Quins 19 Cross Keys 24
This match had most things that rugby followers expect but seldom experience these days. Skilful handling, organised defence, quality line out work, end on end play, plenty of effort, well taken tries, the odd wrong option strange decisions and near perfect playing conditions provided the perfect advert for Premiership League Rugby.
The opening minutes signalled how both sides intended to approach the game and all the backs had early touches.
Haydn Pugh was prominent in the early line outs and the Quins were to prove the better in this department all afternoon.
The quickly taken tap penalty was used by both sides and this meant that both defences were regularly tested so concentration was going to be vital. The Quins pack were up against a heavier unit to almost a stone a player but their usual skill in this department held quite well.
After ten minutes Rhys Williams charged down a kick out of defence and he almost won the race as the ball rolled over the try line.
Elliot Jones at full back was the visitor’s most dangerous player and he was always ready to counter any Quins threat.
A period of Quins pressure in the Vicarage corner midway through the half was rewarded when instead of taking an easy three points they went for a touch kick and from the line out Haydn Pugh collected and the drive was brought down resulting in the referee having no hesitation in awarding a penalty try. Craig Evans added the conversion.
From the restart the visitors captain Leon Andrews made a break only to see his pass knocked on when a try was on. Five minutes later Cross Keys gained a penalty and Ethan Davies put their fist points on the board to make the score 7-3.
Approaching half time Rhys Williams picked up a loose pass in his own 22 and kicked up field, Elliot Jones fielded and his kick down field was gathered by Dion Jones who started a counter attack. He handed on to Jason Harries who shrugged off several defenders to hand back to Dion Jones ,who despite being surrounded by several Cross Keys defenders was able to use his jinking run to mesmerise them all and he crossed for an outstanding try. Craig Evans conversion hit the upright and stayed out.
The visitors were using their tank like props to gain ground and right on half time this tactic paid off when they broke through for wing P.Uhi to cross for a try and Davies’s conversion ended the half 12-10.
At the start of the second half the visitors drove play into the Vicarage corner which resulted in the referee giving Sion Bennett a yellow card which was to change the game. The next ten minutes was to see the Quins concede twelve points which was to prove decisive.
From the resultant penalty a power drive took the Keys over the line and from another first at the Park the T M O was called in and he awarded the try to J. Condy.
Davies took the visitors into a 17-12 lead with the kick.
More Keys pressure kept play in the Quins half and after a slick passing bout J. Condy was able to cross for his second try for Davies to give the visitors a 12 point lead 24-12.
The Quins were not going to give up and went on the offensive with Chris Banfield and Dion Jones particularly dangerous. The Quins kept up their attacking play and one felt that the game was not out of reach and the visitors were left to use the touch line to keep them at bay.
After 70minutes more Quins pressure and good work from Gareth George saw a passing move give Jason Harries the chance to use his power again and shake of two tackles and find Dion Jones up in support to race over for his second try. Craig Evans added the kick to make the score 24-19 with an interesting last 10 minutes on offer. The visitors defence was under pressure and running out of steam and it was only desperate defending that kept their line intact. The final whistle denied the Quins a little more than a losing bonus point and only a slim hope of reaching the play offs.
Next Sat the Quins play host to Newport in the Quarter Final of the SWALEC cup and it is hoped that Dan Jones Ryan Elias and Keiran Hardy will return after Wales Under 20 duty. Kick Off 2.30.p.m.