06 Sep Team to face Aberavon (H)
Bridgend Ravens welcome Aberavon to the Morganstone Brewery Field on Friday evening in the first Indigo Premiership match of the season (7:30pm).
It’s set to be an emotional occasion as Bridgend remembers one of its finest ever servants. Club Chairman Derrick King passed away on Sunday and the club will remember him prior to Friday’s game. Those picked to represent the club during the game will doubtlessly do Derrick proud.
The Ravens head into the opening weekend on the back of a 41pts to 7 derby victory over Maesteg Harlequins last weekend. The coaches cast their eye over 30 players during the game, with the Championship outfit providing a stern test for Steve Jones’ side. Prior to this, their only other game was a reverse to fully professional Doncaster. It’s been a summer of transition on and off the field for the Ravens, but the signs are promising as they head into another top flight campaign.
Aberavon wrapped up their preparations with a 19-19 draw with Llandovery at the Talbot Athletic Ground. This followed a win over Dinas Powys and victory in the Aberavon Green Stars 7s tournament. The Wizards have had another strong summer in the transfer market, adding experienced Premiership campaigners Aled Thomas, Chay Smith and Lloyd Evans to their ranks amongst others.
The sides met twice last season, with one win apiece. At the Morganstone Brewery Field, it was Bridgend who triumphed 16pts to 13 thanks to a last minute Jamie Murphy drop goal. At the Talbot Athletic Ground, it was the turn of the Wizards to come out on top by 27pts to 20. Bridgend have won the last two games between the sides at the Morganstone Brewery Field – and three of the last four games at all venues.
Bridgend Ravens’ squad again comprises of a majority of local players, continuing the club’s proud record of giving opportunity to the best talent in the borough. The back three sees Owen Howe join try hungry Mike Powell and Andrew Evans, who crossed the whitewash twice and for a hattrick last weekend respectively. Livewire Stuart Floyd Ellis pairs up with the captain in the centre, with the experienced pair of Jamie Murphy and Chris Williams at half back.
In the pack, Ben Mayers Davies, Gareth Harvey, Ben Jones and Rhys Forse all get an opportunity to get one over on their former employers. They are joined by Owen Jordan, Jack Pope, Adam O’Driscoll and Jordan Collier.
If he comes off the bench, Iestyn Merriman will make his 100th appearance for Bridgend Ravens.
Bridgend Ravens XV:
15. Owen Howe (Maesteg Quins)
14. Mike Powell (Bridgend Athletic)
13. Stuart Floyd Ellis (Bridgend Athletic)
12. Nathan Edwards (capt) (Maesteg Quins)
11. Andrew Evans (Douglas IOM RFC)
10. Jamie Murphy (Pencoed)
9. Chris Williams (Llanharan)
1. Owen Jordan (Glynneath)
2. Gareth Harvey (Kenfig Hill)
3. Rhys Forse (Dinas Powys)
4. Jack Pope (Pencoed)
5. Ben Jones (Kenfig Hill)
6. Ben Mayers Davies (Bonymaen)
7. Adam O’Driscoll (Heol y Cyw)
8. Jordan Collier (Tonmawr)
Replacements: 16. Iestyn Merriman (Bridgend Athletic) 17. Rhodri Apsee (Bridgend Athletic) 18. Adam Court (Pontyclun) 19. James Little (Llantrisant) 20. Will Barraclough (Bridgend Athletic) 21. Dan James (Bridgend Athletic) 22. Ryan Evans (Llanharan) 23. Tyler Williams (St Joseph’s)