Howard Evans (Cross Keys Programme Notes)

Today we welcome our Monmouthshire friends from Cross Keys RFC, who are currently fighting desperately for their Premiership lives.

The days of Colin Vernall, Chris Clarke and Horace Jeffries appear to be over, but the great old club is battling on with five more fixtures left after today.

Without looking it up, I cannot remember the Keys being out of the top division and it is yet another sad note in a division totally given up by those who run the sport.

How can five clubs go down, leaving just 11 home games for each of the remaining next season.

The clubs include the fully professional RGC outfit, who will seemingly collapse when the North Wales Regions starts (AND IT WILL START). Also Pontypridd battling to pay players and Neath who are just about to have 1,000 points against this season.

And where are South Wales Police, Tredegar, Tonmawr, Llanharan, Abertillery, Penarth, Maesteg, etc, etc Gone and never to return. Who cares? I do, but those that matter do not.

Old players and supporters just shake their heads at the state of rugby in Wales. Never mind, there are now second XV’s in the leagues; there no 4th, 5th and 6th divisions – loads of division three clubs though. And all first-class sides. Or are they??

Keys will scrap it out today and if Aberavon play as they did at Llanelli, then Keys will run away with the game.

Perhaps Rhymney or Hartridge or Whieheads will rise to the top in Gwent. I don’t think so and if Keys do go down, I hope they bounce back, but it will not get easier. I love going to Bedwas, Cross Keys, Ebbw Vale just as I used to go regularly to Abertillery. Let us hope all those clubs fight back.

Today we have a good referee (yes a few exist) in Simon Rees, from the Gwent village of Beaufort. We welcome him and hope we might get another good one soon!

TEAM P W D L PF PA PTS
Merthyr 27 21 0 6 798 501 107
Llandovery 28 20 1 7 803 492 98
Cardiff 26 19 1 6 771 547 95
Ebbw Vale 28 19 1 8 671 512 90
Pontypridd 25 18 0 7 840 480 89
Aberavon 26 17 2 7 612 490 83
Newport 29 16 2 11 726 678 83
Swansea 28 15 0 13 625 552 75
Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404 26 12 1 13 669 556 73
Carmarthen Quins 29 13 1 15 616 544 71
Llanelli 29 11 1 17 622 710 58
Bedwas 28 10 1 17 615 786 52
Bridgend Ravens 26 9 0 17 544 651 50
Cross Keys 27 5 1 21 552 925 35
Bargoed 27 6 0 21 522 872 33
Neath 27 1 0 26 379 1069 3