Cross Keys make the short trip up the valley to take on Ebbw Vale this Saturday evening for the latest Principality Premiership clash, which will be broadcast live from Eugene Cross Park on S4C.
The Steelmen, under the guidance of former Keys coach Greg Woods have made an exceptional start to the 2018/19 Principality Premiership season and are the only team that are so far unbeaten having won all 6 of their 6 games played so far and as a result they are currently the team to beat as they lead the way at the top of the Principality Premiership table. They have so far recorded victories at home over Aberavon (19-17), Bridgend (17-16) and Swansea (28-14). On the road their victories have come at Llanelli (43-10), Neath (25-17) and an excellent victory at Colwyn Bay over RGC1404 by 19 points to 12.
Last season there were a total of 3 meetings between the 2 sides. In the east conference in the first half of last season Keys won both at home and away with Greg Woods in the Keys dugout at the time. At Pandy Park last September Keys took the honours by 19 points to 12. Tries for Keys came from Nathan Trowbridge and James Leadbeater with Josh Prosser adding both conversions and a pair of penalties. The Steelmen’s points came from a try each for skipper Ronnie Kynes and Srdan Majkic, who moved to Pandy Park over the summer. Former Keys man Dai Langdon added one conversion for the visitors. Last November Keys were also triumphant at Eugene Cross Park securing a comfortable 34 points to 20 victory. Keys’ points coming from tries for Scott Matthews, Barney Nightingale, Leon Andrews, Lewis Barnett and James Leadbeater with Josh Prosser adding 9 points via 3 conversions and a penalty goal. Ebbw’s points came from a converted penalty try as well as a try apiece for Ronnie Kynes and Joe Franchi. Callum hall also kicked a penalty goal.
The Steelmen with Woods then in charge of them took the honours in the most recent clash between the 2 side’s as they won the closing match of last season at Pandy Park with a 15 points to 11 victory. Keys points came from a try by Darren Hughes and a pair of penalties by Evan Lloyd. Ebbw crossed for tries by that man Ronnie Kynes and Toby Fricker with a conversion for Callum Hall and a penalty for Dai Langdon.
Turning back to Saturday’s clash and The Keys have named their side that will take on the Steelmen at Eugene Cross Park. With The Keys having several players on the sidelines through injury they bring in Wales international and Dragons prop Ryan Bevington in to the front row to replace Corey Hewlett who dislocated his shoulder last week at Cardiff. The other changes in the pack sees Richard Cornock come in to the starting lineup in place of Taylor Hansen at tight head and skipper Damian Welch returns to the starting lineup after missing last week’s defeat at Cardiff. He comes in to the back row with Harvey Reader and Tom Lampard forming the second row partnership. In the backs, where Keys are particularly hit hard with injury, Owain Leonard replaces Dan Babos who has been recalled by the Dragons at scrum half. Declan Williams comes back in to the centre to replace the injured Srdan Majkic..
The Cross Keys side in full for Saturday’s game is:-
15. Leon Andrews
14. Wes Cunliffe
13. Declan Williams
12. Dylan Fidler
11. Joe Goodchild
10. Jason Tovey
9. Owain Leonard
1. Ryan Bevington
2. Connah Vaughan
3. Richard Cornock
4. Harvey Reader
5. Tom Lampard
6. Damian Welch (c)
7. Joe Carlin
8. Joe Thomas
Replacements: 16. Rhydian Jenkins, 17. Scott Hoskins, 18. Taylor Hansen, 19. Todd James, 20. Izaak Duffy, 21. Ian Newbury, 22. Morgan Evans, 23. Chris Johnsey.
Ebbw Vale v Cross Keys Principality Premiership
Date: Saturday 13th October 2018
Venue: Eugene Cross Park, Ebbw Vale
Kick Off: 5.10pm
**Please note that this game kicks off at 5.10pm due to live T.V. coverage on S4C**