Swansea went into this match as massive underdogs with the home side boasting a 100% record, compared to Swansea’s failure to win a match so far. With Cross Keys boasting experienced players such as Justin Thomas, Scott Mitchell, and captain Ben Watkins in their ranks, many feared the worst against a side yet to concede a try in 240 minutes of rugby this season.
The Whites got off to the worst possible start with Justin Thomas going over under the posts for an early score after taking the ball well on the angle. Darren Miles converted.
Despite a penalty goal by Stuart Thomas reducing the deficit, lock Damian Hudd soon crashed over for a try in the corner, which increased the Keys’ lead to 12-3. A further penalty goal by Miles, along with two from Thomas, one of which was from half way, took the score to 15-9 at half time.
Half-Time:- Cross Keys 15 Swansea 9
The second half was dominated by both sides’ defence with neither able to break through. Swansea admittedly looked the likelier to score and did come close after good work by Nicky Thomas and replacement scrum half Richard Rees, but they were unable to put the final phase together.
Swansea lock Darren Davies had been involved in skirmishes all match and was lucky not to have been carded after a blatant punch to the face of Watkins in full view of the referee, but thankfully for Davies, the official showed lenience and simply awarded Cross Keys a penalty.
With time running out, Davies was sin-binned for repeated infringements after previously being warned. When the Whites finally found themselves a dangerous attacking platform, ill discipline cost them dearly as Cross Keys were able to clear to safety through a penalty. The referee blew up for full time soon after.
It is now four matches played and four matches lost for Swansea in a season that is looking like being a long hard struggle for the Whites. They will be looking forward to playing on home turf for the first time this season in two weeks time, although the opposition Pontypridd also boast a 100% record. A major improvement on today’s performance is needed if the Whites are to challenge Ponty.
Full-Time:- Cross Keys 15 Swansea 9
Venue:- Pandy Park, Cross Keys
Weather:- Partly Cloudy, 20C
Competition:- Welsh Premier League
Match Referee:- John Mason
Cross Keys Scorers:- J. Thomas (Try), Miles (Con, Pen), Hudd (Try)
Swansea Scorers:- S. Thomas (3 Pens)
Swansea Team:- 15 A. Bramwell 14 N. Thomas 13 M. Brayley 12 D. Watts 11 N. Jones 10 S. Thomas 9 D. Pittard 1 T. Evans 2 R. Hibbard 3 A. Clatworthy 4 D. Davies 5 N. Thomas 6 N. Kelly 7 B. Lewis 8 G. Newman
By Paul Hopkins