Cross Keys lost their second final of the season to Pontypridd yesterday, May 18, as they failed to clinch the Principality Premiership title.
Pontypridd proved unstoppable as they claimed an unprecedented second consecutive league and cup double to enter the record books with the 38-17 victory over Cross Keys at Sardis Road.
Cross Keys were determined to atone for their SWALEC Cup defeat at the Millennium Stadium two weeks ago but in truth, the game was already over by halftime where the home side held a comfortable 21-0 lead in the Principality Premiership final.
Cross Keys rallied briefly late in the second half with two quick tries by replacement scrum James Leadbeater, but any hopes of a revival were extinguished when Jordan Sieniawski dotted down.
The visitors did have the final say when Elliott Jones cleverly popped the ball back inside to fellow wing Nathan Trowbridge who dived over. Dorian Jones, who had a miserable day with the boot, landed the conversion to give the final score-line a semblance of respectability.
Two penalties inside the first 10 minutes by fly half Simon Humberstone put Ponty on the front foot as Keys simply couldn’t get their hands on the ball in the opening exchanges.
The Ponty pack steamed in Cross Keys territory to set up the first try. No 8 Dan Godfrey sniped from a scrum. The ball was quickly recycled and flanker Rhys Shellard took matters into his own hands and forced his way over next to the posts. Humberstone’s conversion took Ponty to 13-0 and even when Ponty had winger Lewis Williams sin binned for up-ending Adam Powell, Cross Keys couldn’t make their extra man count.
Dorian Jones missed two shots at goal and then it was Cross Keys’ turn to lose a man to the sin bin when Jevon Groves was sent packing for infringing at a ruck.
The first half was one way traffic as Ponty went for the jugular however Geraint Walsh dropped the ball with the try-line at his mercy. Ponty didn’t have to wait long though when Lewis Williams cantered over in the corner after being put clear by Gavin Dacey.
Humberstone banged over his fourth penalty of the evening to continue his side’s dominance two minutes after the re-start.
Cross Keys centre Leon Andrews set a captain’s example and tried to spark his side into action but he was helpless as Ponty No 8 Dan Godfrey ploughed over with ease from a close range scrum. Humberstone again converted.
Cross Keys finally stopped the rot with a try double from Leadbetter. His first was a neat effort from a scrum where Ieuan Jones went blind and popped a pass to the replacement scrum half.
The second was a good team effort where hardworking Rebuen Tucker trucked the ball up twice, to set up Leadbeater who dived over. Jones gained his first success of the evening with an easy conversion to make it 31-12.
Ponty then surged back down field where replacement scrum half Lloyd Williams sniped and off-loaded to Jordan Sieniawski who cantered over with ease. Humberstone converted.
To their credit Cross Keys refused to throw in the towel and had the last word when Nathan Trowbridge dived over but it was Ponty fans who were left celebrating after Paul John’s men picked up their third consecutive Premiership title in convincing manner.
• Match report by WRU