2006/2007 Principality Premiership
Cardiff 44 v 26 Cross Keys
14 October 2006 - Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Cross Keys

Match Report

Cardiff 44 Cross Keys 26

Another home win, another try hat-trick for Tom James, and another rousing reception from the crowd. The good times continue to roll at the Arms Park as the Blue & Blacks climbed to third place in an increasingly competitive Principality Premiership campaign.

The latest chapter had everything. Nine sparkling tries, shaded by Cardiff; vitally reliable goalkicking by Chris Anderson; a couple of handbags at six paces rounded off by a heavily-populated brawl; and the referee admonishing an over-excitable Cross Keys team manager.

At one stage the visitors had more camp-followers, officials, coaches, water-carriers and other travelling track-suits on the edge of the touchline than they had players on the field. But it would have taken all of them out on the pitch at the same time to have any chance of halting Tearaway Tom in his tracks.

There's no doubt that the new wing sensation is putting his years as an international track athlete at 800 and 1500 metres to good effect. With two minutes of the start he was tearing down the left touchline in pursuit of a long punt by Llyr Lane. Three minutes after that he scored his first try, this time popping up on Richard Jones' elbow in midfield after Gareth Gravell had powered his way upfield in typical fashion.

Chris Anderson, having already slotted a penalty goal, converted and the Blue & Blacks were already 10 points to the good. The lead was short-lived as the Keys scored two converted tries through wing David James, with a neat side-step, and Gareth Chapman, latching on to an interception on half-way. Scott Mitchell added the extras before being forced off with a nasty hand injury.

Cardiff didn't panic. Gravell again made huge inroads in the visitors dfence and Nick Hampson finished off the move under the posts for Anderson to convert. This was entertaining stuff and Keys were back on the scoreboard again after a speculative kick by Mitchell produced a wicked bounce for full-back Aled Thomas to touch down.

Now it was 17-19 but the Blue & Blacks slipped up through the gears and James almost crossed near the left corner. Then  a 5-metre scrum was the perfect platform for Chris Jones to score a classic back rower's try and the unerring Anderson kicked the conversion. Immediately after half-time he kicked a straightforward penalty goal to extend th lead to 27-19 but the tastier fare for the afternoon was still to be served.

With Gareth Gravell receiving treatment on the pitch for a leg injury, the referee waved play on and from the resulting close range line out Keys hooker Gary Horrigan was driven over for a try converted by Aled Thomas. Anderson kicked his third penlty goal from a tricky angle before the turning point of the game unfolded.

With Mike Leaman sin-binned the visitors pummelled the home line to no effect. With their numerous support staff apparently auditioning for 'Strictly Come Dancing' on the touchline (and to equally unproductive effect) the Blue & Blacks finally cleared their lines to huge home cheers.

Now it was the Cardiff to go on the front foot and it was Tom James who provided the coup de gras - twice. First he chased a chip kick by Lane and as two defenders slipped he pounced for a try under the posts. That seemed to be enough for one afternoon but, deep in injury time, he was in the thick of the action again.

The Keys fumbled their own scrum ball and as the ball popped out to the side James gathered, swivelled (a more successful dancing maneouvre) off the last tackle and raced over as the ecstatic crowd celebrated. Anderson, of course, from the edge of touch, kicked his fifth successful conversion.


Official : Tim Hayes (Wales)

Cardiff Cross Keys