The league campaign effectively starts again this Saturday as Cross Keys welcome Llanelli to Pandy Park for the opening tier 2 Fixture following the Principality Premiership’s mid-season split a month ago.
When the 2 sides met at Parc y Scarlets in the ‘normal’ Principalty Premiership campaign back in November Keys secured a last gasp victory when a Barney Nightingale try the death saw Keys secure a 19 points to 16 win. Other points for Keys that evening came from 4 penalties by Josh Prosser as well as James Thomas’ conversion of Nightingale’s try. The home side scored points through a Nathan Hart try and a conversion and 3 penalties by Dion Jones.
Last Saturday Llanelli were knocked out of the Welsh National Cup when runaway Championship leaders Pontypool triumphed at Parc y Scarlets winning by 19 points to 11. The Pooler side featured cup winners with Keys back in 2012, Rhys Dyer and Rob Nash, who of course led Keys to that famous triumph. Keys had no such problems progressing to Round 2 when they eased to a 49 points to 3 victory at Glynneath.
Back to Saturday’s game and Keys may just 3 changes to the starting lineup from the side that defeated Glynneath last weekend. All 3 changes are in the back line where Barney Nightingale, Joe Goodchild and Owain Leonard replace Phil Williams, Nathan Trowbridge and James Leadbeater respectively. Scott Matthews is again named amongst the replacements as the captain continues his comeback from 4 months out of action. With Ellis Shipp starting for Wales under 20s in Italy, hooker Rob Jones, who has signed permanently for Keys from Treorchy for the remainder of the season is again named on the bench.
The Cross Keys side in full is:-
15. Leon Andrews
14. Mathew Powell
13. Lewis Barnett
12. Barney Nightingale
11. Joe Goodchild
10. Josh Prosser
9. Owain Leonard
1. Lewis Smout
2. Darren Hughes (c)
3. Richard Cornock
4. Danny Hodge
5. Scott Andrews
6. Adam Powell
7. Rhys Fitzgerald
8. Ieuan Jones
Replacements: 16. Rob Jones, 17. Gwesyn Price-Jones, 18. Gary Carpenter, 19. Tom Lampard, 20. Scott Matthews, 21. Phil Williams, 22. James Leadbeater, 23. Nathan Trowbridge.
Cross Keys v Llanelli Principality Premiership Tier 2
Date: Saturday 4th February 2017
Venue: Pandy Park
Kick Off: 2.30pm
Referee: Aled Evans Assistants: Richard Jones & Gareth Butler