Premiership clubs step up their preparations
GWENT’S Premiership clubs step up their preparations for the coming campaign when they take on English opposition this afternoon.
Both Newport and Cross Keys take on clubs from the West Midlands, the former travelling to Moseley and the latter welcoming Coventry to Pandy Park.
The Black and Ambers were given a good work out at Bargoed last weekend, eventually overcoming a side that will be challenging for the Championship title 26-24.
It promises to be another welcome challenge at Billesley Common (kick-off 3pm) against a Moseley side captained by former Ospreys lock Mike Powell, whose confrontation with new Newport captain Lee Beach promises to be a spicy one.
The Black and Ambers pick a strong pack with Adam Brown, who like Beach signed from London Welsh at the end of last season, partnering Dafydd Rosser in the second row.
Cross Keys have racked up the points in pre-season successes against Blackwood (twice) and Merthyr.
Today they take on a Coventry side (kick-off 2.30pm) coached by former Dragons second row Scott Morgan and boast ex-Rodney Parade players Matthew Jones and Tim Ryan in their ranks.
Keys have named a strong side as they continue to prepare for the August 31 British and Irish Cup play-off against Newport.
The Pandy Park outfit have plenty of options in the back row and have plumped for a combative triumvirate of new signing Reuben Tucker, openside and captain Rob Nash and number eight Adam Powell.
Bedwas will play the first of their four pre-season fixtures against Henley Hawks of National One (kick-off 2.30pm).
The Bridge Field outfit’s first competitive game is on September 7 against the victors of the Cross Keys-Newport play-off.
Steve Law’s side, who finished a highly creditable fourth in the Premiership last term, build to that game with fixtures against Bargoed (August 21), Newbridge (August 24) and Tondu (August 29).
The hosts will feature a raft of Dragons (see right) while the visitors’ squad includes new signing Alan Awcock, who scored 34 tries in 77 appearances for Newport.
# Islwyn Under-15s take on Pontypool Under-15s in a curtain-raiser before the Keys-Coventry clash at Pandy Park (kick-off 12pm).