Both sides made a nervous start to the game, showing an over respect for the occasion and for their opponents whilst attempting to kick start the contest. A dynamic break by centre Dafydd Lockyer gave Ponty some momentum upfield but play typically called back for a knock-on.
The first ten minutes passed by scoreless but Pontypridd holding a territorial advantage, instigating a line out drive and battling for turnovers in the loose. Pressure eventually told as Ponty outside half Lewis Williams confidently stroked over a penalty with sixteen minutes gone. That lead was improved upon as hooker Huw Dowden led a charge, the ball then whipped out for winger Matthew Nuthall to squeeze in for a try in the corner, which Williams converted.
Without encroaching their opponents’ twenty-two, Cross Keys were able to respond as outside half Dean Gunter put over a penalty, but Ponty striking back through numerous phases of possession, bringing their impact runners on to the ball, and rewarded as Williams hoisted another penalty between the posts.
The Keys pack once more took the game to their opponents, gaining a field position for Gunter to slot over a penalty, and centre Leon Andrews then spearheading a midfield offensive. Ponty in turn responded with a series of hard drives into the Keys’ twenty-two but no further score forthcoming before the interval, with the Valley Commandos retaining a lead of 13pts to 6.
Cross Keys stoked up their fire during the break, coming out for the second period full of attacking intent. A series of close range shunts took the Keys’ pack over the line, and after lengthy deliberation from the fourth official, a try awarded to lock Danny Hodge which Gunter converted.
The Gwent team were now taking the initiative, giving the game a far more competitive edge. Ponty held out with some last ditch defending but conceding points to another Dean Gunter penalty. Working off a solid scrum Ponty were able to muscle their way back into contention, and back into the lead as fly half Williams put over two penalties in quick succession.
The game was being fought with intensity around the fringes and at the breakdown, with a tense final quarter in store. Cross Keys once more hauled themselves back level as Gunter planted a penalty between the posts, and straight from the restart, the Keys launching a snap offensive down the line for hooker Gerwyn Price to cross for a try right in the corner, the score again confirmed by the fourth official.
Dafydd Lockyer led a Ponty midfield thrust in response, the cup holders striving hard to generate momentum and spurning kicks at goal. An injury to Keys’ replacement prop Craig Gould entailed the introduction of passive scrums, but Ponty securing a flow of possession and pushing into their opponents’ twenty-two. Keys centre Leon Andrews broke clear on a counter offensive, a sniping run down the line producing a crucial score wide out for wing Nathan Trowbridge.
Cross Keys ended the game in rampant mood, continuing to advance to the final whistle with Gunter hoisting over another late penalty to seal a deserved cup final victory by 19pts to 32.
15.Gareth Wyatt. 14.Chris Clayton (Lewis I Williams). 13.Gary Williams (Gavin Dacey). 12.Dafydd Lockyer. 11.Matthew Nuthall. 10.Lewis K Williams. 9.Lewis Jones (Rhys Downes).
1.Stuart Williams (Ryan Harford). 2.Huw Dowden. 3.Pat Palmer. 4.Cory Hill. 5.Ryan Savage (Craig Locke). 6.Chris Dicomidis – cpt. 7.Wayne O’Connor. 8.Dan Godfrey (Jake Thomas).
|Pontypridd: (13) 19||Cross Keys: (6) 32|
|Try: Nuthall (21)||Tries: Hodge (42); Price (68); Trowbridge (76)|
|Con: L.K. Williams (21)||Con: Gunter (42)|
|Pens: L.K. Williams (16,29,55,58)||Pens: Gunter (24,32,53,67,80)|