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Bargoed 20 Cross Keys 13

Bargoed entertained local rivals Cross Keys at a very wet Bargoed Park for their fourth Principality Premiership game of the season, and got their first win of the campaign in a tough encounter.

The home side started poorly though through a combination of lineout errors and poor discipline, and alongside an astute kicking game from Cross Keys, they were under real pressure in the first twenty five minutes of the game. Bargoed lost key back rower Alex Herbert in this period and James Locke came on after a period out with injury. One positive aspect for Bargoed was their defence which was far better than the previous week.

Although Bargoed’s scrum was on top they were unable to get out of their half as the penalty count rose against them.

When they had possession Bargoed did try to overplay a little in difficult conditions and when a couple of attacks broke down the visitors were allowed off the hook and they once again punished Bargoed through their more effective kicking game.

Bargoed conceded just before half time in this tight encounter, when prop John Lavender was yellow carded for a no arms tackle and Keys kicked to the corner and drove the lineout for Joe Thomas to score, Jason Tovey added the extras for a 7-0 lead at half time.

The second half saw Bargoed start with 14 men, but there was a marked difference as they started to get more possession and territory. They were awarded two penalties and when Keys prop Richard Cornock was penalised for bringing down a driving lineout it allowed Bargoed to squeeze the visitors with a period of sustained pressure.

However, Bargoed failed to capitalise on this, and when Leon Andrews counter attacked  for the visitors and Bargoed missed a few tackles it looked like they had let them off the hook.

There were front row changes for The Bulls with Morgan, Lippiett and Thomas taking the field and after 57 minutes the game turned as Josh Prosser launched a high ball and Barney Nightingale won the aerial battle and cantered away to score with a great piece of skill, Prosser converted to even it up 7-7.

Bargoed were now in the ascendancy but poor discipline again allowed Tovey to convert a 35 m penalty for Keys to take the lead 10-7.

Bargoed attacked with Leadbeater, Humphries and Nightingale combining and when Keys were penalised they went to the corner. They secured the ball for a well constructed try from a driving lineout for Louis Blacker, converted by Prosser for a 14-10 lead.

Bargoed were now well on top and their effective driving lineout was allowing them to exert pressure on the Keys defence. Bargoed got the rewards for their hard work when they got a penalty when the Keys collapsed their drive and Prosser extended the lead to 17-10.

A couple of minutes later he added to this when Keys were penalised for another high tackle to Bargoed into a 20-10 lead.

Bargoed conceded another penalty late on when prop Rhys Morgan was penalised at a scrum and Tovey reduced the lead to give Keys a losing bonus point as the game finished with Bargoed 20-13 victors.

Bargoed Head Coach David Lynch said ‘We’re really pleased with the result and the fact that we managed the game far better in the second half than we did in the first.

We talked at half time about how we needed to be patient, play in the right areas and apply real pressure, and we did that. We’ll reflect and continue to work hard and look forward to the opportunity to build on this win.

It was also good to see Louis Blacker, James Locke and Julian Mogg returning from injury to increase competition, but disappointing to lose Alex Herbert.

Bargoed RFC

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