Friday, 18 October 2013

Swalec Championship Weekend Predictions

We move into the seventh week of the Swalec Championship this weekend with only one side still with a 100% record intact, defending champions Ebbw Vale who will be hoping to make it 7/7 when they host new boys Tondu.

Meanwhile, there are some tasty encounters with third placed Llanharan entertaining local rivals Beddau in what is always a tasty affair.
Elsewhere, RGC 1404 will be hoping to pick up their maiden home win of the season when they host Newbridge while Pontypool’s visit to Narberth should be a cracking match up.
Bargoed v Bridgend Athletic
Even at this early stage of the season, Bargoed currently sit 11 points behind title favourites Ebbw Vale and if last season’s runners up are to challenge at the summit they must pick up bonus point wins in home matches such as these.
Bargoed left it late to see off Cardiff Met last weekend but have been steadily improving and after all, they have only lost two games - against Ebbw Vale and away at Narberth - but if they are to realise their title ambitions they will have to continue to improve.
The visitors to Bargoed Park on Saturday are Bridgend Athletic who currently sit second from bottom and have only claimed one win in their six starts. I think this could be another tough afternoon for the Newbridge Field outfit.
Verdict- Bargoed by 15 points
 Bonymaen v Tata Steel
Basement boys Bonymaen were well beaten last weekend at Newbridge but if they are to move off the bottom they need to start picking up points at home. However, Tata Steel will be looking to bounce back from their defeat at home to Llanharan last weekend and I expect a strong performance from the Saints.
Verdict- Tata Steel by 10 points
 Cardiff Met v Blackwood
The Students haven’t recorded a win since September 21 and the Cyncoed outfit will still be annoyed at conceding late to lose out against Bargoed last week, but I think they will return to winning ways tomorrow.
Blackwood have struggled so far this season with their only win coming at fellow strugglers Bonymaen. They ran Narberth close last weekend but I think the Students will have too much for their visitors tomorrow.
Verdict- Cardiff Met by 15 points
Ebbw Vale v Tondu
Jason Strange’s troops have already notched up a commanding advantage of eight points at the top of the league and the scary thing is the Steelmen really haven’t hit top gear yet. Their win at Pontypool was a nail-biting affair, but the defending Champions came out on top against their nearest rivals in the table without playing all that well.
Tondu are the next on the Gwent side’s hit list and with this being the Waterwheelers' first trip to Eugene Cross Park, I’m sure they will be in for a warm welcome - I feel it may be just a case of damage limitation for the Bridgend side.
Verdict- Ebbw Vale by 20 points
 Llanharan v Beddau
This local derby produced a few entertaining fixtures last year - and a number of cards as well! - and I would expect another high octane encounter tomorrow.
The Dairymen’s Codey Rees is the league’s top points scorer and if the fly-half is firing on all cylinders tomorrow, I expect the hosts to notch up their fifth victory.
The Green and Golds have had a mixed start to the season, winning three but also losing three, and did show character to hold off Bridgend Athletic last weekend. I think they may well get a losing bonus point out of tomorrow’s match up.
Verdict- Llanharan by 7 points
 Narberth v Pontypool
The Otters always pose a formidable challenge at home and I think this is the match of the day. Ianto Griffiths has been a good acquisition for the West Walians and his kicking from the tee could prove pivotal tomorrow in what will be difficult, wet and windy conditions.
Pooler look a totally different outfit today than from a year ago where they were leaking tries left, right and centre. The Gwent side were unlucky not to get more out of their clash with Ebbw Vale but I think they might just come up short tomorrow.
Verdict- Narberth by 3 points
RGC 104 v Newbridge
The North Wales side continue to adjust to life in the Championship and they will be desperate to record their first win at Parc Eirias tomorrow. They are a young side and probably the best supported team in the division and have been a great addition to the league.
Newbridge clinically dispatched Bonymaen last week but a face a long journey up North, and although they will undoubtedly give their hosts a tough game, I think it will be the home side to come away with the points tomorrow.
Verdict- RGC 1404 by 6 points


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