The long summer wait will end on Saturday as Cross Keys host Newport in
the opening fixture of the 2013/2014 season. Unusually the season kicks
off with the first of a potential two play off fixtures for a place in
this season's British & Irish Cup.
The winners on Saturday will go through to face Bedwas at the Bridge Field on September 7th to determine who goes through to be one of Wales' four sides in the British & Irish Cup. The winner of the Bedwas play off will go through to Group 1 alongside Ealing, Moseley and last season's champions Leinster 'A'.
The Keys and Newport met in last season's British & Irish Cup with the black and ambers winning 24 points to 20 at Pandy Park in October 2012 and then a 27 all draw being played out at Rodney Parade in January of this year. The Keys scorers in the defeat at Pandy Park were a try by Elliot Jones and a penalty try both converted by Dorian Jones who also added two penalties. Newport's points came from a Craig Atwell try and a penalty try with Scott Sneddon kicking a conversion and 4 penalties. At Newport Dean Gunter, Aled James, Ryan James and a penalty try together with 2 Dean Gunter conversions and a Gareth David penalty made up Keys points, whilst the home side scored tries through Elliott Frewen, Dafydd Rosser & Tyler Morgan with Geraint O'Driscoll and Tom Hancock kicked 4 penalties between them. Neither side was able to progress from the group stage and that was always going to be an uphill struggle given that pre-tournament favourites Newcastle were drawn in the same group.
So the new season brings plenty of hope, expectation and above all else excitement and what better way to start than with a Gwent derby to ultimately play off for a place in the tournament where Keys remain the only Welsh side to have made the final.
Cross Keys v Newport British & Irish Cup Playoff
Date: 31st August 2013
Kick off: 2.30pm
Venue: Pandy Park, Cross Keys