Pontypridd v Cross Keys Preview and Team News
By David Glastonbury | 29/09/2017
Cross Keys are back on the road this week looking to build on last week’s excellent victory over Principality Premiership east leaders Bedwas, when they head to Sardis Road to take on Pontypridd.
Ponty are perhaps in the middle of a transition period but after a mixed couple of seasons, which by Ponty’s normally high standards have perhaps been frustrating, they appear to be making a name for themselves again and will no doubt be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
Last season Keys and Ponty, who have been met each other frequently with countless fixtures in the various competitions of previous seasons gone by met just twice, once in the pre-split Principality Premiership on New Year’s Eve at Sardis Road and once in the Semi Final of the National Cup at Aberavon back in March of this year. In that league fixture on New Year’s Eve it was Ponty who took the honours in front of the S4C cameras at the ‘House of Pain’ with a 31 points to 22 victory. Ponty’s points came from tries by Dane Blacker, who crossed twice and Ben Jones who also kicked 2 conversions and 4 penalties for Ponty. Keys replied with tries by Mathew Powell, Rhys Fitzgerald and Phil Williams with replacement James Thomas kicking 2 conversions adding to a first half penalty by Josh Prosser. The National Cup Semi Final at the Talbot Athletic Ground turned out to be a classic cup encounter with Keys just being pipped by 42 points to 37 as they launched a stunning comeback in the final 10 minutes or so. Ponty progressed to the final, where they were defeated by RGC 1404 thanks to tries by Mitch Auger, Cameron Lewis, Dafi Davies, Joe Davies and former Wales pivot Ceri Sweeney who completed personal haul of 22 points with 4 conversions and 3 penalties. Keys crossed for tries by Mathew Powell, who grabbed a brace, Rhys Fitzgerald and Joe Goodchild with Prosser kicking all 4 conversions and 3 penalties for his own personal haul of 17 points.
Going back to Saturday’s game and games between the 2 sides are very rarely low on entertainment so it may well prove to be key to both sides aspirations as the season goes on. The Keys have made numerous changes to their side that started last week against Bedwas with 3 changes up front and a variety of positional shuffles in the back line, which also sees Lloyd Lewis, stepping out of the recording studio to come in for his first appearance of the season. He is joined by Corey Shephard who starts his first game for Keys at outside half, as he impressed from the bench last week.
The changes in the pack see Lewis Smout swap places with Corey Hewlett to start in the front row. Tom Lampard returns to the second row following his knee injury as he replaces Dan Mock, and 17 year old Taine Basham starts in the back row for the first time after a couple of impressive showings as a replacement, he replaces Liam Davies at blindside flanker. Keys are once again captained by Adam Powell who makes his 150th competitive appearance for the club but regular captain Scott Matthews is named on a strong looking bench following his injury sustained at Merthyr on the opening day of the season.
The Cross Keys side in full for Saturday’s game is:-
15. Josh Prosser
14. Mathew Powell
13. Leon Andrews
12. Barney Nightingale
11. Lloyd Lewis
10. Corey Shephard
9. James Leadbeater
1. Lewis Smout
2. Rob Jones
3. Richard Cornock
4. Tom Lampard
5. Josh Skinner
6. Taine Basham
7. Joe Thomas
8. Adam Powell (c)
Replacements: 16. Will Griffiths, 17. Corey Hewlett, 18. Gary Carpenter, 19. Liam Davies, 20. Scott Matthews, 21. Phil Williams, 22. Owain Leonard, 23. Nathan Trowbridge.
Pontypridd v Cross Keys Principality Premiership East
Date: Saturday 30th September 2017
Venue: Sardis Road, Pontypridd
Kick Off: 2.30pm