It couldn't have been any tighter or dramatic at Rodney Parade as the two old foes went toe to toe for the right to travel to the home of Welsh rugby and attempt to become the first Gwent winner of the SWALEC Cup since Newport in 2001.
Both semi-finals involved battles between established Principality Premiership sides and teams from Division 1 East and the sides from below gave their higher ranked opponents huge frights. Keys had beaten the English Championship side Cornish Pirates the previous weekend to become the first Welsh team to reach the final of the British & Irish Cup, while Newbridge found themselves facing the reigning SWALEC Cup champions Pontypridd at Cardiff Arms Park.
In a nail-biting encounter at Rodney Parade, a second-half fight-back from the Steelmen put them within touching distance of their first SWALEC Cup final since 1998 when a Dorian Jones drop goal made it 19-16 in their favour.
But a late penalty from Dean Gunter, his third of the game, levelled the scores and allowed Keys to reach their second final of the week thanks to their superior try count. Both Keys tries came in the first half, as Gareth David and Tom Lampard crossed to give the favourites a 10-3 interval lead.
Kickers Gunter and Jones traded penalties before an Ashley Sweet try, converted by Jones, levelled the scores at 16-16. Then came the dramatic finish with the pendulum swinging first in favour of the Steelmen and then back to Keys.
Meanwhile, at the Arms Park, the reigning champions Pontypridd had their hands full against a gallant Newbridge side who fought back from 25-8 down early in the second half before finally falling 28-24. They cut the 17 point gap down to a mere four thanks to 14 points from the boot of Neil Burnett and two tries from Ceri Young
Young's first try opened the scoring, but tries from second row Cory Hill and wing Matthew Nuthall steadied the ship for Ponty, who beat Aberavon 35-24 in last year's final. Eight points from the boot of outside half Lewis K. Williams ensured the champions held an 18-8 interval lead and that advanatge grew at the start of the second period when Williams converted his own try.
Then came the Newbridge revival and it took a final penalty from Williams, taking his match tally to 18 points, to ensure a return to the Millennium Stadium for the Premiership outfit, who will be seeking their fourth win this century and their fifth overall
SWALEC CUP PLATE
Penallta and Nant Conwy will meet up in the SWALEC Plate final at the Millennium Stadium after their semi-final victories - Penallta eased to a 30-3 win over Bethesda, while Nant Conwy edged out Ystrad Rhondda 9-3.
Hopes of an all-North Wales final were dashed by Penallta's power as they had a brace of tries from Chris Thomas and another from wing Neil Roberts in their tally to overcome Bethesda. But Nant Conwy ensured there will be a North Wales team travelling to Cardiff next month for the first time.
Three penalties from full-back Carwyn ap Myrddin gave the SWALEC Division 1 North side the win, but they were also grateful for an inspired defensive performance. Ystrad Rhondda lost their scrum half top a first-half red card for a dangerous tackle and the SWALEC Division 2 East side were always on the back foot after that.
SWALEC Division 6 Central side Glyncoch will meet Division 4 East's New Tredegar in the SWALEC Bowl final at the Millennium Stadium.
Glyncoh edged out Talywain 24-21, thanks to tries from No 8 Gareth Way and second row Lloyd Allen, and there were also 11 points from the boot of outside half Lee Goddard and a drop goal from full-back Shaun Baggs to cheer.
They will face another tough game in the final when they meet New Tredegar, who saw off the challenge of Tycroes 38-31.