Cross Keys 19-19 Ebbw Vale
Premiership sides Cross Keys and Pontypridd will contest the final of this year’s Swalec Cup after yesterday seeing off Division One East sides Ebbw Vale and Newbridge respectively. But both top-level teams were forced to work hard for their wins, with Ebbw Vale holding Keys to a draw and Newbridge coming within four points of Ponty.
In a nail-biting encounter at Rodney Parade, a second-half fightback from the Steelmen was not enough to defeat Cross Keys after a late Dean Gunter penalty tied the scores and sent the Premiership side through by virtue of having scored two tries to Ebbw’s one.
A good crowd watches Pontypridd edge Division One East side Newbridge at the Cardiff Arms Park yesterday. Newbridge earned plaudits from both sets of fans as they pushed their Premiership opponents, who were hanging on by the end, all the way in what proved to be a classic cup tie Both Keys touch downs came in the first half, as Gareth David and Tom Lampard crossed to give the favourites a 10-3 interval lead. Kickers Gunter and Dorian Jones traded penalties before an Ashley Sweet try tied the scores at 16-16.
Jones then kicked a drop goal to put Ebbw – who are one win away from wrapping up the Division One East title – on the verge of a trip to the Millennium Stadium before Gunter hit his third penalty to bring relief to the Pandy Park side. They will face Pontypridd, who withstood a fierce Newbridge challenge at Cardiff Arms Park.
The Division One side opened the scoring through a Ceri Young try after 11 minutes, but two Ponty tries – via second row Cory Hill and wing Matthew Nuthall – and eight points from the boot of Lewis K. Williams gave the Sardis Road outfit an 18-8 interval lead.
Ponty extended that lead to 25-8 two minutes into the second period thanks to a Williams, who converted his own try. But Neil Burnett added two more penalties, and when Young crossed for his second try with just 20 minutes left, there were just seven points in it. But despite pushing Ponty hard – and earning another Burnett three-pointer – Newbridge fell just short of what would have been a famous win.