Mixed friendly fortunes for Gwent Premiership sides

First published in Gwent Rugby
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NEWPORT and Ebbw Vale suffered pre-season defeats but Bedwas enjoyed an away success as the Gwent sides continue preparations for their crunch British and Irish Cup qualifiers, writes Chris Kirwan.

The Black and Ambers had enjoyed friendly successes against Bargoed and Blackheath but found Ealing Trailfinders, who are aiming to bounce back to the English Championship, too strong.

The hosts fielded former Newport players Alex Walker and Arthur Ellis along with ex-Dragons tighthead Nathan Buck as they won their first game on their new plastic pitch 43-19.

Full-back Geraint O'Driscoll and wing Owen Broad (2) scored tries for the Black and Ambers, who were forced to include all four hookers in their matchday squad.

They will hope to reap the rewards of a tough workout when they take on Bedwas at Bridge Field on Saturday, August 30.

The winners of that clash will take on either Cross Keys or Ebbw Vale the following weekend for the right to represent Gwent against Cornish Pirates, Doncaster and Bedford in the British and Irish Cup.

Ebbw Vale went down 21-18 to Moseley in their pre-season clash at Abertillery RFC.

Iain Smerdon booted all of the Steelmen's points with five penalties and a drop goal but the West Midlanders scored a pair of tries to edge a bruising encounter.

Bedwas won on their travels to Henley Hawks, triumphing 40-33 in a conditioning match that featured three 25-minute periods and another of 40 minutes.

The Bridge Field side take on Cross Keys in a friendly at Caerphilly County Borough Centre for Sporting Excellence in Ystrad Mynach on Thursday (kick-off 7.15pm).

Gwent's Premiership quartet take part in the Foster's National Sevens at BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park on Sunday.

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