2009/2010 Principality Premiership
Cardiff 32 v 32 Cross Keys
19 September 2009 - Cardiff Arms Park, Cardiff
Cross Keys

Match Report

Cardiff 32 Cross Keys 32

The temptation would be to describe this as a bad day at the office. But it was far, far worse than that. A succession of lapses in basic skills is one thing but when that is bracketed with an almost total collapse of self-discipline then questions need to be asked.

Cardiff actually finished slightly ahead in the penalty count – 18-14 in their favour – but scratch beneath the surface and we find a situation where the captain for the day is yellow-carded for what appeared to be back chat, restarts are twice called back for opposition scrums, lineout possession was seemingly in the lap of the gods, and high balls are spilled when no tackler was within yards.

It was as if all the good work and progress of the last three or four years had never happened.

Few individuals came out of the game with any credit though half-backs Gareth Davies and Darren Allinson were honourable exceptions and it's always good to see Craig Morgan claim another try, his 98th for club and region, as he edges ever closer to the landmark century.

As is often the way we these things, it was former Blue & Blacks who returned to make an impact. Jevon Groves manufactured one brilliant individual try for himself and was the link man in the injury time counter-attack started by Leon Andrews that levelled the scores.

Yet the start had been so bright. In the fourth minute debutant Jimmy Norris popped up on the far wing to take an inside pass and race 40 metres for the try converted by Davies. The fly-half later added a 40-metre penalty goal but by then the alarm bells should already have been ringing. At full-back for Keys was Gareth David, a points machine and thorn in the side to Cardiff for many years with Bridgend, Now he was racking up the goals, six before the interval, including three in seven minutes as Cardiff descended to new depths of incompetence: one for hands in a ruck; then from the centre spot as the restart was called back for a man in front and the resulting scrum was penalised; and thirdly when a botched tap penalty to Cardiff again led to killing the ball and a bread and butter straight pot from 38 metres.

Two penalties from Davies kept Cardiff in touch at 16-18 at the break but their second half comeback was almost immediately derailed two minutes after the restart as Jamie Ringer was yellow carded for ill-discipline. Bizarrely, it was while reduced to 14 men that the Blue & Blacks pulled away to a 26-18 lead. Davies kicked a penalty goal and added the extras to an individual try by Morgan as he intercepted on halfway and made it to the distant Cross Keys' posts.

Then we had Cardiff's Pythonesque period. More ill-discipline conceded a silly penalty in their own half and Groves took everyone by surprise with a short burst, chip ahead and sprint to the line for a fine try, converted by David. This from a lock forward. Even then, Cardiff looked as if they could just about get to the finishing line with their noses in front. Two more goals from Davies made it 32-25 with a minute left on the clock.

Cue another wayward kick, non-existent chase, and Andrews ran the ball back at them, found Groves at his elbow, and Matthew Pewtner finished off a 70-metre move for the match-saving try converted by David.

Official : Tim Hayes (Wales)

Cardiff Cross Keys