Cross Keys welcome Principality Premiership East leaders Bedwas to Pandy Park this Saturday.
The men from the Bridge Field have had a superb start to the season so far and have won all 4 of their league games, taking a bonus point in all four victories. They started their season with an excellent 39 points to 27 victory at Sardis Road over Pontypridd. That win was followed up with a comfortable victory over Newport at Bridge Field by 27 points to 5. Two weeks ago they produced the goods once again when they defeated champions Merthyr by 37 points to 24 at The Wern. Last week their winning run continued when they saw off Bargoed at The Bridge Field with a 37 points to 5 win over the Bulls.
Last season the 2 sides met last December in the ‘pre-split’ Principality Premiership at Pandy Park and it was Keys who secured the victory with a 15 points to 11 win. Keys crossed for tries by Josh Prosser and Joe Goodchild, whilst Prosser also kicked a conversion and a penalty. The Bedwas replies came from a try by Geraint Edmunds and a penalty apiece for namesakes, James S Dixon and James Dixon. Following on from that game Bedwas went on to compete in Tier 1 with Keys competing in Tier 2 after the split. The sides also met in the, now abolished Fosters Challenge Cup last season, victories going the way of the home side on each occasion, with Bedwas hammering Keys by 48 points to 8 at the Bridge Field last December, before Keys triumphed in January at Pandy Park, winning an entertaining clash by 31 points to 24.
Turning thoughts back to Saturday’s game and Keys will need to drastically improve on recent performances if they are to gain anything from the game, with Bedwas in such a rich vein of form.
The Cross Keys side for Saturday’s game has been announced and shows minimal changes to the side that was beaten by Cardiff last week. In the backs, Phil Williams replaces Lewis Barnett, with Barney Nightingale moving to 13 to accommodate Williams. Up front Dan Mock, a summer recruit from Newport will make his Keys debut as he replaces the injured Tom Lampard in the second row and Corey Hewlett, who was a replacement at Cardiff swaps places with Lewis Smout to start at loose head prop. On the bench, hooker is covered by the versatile Gary Carpenter and second row Harvey Reader, who previously appeared for Keys in the Fosters Cup is included on permit from Ynysddu.
The Cross Keys side in full is:-
15. Leon Andrews
14. Mathew Powell
13. Barney Nightingale
12. Phil Williams
11. Joe Goodchild
10. Josh Prosser
9. James Leadbeater
1. Corey Hewlett
2. Rob Jones
3. Richard Cornock
4. Dan Mock
5. Josh Skinner
6. Liam Davies
7. Joe Thomas
8. Adam Powell (c)
Replacements: 16. Gary Carpenter, 17. Lewis Smout, 18. Nathan Buck, 19. Harvey Reader, 20. Taine Basham, 21. Corey Shephard, 22. Ross Pritchard, 23. Nathan Trowbridge.
Cross Keys v Bedwas Principality Premiership East
Date: Saturday 23rd December 2017
Venue: Pandy Park
Kick Off: 2.30pm