Cross Keys RFC suffered a narrow 21-18 defeat to title-chasing Cardiff in the Principality Premiership on Friday, February 8.
The Keys put in a valiant effort at the Centre for Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach in a bid to pull away from the relegation zone.
However, tries from Carwyn Penny and Garin Price, combined with the boot of Jacob Botica were enough to secure a losing bonus-point.
Winger Penny opened the scoring within the first minute of the game to give Cross Keys a shock lead.
Botica missed the conversion attempt but made up for it by scoring penalties in the 7th and 12th minute respectively to give his side an 11-0 advantage.
Cardiff’s Steffan Jones missed a penalty in the 18th minute.
The visitors scored their first points of the evening through centre Ben Thomas in the 30th minute. Jones made no mistake with the conversion and Cardiff were right back in the game.
In the second half, Botica had the chance to put his side further ahead but missed the penalty kick.
A 47th minute yellow card for second-row Damian Welch was a major blow to Cross Keys, who were reduced to 14-men.
During the sin bin period, Thomas scored his second try of the game to give Cardiff the lead for the first time.
Jones converted to give the visitors a 14-11 lead.
Tom Williams further increased Cardiff’s lead when he scored his side’s third try of the game. Another successful conversion from Jones meant the Keys were now trailing by ten points with just over 20 minutes remaining.
Cardiff made a raft of substitutions in order to guard their lead.
With a minute remaining, flanker Price crossed over the line to secure a losing bonus-point for Cross Keys, which may prove crucial come the end of the season.
Botica converted for the two extra points but it wasn’t enough to stop Cardiff being the victors in Ystrad Mynach.
Cross Keys, who remain 11th in the league, return to Pandy Park on Saturday, February 16 to play high-flying Ebbw Vale.