Cross Keys RFC defeated Caerphilly County Borough rivals Bargoed 18-17 at Pandy Park on Saturday, January 19.
The win sees the Keys pull four points clear of the relegation zone, while Bargoed’s losing streak in the league extends to nine games.
The Keys avenged their 20-13 defeat away to Bargoed earlier in the season.
Cross Keys made a strong start as Jacob Botica kicked a penalty over the posts to give the hosts first blood.
The home side dominated territory and possession early on and increased their lead through the boot of Botica after the Bulls were penalised for a high tackle.
The game started to become a cagey affair with Cross Keys winning the territory battle.
Bargoed conceded yet another penalty and Botica stepped up once again to extend the deficit to 9-0 after 23 minutes.
But Bargoed refused to let the game slip away from them. Captain Rhys Morgan crashed over the line after a driven lineout for the first try of the game. Josh Prosser’s conversion cut the lead to 9-7.
Cross Keys went on to dominate the rest of the half and despite brave defending from Bargoed, they conceded a penalty which saw Botica increase the buffer to 12-7.
Bargoed broke into the opposition half before half time and came away with three points. Prosser’s 40-yard penalty in appalling weather conditions made the score 12-10 at the break.
Bargoed came out for the second half in inspired form as they dominated their hosts, who were stuck in their own half.
Prosser had the chance to put the Bulls ahead for the first time with a penalty but hit the post.
But Bargoed soon took a 17-12 lead through a penalty try after a number of scrums buckled.
Good work on a kick chase by Barney Nightingale and Duane Dyer forced a penalty kick for Bargoed but the attempt went wide.
But the Keys slowly fought their way back into Bargoed territory and forced a penalty, which Botica converted to narrow the score to 17-15.
A strong defensive performance from Bargoed ensued, culminating in a miraculous try-saving challenge to dislodge the ball and stop the Keys crossing their line.
But Bargoed could not hold on to the lead. With just minutes left they were punished for a no-arms tackle.
Up stepped Botica once again, who scored the penalty to secure a 18-17 victory and break Bargoed hearts.
Bargoed head coach David Lynch said: “I thought that our boys were heroic in the final 30 mins but our inability to gain field position down the slope eventually told. It’s tough to take but the league is very unforgiving.”
Both teams are in WRU National Cup action next week, with Cross Keys playing host to Pontypool, while Bargoed travel to face Swansea with a place in the quarter-finals up for grabs.