Friday, 25 October 2013

Swalec Championship Weekend Predictions

Bridgend Athletic recorded only their second win of the season last weekend when they were the surprise 29-27 winners away at Bargoed.

They host Llanharan at The Newbridge Fields this weekend with the Dairymen looking to close the 11-point gap on leaders Ebbw Vale.

The Steelmen are away at local rivals Newbridge as their hunt for promotion looks almost unstoppable.

With the weather taking a turn for the worst this week, we have our first casualty as Pontypool’s fixture with Cardiff Met has been called off.

Beddau v Bonymaen

Bonymaen were ever so close to pulling themselves from the foot of the table last week but a narrow 19-17 loss to Tata Steel ensures they remain at the bottom for at least another seven days. Beddau lost away at local rivals Llanharan 17-8 but in truth the score line could have been much greater if it was not for some simple mistakes and poor decision making on Llanharan’s behalf. Bonymaen will be desperate to gain their second win of the campaign to avoid the dreaded drop but I don’t think it will come tomorrow against a Green and Gold’s outfit who have blown hot and cold so far this season.

Verdict – Beddau by 7 points.

Blackwood v Bargoed

Surprisingly, Blackwood are only two points ahead of basement boys Bonymaen in the Swalec Championship and are really struggling. Despite heavy defeats to Ebbw Vale and RGC 1404, the Glan-Yr-Afon Park outfit have been competitive in all of their games even with a large injury list so should eventually have enough to pull themselves out of a relegation dogfight. Bargoed are also suffering with a full treatment room and results are showing as much.  Many thought they would be the side to push favourites Ebbw Vale all the way but thus far we are yet to see why. They will need a good run of results to climb up the table and will hope for a start when they travel to Blackwood.

Verdict – Bargoed by 10 points.

Bridgend Athletic v Llanharan

After last Saturday’s heroics, Bridgend Athletic will be brimming with confidence heading into this fixture. They will be hoping that the much needed and well deserved victory at Bargoed can kick start their poor early form. But they come up against an in-form outfit in Llanharan who boast a tenacious forward pack as well as the league’s top point’s scorer in fly-half Codey Rees. They only won 17-8 at home to Beddau last weekend but the players, coaches and supporters will wonder how considering the opportunities they squandered to make the score line much greater. The Dairymen currently sit second in the table and will likely win comfortably against their opponents.

Verdict – Llanharan by 11 points.

Newbridge v Ebbw Vale

The Steelmen once again picked up another bonus-point victory in their comprehensive 39-6 win over Tondu while once again resting some key personnel. Jason Strange’s men are 11-points clear at the top of the Swalec Championship and I personally believe that the gap is only going to get bigger. Newbridge have had an inconsistent season so far and became the first team to lose to RGC 1404 at their Parc Eirias ground last weekend. Even with the extra motivation they will have with the league leaders coming to The Welfare Ground, I cannot see anything other than an Ebbw Vale result.

Verdict – Ebbw Vale by 18 points.

Tata Steel v RGC 1404

This could be a bruising 80 minutes as both teams will feel their heavy pack can dominate their opponents. RGC 1404 kicked their losing habit at home in their previous game against Newbridge so will feel relieved to have finally won in North Wales. They will hope their great away form can continue whilst turning Parc Eirias into a fortress. Tata Steel only just scraped by with a win against Bonymaen last weekend so will hope for an all-round better performance against their North Walian visitors. This could be a highlight of this weekend’s fixtures and I am going to go with a very narrow RGC win.

Verdict – RGC 1404 by 2 points.

Tondu v Narberth

The Waterwheelers put up a determined show against Ebbw Vale last Saturday and the 39-6 score line does not do justice to the commitment and effort shown by the players throughout the 80 minutes. Narberth were impressive and claimed a superb win over Pontypool to extend their unbeaten run to four games. I think as the season goes on Tondu may struggle with life in their debut season in the Championship but that is not for the lack of trying. They will need to start winning their home games if they are to survive and will be confident when the Otters visit tomorrow. I think it will be close but Narberth will have too much.

Verdict – Narberth by 8 points.


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