Llanelli left to pick up the pieces after cup thumping
LLANELLI admitted they had a cup reputation to repair after getting well and truly dumped out of the British & Irish Cup at Pandy Park on Saturday night.
The West Wales club travelled up the M4 with high hopes of making it into the BIC semi-finals, but they were dashed as early as the first quarter.
In that time Cross Keys, who had dubbed the quarter-final their most important game in the semi-pro era, dismantled Llanelli in all departments to open up a 17-0 lead — all 17 points from fly-half Steffan Jones.
A disappointed Llanelli head of rugby Anthony Buchanan is expecting his players to turn around the club's fortunes with Saturday's Welsh Cup visit to Bonymaen.
"Bonymaen will be a very difficult game, but I'm sure we will have a good week and get our heads round it," said Buchanan, who watched his side go down four tries to one.
"We are a proud club and Cross Keys hurt us and we realise that to get our reputation back we need to win against Bonymaen and have a good end to the season."
His Llanelli players could take some lifting as they were blown away almost from the off.
A Jones penalty set the ball rolling before the fly-half, who had the Midas touch on a sticky Pandy Park pitch, scored two tries in the space of nine minutes.
On 12 minutes scrum-half Rhys Dyer put over the sidestepping fly-half, who then crossed after charging down Dan Evans's attempted clearance.
Llanelli did get on the scoreboard with a Jordan Williams penalty four minutes from half-time, a reward for managing to actually go through some phase play for the first time in the contest.
But after the break Cross Keys wrestled back the initiative with two further tries through Dan Hodge after a drive from a line-out and wing Nathan Trowbridge, who ran in after picking up a loose ball deep in his own half.
Minutes before the end Evans managed to get the ball down for Llanelli's one and only try, but by then the outcome of the tie had already been settled.
"I thought Cross Keys were very good value for the win and we let ourselves down. We let the club down," assessed Buchanan.
"We are very disappointed — the players, coaches and the management.
"We came second best by a long way. We seemed to be on the back foot, made too many mistakes and we didn't allow ourselves to settle. We thought we couldn't play as badly in the second half as the first but we did press the self-destruct button again.
"Their back row was very hungry and accurate and they got on to our nines and 10."
Cross Keys are joined in the semi-finals by Munster, Leinster and Cornish Pirates.
Cross Keys : Tries: S. Jones (2), D. Hodge, N. Trowbridge. Pens: S. Jones (2). Cons: S. Jones (3).
Team : G. David; K. Baller, L. Andrews, P. Williams, N. Trowbridge; S. Jones, R. Dyer; R. Cornock, J. Sollis, M. Jones, D. Hodge, T. Lampard, R. Peebles, J. Groves, R. Nash (capt).
Llanelli : Try: D. Evans. Pen: J. Williams.
Team : D. Evans; L. Williams, N. Reynolds, J. Lewis, C. Keenan; J. Williams, J. James; S. Hopkins, G. George, A. Hopkins, Adam Powell (capt), N. White, C. Price, Alan Powell, D. Eager.
Referee : Paul Haycock (Ireland).