78); Con: B McBryde (4, 33, 40, 44, 56) S Rogers (80).

Referee: Mr Gareth John (WRU)

Cross Keys player of the game: Chris Budgen