Bridgend Ravens travel to Aberavon on Saturday afternoon to kick
off the 2017/2018 Principality Premiership West Campaign (2:30pm).
Bridgend’s pre-season campaign climaxed with an impressive double over Barnes RFC and Redingensians Rams in a round-robin competition in Reading last weekend. This followed a 12-12 draw at Championship new-boys Trebanos. The coaches have taken the opportunity to take a look at some more local talent throughout these games, as well as integrating some new (and familiar!) faces into the squad.
Aberavon, runners up in last season’s Principality Premiership have had a mixed pre-season themselves. A hefty 64-7 reverse at Cornish Pirates was atoned for with a 95-0 demolition of Sheffield Eagles at the Talbot Athletic Ground. Aberavon’s impressive attacking style plundering them 15 tries as they warmed up in style for the visit of their Ospreylian rivals.
Encounters between the sides are always memorable, open encounters. They met three times last campaign, with the Wizards prevailing on two occasions. The other, an impressive 41-31 victory for Bridgend at the Bridgend Ford Brewery Field helped the Ravens into the Foster’s Challenge Cup semi-finals.
Bridgend name a mixture of youth and experience in their match-day squad. New signings Ed Doe and Gareth Harvey make their competitive debuts for the club with Owen Jordan and Kieran Martin hoping to do the same from the replacements bench.
In the backs, Doe and Ryan Griffiths are joined by former-Wizard Mike Powell. Nathan Edwards makes his second debut for Bridgend, partnering Jamie Murphy in midfield. Joseph Scrivens and Will Baird pair up at half back.
Another former Aberavon stalwart, Gareth Harvey packs down alongside Cai Lewis and Rhodri Apsee in the front row. Having ended last season in fine form with Bridgend, Chris John and Jack Pope are the selection at second row. Tom Morgan, Adam O’Driscoll and Ashton Evans comprise the back row.
Club captain, Zac O’Driscoll makes a return to the competitive squad, taking his place amongst the replacements.
Bridgend Ravens XV:
15. Ed Doe 14. Ryan Griffiths 13. Nathan Edwards 12. Jamie Murphy (capt) 11. Michael Powell 10. Joseph Scrivens 9. Will Baird 1. Rhodri Apsee 2. Gareth Harvey 3. Cai Lewis 4. Jack Pope 5. Chris John 6. Tom Morgan 7. Adam O’Driscoll 8. Ashton Evans
16. Iestyn Merriman 17. Owen Jordan 18. Garyn Daniel 19. Kieran Martin 20. Zac O’Driscoll 21. Connor Tantum 22. Ryan Evans 23. Tyler Williams