Friday, 4 October 2013

Principality Premiership Weekend Predictions

As we enter October in the Welsh Premiership there are only two teams that have been hitting all the right notes so far. Title favourites Pontypridd predictably lead the charge at the summit, while Carmarthen Quins have also impressed, but both teams face tricky matches tomorrow. 
At the other end of the table, three sides are still desperately trying to notch up their maiden wins, and with relegation looming over everyone’s heads, there may be a few alarm bells ringing for supporters whose sides are seemingly singing from the wrong song sheet.

Bridgend v Aberavon
Bridgend will be hoping they can sort out their defensive frailties when they welcome the Wizards to the Brewery Field in this Ospreylian showdown. The Ravens have yet to win a game and lost to Aberavon in the final round of qualifying for the BIC, but having said that, their visitors are only just above them in the table with a single win to their name.
So who will be celebrating come 4.15 tomorrow? I think this will be a close match but, with home advantage, Bridgend should do just enough to bag their first success of the season.
Verdict- Bridgend by 3 points
 Carmarthen Quins v Cross Keys
Quins have been the surprise package so far this season and head into this match 4/4 - I’ve seen them twice already this campaign and have been impressed by their direct style of play, with big ball carriers hitting up the middle as well as exhibiting some execution out-wide. The Keys’ only loss this term has come at the hands of Pontypridd and they really blew the Drovers away last week in the opening half.
I think this will be a real humdinger of an encounter and don’t see much between the two sides, but with Quins high on confidence and in the familiar surroundings of Carmarthen Park, I think they should continue their unbeaten run.
Verdict- Carmarthen Quins by 6 points
 Llandovery v Pontypridd
This time last season the Drovers were flying and running in tries for fun; they haven’t quite set the league alive so far this year, but they will be more than up for the defending champions' visit. Lyndon Lewis’ men have had a number of close games in recent times against the Valley Commandos but haven’t yet been able to land that killer blow. Ponty were always going to be strong this season and the fact they have essentially fielded three different teams already really shows their strength in depth. Dale McIntosh makes 13 changes from their win at Newport, where the scoreline flattered the Valley Commandos slightly, but whatever side they field they are a constant nuisance at the breakdown and possess the quality out-wide to hurt.
The Drovers will undoubtedly give Ponty a good test at Church Bank but I don’t see their prayers being answered.
Verdict- Pontypridd by 7 points
 Neath v Cardiff
I watched Neath play in the BIC qualifier against Bridgend and thought they would struggle this season. Although they dominated that match, they conspired to lose and really struggled behind to create anything. Cardiff, who did not have a season to sing about last term, have looked sharp so far this campaign and considering this will be their fourth match on the road, I think Martyn Fowler will be happy with where his side are in the table.
I know it’s premature to start looking towards the end of the season and possible relegation candidates, but if Neath are to not be stuck in a battle at the bottom they need to start winning their matches at the Gnoll. That said, I don’t see them getting anything out of tomorrow’s match.
Verdict- Cardiff by 9 points.
 Newport v Swansea
The Black and Ambers are the current basement boys in the league but they were unlucky to get nothing out of their match at Sardis Road last Sunday. I think Newport will take a lot of positives out of that encounter, and if they continue to replicate a similar level of performance they should soon bag their first win. By anyone’s standards, Swansea were disappointing last term. But Mefin Davies’ men have a bit of an edge to them this season and although they have only bagged one win, they pushed both Cross Keys and Carmarthen Quins close. I think this should be quite an entertaining affair but I think Sven Cronk’s men will sneak it.
Verdict- Newport by 5 points
 Bedwas v Llanelli
The televised match this week sees Bedwas - who were my stand out team of last season - up against Llanelli, with a slightly later than usual kick off time of 4.15pm at the Bridge Field.
Steve Law’s troops notched up their maiden win last week, and with Richard Powell kicking well, if Llanelli don’t keep their discipline on Sunday the prolific fly-half will undoubtedly punish them.
Llanelli, who played out a 13 try thriller last week with Bridgend, will be hoping to produce the same attacking menace while perhaps tightening up their defence. In my opinion, Llanelli have the most attack-minded and exciting back line in the Premiership, and if Bedwas don’t keep it tight they could be in a bit of trouble.
Verdict- Llanelli by 6 points


Post a Comment