Cardiff were made to pay the full price for the first of two sin-binnings as Cross Keys scored 13 points in a nine-minute period before half-time. The pedestrian Blue & Blacks never looked like pulling back their 10-20 interval deficit despite a surfeit of possession and overwhelming territorial advantage in the second 40 minutes.Yet Cardiff had looked well in control in the opening exchanges.
They took the first scrum of the game against the head on half way and Dan McShane sent Matthew Nuthall swerving towards the Keys' line where he was held up just short.Soon afterwards another long range attack featured the rangy left wing, easily Cardiff's outstanding attacker on the night.
Again no score materialised. Chris Anderson had missed two 30-metre penalty goals and a speculative drop goal from similar range before he finally registered the opening points after 20 minutes.Cross Keys appeared to be a beleagured outfit but it said much for the limitations of Cardiff that the whole nature of the game changed in the second quarter. Influential home full back Gethin Worgan converted his own try after centre Dan Dark had cut the midfield defence with alarming ease.Cardiff hit back with a try of their own when Chris Anderson doubled back to the blind-side from a close range lineout.
His conversion restored a three-point lead at 10-7 but, incredibly, that completed the Blue & Blacks' scoring with an hour's rugby still to play.Carmarthen referee Tim Hayes had shown a worrying reluctance to play the advantage law from the outset and as the players' frustrations grew so the ill-tempered nature of the proceedings increased. In the 32nd minute Gareth Knight was sin-binned for killing the ball and Worgan's easy penalty levelled the scores.
Three minutes later another clean break through Cardiff's 10/12 channel, aka the parting of the Blue & Black Sea, resulted in a try for centre Nathan Williams. Worgan converted and to complete a miserable end to the half for the visitors he then cooly added a penalty goal from 40 metres.As Cardiff pondered an unreal 10-point deficit at the interval, they might also wonder how they were about to open the second period camped in Keys' 22 for at least 10 minutes without putting further points on the board.
The only ray of light was Nuthall who twice was almost over in the left corner.The Keys fleetingly visited Cardiff's 22 but rarely threatened the line themselves. An ill-tempered affair finally boiled over in the 79th minute with two separate brawls near Cardiff's line. To everyone's astonishment replacement flanker Johnathan Edwards was shown the yellow card while Cross Keys' many miscreants escaped Scot-free.
To compound the felony, as it were, Worgan kicked the resulting penalty goal.It was little consolation to Cardiff when in the sixth minute of injury time and the result long since settled, the edgy referee sin-binned home centre Dark for a high tackle on Robin Sowden-Taylor.