25 Oct Team to face Pontypridd (H)
Bridgend Ravens welcome Pontypridd to the Morganstone Brewery Field on Saturday afternoon, looking to get back on track following defeat at Llandovery last time out.
Bridgend’s season has been a mixed bag to date. In the league, there was an agonising opening day defeat to Aberavon (26pts to 27) before a fine victory over Merthyr (17pts to 12). The Ravens last outing saw them battle for long periods with an experienced Llandovery side. Trailing just 14pts to 6 at half time, the Drovers took the game away from Bridgend with a 20 minute spell of terror. Bridgend didn’t lie down and deservedly scored a consolation late on through Jack Pope. Steve Jones and his charges know that they’ll need to be better when the Sardis Road men head to the Brewery this weekend.
Pontypridd have won two and lost two so far in this season’s Indigo Premiership. They opened their league account with a last minute defeat at the Cardiff Arms Park to Cardiff by 24pts to 23. They followed it up with a home win over Carmarthen Quins 20pts to 17. An away defeat at RGC followed 26pts to 8 before a return to winning ways at home to Ebbw Vale, 32pts to 25.
Games between the sides are seldom boring affairs. Last year, Pontypridd won the fixture at the Morganstone Brewery Field by 44pts to 35. Bridgend turned the tide to come out victorious at Sardis by 34pts to 31; a victory that secured their Premiership status for this season. The game the previous season was another humdinger; finishing 38pts to 37 in favour of Pontypridd thanks to a late comeback.
With Bridgend’s resources tested due to a growing injury list, Steve Jones is able to call upon some additional bodies, ready to do battle over the coming weeks as they look to kick start their season. Dewi Cross, who has featured for the Ospreys Development side of late, comes back into contention to add to the regional academy players of Brad Roderick, Garin Lloyd and Travis Huntley who have all impressed in their early days with Bridgend.
The squad selected by the coaches sees 17 players involved from Bridgend’s local partner sides. The back three comprises Owen Howe, Andrew Evans and Dewi Cross. Stuart Floyd Ellis and Nathan Edwards are selected again in midfield, with the returning Jamie Murphy alongside Chris Williams at half back.
Owen Jordan is selected in a front row with Iestyn Merriman and Ben Warren. Last week’s Man of the Match, Jack Pope moves into the second row with Ben Jones. Travis Huntley makes his first Bridgend Ravens start in the back row with Joseph Grabham and Dafi Davies.
Bridgend XV: 15. Owen Howe 14. Dewi Cross 13. Stuart Floyd Ellis 12. Nathan Edwards (capt) 11. Andrew Evans 10. Jamie Murphy 9. Chris Williams
1. Owen Jordan 2. Iestyn Merriman 3. Ben Warren 4. Jack Pope 5. Ben Jones 6. Travis Huntley 7. Joseph Grabham 8. Dafi Davies
Replacements: 16. Garin Lloyd 17. Rhodri Apsee 18. Adam Court 19. James Little 20. Will Barraclough 21. Dan James 22. Jacob Chilcott 23. Brad Roderick