Cross Keys
2009/2010 Principality Premiership
Cross Keys 20 v 8 Newport
03 October 2009 - Pandy Park, Cross Keys

Match Report

Cross Keys 20 Newport 8 ( HT: 10-3)


Newport probably have to play more derby matches than any other Premier side and more often than not the majority especially against Gwent sides are against teams in the bottom half of the table. You would think that by now Newport would have twigged that many of these teams don’t have a lot to play for other than getting one over on their more illustrious opponents. So once again we had Newport losing a match which on paper they should have won comfortably with a disappointing performance – that said any hopes of salvaging anything from this match disappeared with a strange and certainly controversial yellow-carding of centre Scott Williams on 33 mins when they were leading 3-0. By the time he had returned Cross Keys had shot into a 17-3 lead!

Dan Griffiths and kicked a penalty on 3 mins and then missed two more on 14 and 30 mins while ex-Bridgend full-back Craig David missed one for Cross Keys on 9 mins. It was a dull first half until after a rare sortie by Keys into Newport's half referee James Jones sent Scott Williams to the bin apparently for kicking the ball away having run from an off-side position or apparently for "lazy running" which had many rummaging through their rule books! David kicked the penalty and then a poor clearance kick by Griffiths reached the dangerous centre Leon Andrews who made a good run down the middle against 14 mean Newport. He then chipped over the on coming defence and won the race to the touch down. David converted on 40+1 mins for a 10-3 HT lead. Meanwhile Craig Hill had to leave the field after receiving a stamp to his knee and was replaced by Dan McShane.

On the restart the impressive young blind-side Toby Faletau dashed through the weakened Newport midfield, handing off scrum-half Alex Walker to give the perfect pass to No 10 David Langdon. David converted and Keys were 17-3 up after just 1 min of the 2nd half

Newport made a number of changes and did start to show more purpose but it was David who made the score 20-3 with a 66 min penalty. On 69 mins replacement full-back Alan Awcock (with Gareth Wyatt at No 10) crossed after a spell of Newport pressure.

This was certainly an uninspiring game between two poor sides with very few players getting any real credit. For Keys, Andrews and flankers Faletau and Nash did show more skill than most while for Newport one had to feel sorry for scrum-half Alex Walker who worked as hard as anyone. He must have wondered at times why he was passing the ball out as all too often it was squandered with some real aimless and poor kicking from the backs with Newport No 10 Dan Griffiths a regular culprit. Even captain and No 8 Andrew Coombs joined in the aimless kicking and his loss of form is worry to Newport.

Newport head coach Sven Cronk was riled by both the performances of his players and those of the officials, who sent Scott Williams to the sin bin at the end of the first half.The inside-centre was perplexed at being shown the yellow card for lazy running that disrupted the Keys attack, a mood not helped by Keys scoring two tries in his absence.

They don’t know who it was but said it was a cynical penalty but it was the first time that Keys had been in our half,” said Cronk. “It had a huge bearing on the game but we also shot ourselves in the foot. I am frustrated by that performance.We were well on top for the first ten minutes, we had width, mismatches and they were out on their feet. We should have scored a try and lost composure on our driving lineouts. Fair play to Keys, they deserved their win but I am disappointed in the manner of it all.We had no shape and played with a total lack of rugby nous – we are back home for two games on the trot and we need it.”

NB: Yellow card for Scott Williams later rescinded - officials admitted that error had been made.

Photos courtesy of Ron Sutcliffe :

Official : James Jones (Wales)

Cross Keys Newport