John Kendrick reports:
In a game where territory and possession were equally shared the try count of 7-0 exhibited the huge difference between the sides in terms of both incisive finishing and defensive patterns. The Drovers certainly created the opportunities to score tries but a combination of a sound Keys defence allied with poor control up front and a lack of fluency amongst the backs kept the home line intact. The Drovers' pack did once manage to cross the line but the unsighted referee was unable to award the try.
Within 6 minutes of the kick off Cross Keys were twelve points clear. After the forwards had put pressure on the defence precise handling by the threes found blind side wing Lee Humphries supporting on the outside and able to cross for the opening score. A minute later centre Gareth Turner glided through one of the gaps in the defensive wall to score a second try. Full back Darren Miles converted the first try.
The Drovers were kept in contact as the home defence appeared content to give away penalties rather than concede tries. Outside half Gareth Morgan took full advantage converting three of these penalties to keep a close score of 12-9 after 20 minutes.
The home side's response to the third penalty was immediate and once again, with the Drovers' defensive alignment and communication in disarray, the outstanding player on the pitch, Scott Mitchell, was able to pass through untouched to score under the posts. Darren Miles added the extra points with the conversion.
Back came the Drovers and when lock Gareth Wilson was yellow carded for deliberate offside at a ruck Gareth Morgan was able to add a fourth penalty from close range and keep the score board ticking over.
Once again the response from the Keys came in the form of try number four. Scott Mitchell created the initial breach and then slick handling set up Number 8 Rhys Williams outside the cover to touch down in the corner to leave the half time score at 24-12.
The second half began in a similar fashion to the first with Gareth Morgan kicking a fifth penalty and Cross Keys scoring a fifth try when, following good handling and running, wing Lee Humphries was able to outflank the defenders and cross in the corner.
The Drovers now abandoned kicking for goal when awarded penalties and instead opted for position and line out drives. Unfortunately poor control and lack of fluency negated any advantage. The choice, however, was underlined when kicker Gareth Morgan received the second yellow card of the match for deliberate offside close to the line.
At the same time the Llandovery defence continued to leak tries, the first from lock Grant Wilson and the second from replacement three-quarter Gethin Worgan, who converted his own try to take the home side's points tally over 40 points by the end of the game.
Llandovery in previous seasons were one of the league's leading try scorers but have found this aspect of the game to be an Achilles heel this season and with only 20 tries to their name they have the lowest total in the Premier Division. It is possible that with both Newport and Bridgend calling off games this month the side were a little short of match practice but even so there is the need for a drastic improvement in both attack and defence if they are not to slip back into the relegation zone.