On a bright sunny fresh afternoon at the Memorial Ground Jamin Hodgkins and his Glamorgan Wanderers teammates battled Cross Keys, as both sides served up a tense encounter with the honors shared 24 – 24 at the end of the day.
The home side were straight out of the blocks. From the kick-off Finn Davies broke clear, he raced away and the break was carried on by Gruff Tough. Unfortunately, the Wanderers were not able to complete the move and the ball was spilled in the Keys 22.
The visitors cleared their lines but the home side struck. Off the top ball gave Tough a chance. He broke clear, fed Hodgkins, and like all good open-side flankers Finn Davies was in support to take the scoring pass. Hodgkins added the Conversion to take a 7 – 0 lead.
Cross Keys started to respond and they began a period of pressure. The Wanderers were forced into several defensive sets and they dug deep to keep the powerful visitors pack at bay. Eventually regaining possession Tough looked to clear with a box kick. This was touched in flight and a fortunate bounce placed the ball into the hands of chasing wing Ned Bennett. He raced away, avoided the covering defense, and fed Hodgkins who had the legs to outpace the cover and score in the corner. Hodgkins also added the conversion from the touchline to make it 14 - 0.
With their tails up the home side attacked again but the final pass eluded them and the Keys defense although stretched held on. Having ridden the storm, the visitors once again started using their pack, to establish play in the Wanderers 22.
The Wanderers dug deep but a Penalty gave Keys a chance, a quickly taken tap set them away and they scored under the posts. The conversion was added to make it 14 - 7. From the kick-off Morgan Williams stole possession but despite going close the home side was thwarted again. The Wanderers were then forced into a change when flanker Osian Phillips was forced off with an ankle injury to be replaced Nathan Williams.
Hodgkins was able to extend the lead to 17 - 7 with a Penalty on the half-hour mark but Keys were not to be denied and they struck back with a move from a lineout. Several forward drives exhausted the defense and when the defense ran out of numbers they crossed for their second Try making the score 17-14.
The half entered its final minutes and back came the home side. Driving deep into the Keys 22 Nathan Willimas drove over the line and clearly seemed to ground the ball on the line. Unfortunately, the official deemed otherwise and the Try was denied sending the sides into the break at 17-14.
The second half began brightly again. The first score went to the visitors who landed a superb long-range Penalty to level things up at 17 - 17.
For the second time, the home side thought they’d score another Try when the forwards drove over from a lineout only once again for the “held up” call to be made.
The Wanderers did have a chance to get ahead again when Hodgkins had a Penalty shot but his attempt went wide. The Wanderers were dominating territory without turning it into points and like all good sides Keys eventually created a chance and they made full use of it.
Breaking from a lineout they went a few phases and moved the ball out wide to cross on the left wing. The conversion was added for Keys to lead 24 - 17.
The game entered its final quarter as the subs were called for and the home side leveled it up with a superb team Try rounded off by Amir Jiwa-Walji. Hodgkins added his third conversion to pull level at 24 - 24 setting up a frantic finale.