Cross Keys welcome Bargoed to Pandy Park this Saturday for the first home game of this Principality Premiership campaign.
Last Saturday both sides went down to narrow defeats in their opening games. Keys almost secured what would have been a shock win at Merthyr where a late comeback from the Champions saw the home side triumph by 31 points to 29, although Keys did pick up a pair of bonus points in the process. The Bulls hosted Ebbw Vale at Bargoed Park and went down to a 24 points to 20 defeat.
Over the summer Bargoed strengthened their squad with several new faces coming in. Amongst their signings are former Ebbw Vale pair Jordan Howells and Iain Smerdon whilst the most familiar face (to Keys fans) in their squad will be back row man Ieuan ‘Yanto’ Jones who transferred to Bargoed Park over the summer after a couple of seasons with Keys, perhaps the sleeves are not as tight on Bargoed’s shirts.
Last season Keys secured a league double over the Bulls. At Bargoed Park back in November 2016 Keys came away with a 23 points to 16 victory. Keys points came from tries by Simon Williams and a penalty try whilst Josh Prosser kicked both conversions and a trio of penalties against his old side. The home side’s points came from tries by David Evans and former Keys youth prospect Duane Dyer with a pair of penalties from the boot of Calum Jones. In the Tier 2 clash at Pandy Park it was Keys who secured a comfortable victory back in March when they won by 22 points to 0. Keys crossed for 3 tries by Nathan Trowbridge, Barney Nightingale and the aforementioned Ieuan Jones. Josh Prosser kicked 2 conversions and a penalty.
Back to Saturday’s game and Cross Keys have announced the side that will go in to the game looking for a first victory of the season. With Keys having several players on the sidelines through injury, Keys are fortunate to be able to call up on the services of several Dragons players who have been made available for selection by the region. South African Carl Meyer comes in to the Keys XV at full back in place of Dai Richards who took a knock at Merthyr last week. Wales cap Adam Warren also starts for Keys in the centre whilst Keys include the Dragons hooker Gerard Ellis amongst the replacements with Rob Jones starting and Darren Hughes covering back row from the bench. In the absence of talismanic skipper Scott Matthews, who faces a few weeks out with a shoulder injury sustained at Merthyr, Joe Thomas starts at openside with the side captained by number 8 Adam Powell.
The Cross Keys side in full for Saturday’s game is:-
15. Carl Meyer
14. Mathew Powell
13. Adam Warren
12. Barney Nightingale
11. Joe Goodchild
10. Josh Prosser
9. Owain Leonard
1. Corey Hewlett
2. Rob Jones
3. Richard Cornock
4. Tom Lampard
5. Josh Skinner
6. Liam Davies
7. Joe Thomas
8. Adam Powell (c)
Replacements: 16. Gerard Ellis, 17. Lewis Smout, 18. Nathan Buck, 19. Max George, 20. Darren Hughes, 21. Corey Shephard, 22. James Leadbeater, 23. Lewis Barnett.
Cross Keys v Bargoed Principality Premiership East
Date: Saturday 2nd September 2017
Venue: Pandy Park
Kick Off: 2.30pm