North Wales Rugby Previews

Reporter:

Daniel Heald

FLINT captain Mitch Martin believes Saturday’s game at Machynlleth will offer a measure of his side’s progress this term.

Beaten convincingly in both of their meetings last season, Martin insists Flint head into the game in ‘much better shape’ this time.

The clubs have made a similar start to the campaign with just a point separating them in the Division Three North standings.

And, despite a 31-0 home defeat at Nant Conwy seconds in the WRU Bowl , Martin has been encouraged by what he has seen from his side so far.

He said: “Without sounding defeatist we expected a very strong Nant Conwy side to come to our place and cause us problems.

“It was always going to be tough for us but we showed a lot of resilience particularly in the first 40 minutes, with most of their points coming in the second half.

“You have to take the positives from that kind of game and learn from it and so we’re in a pretty good place going to Machynlleth.

“They beat us home and away last season but I feel like we’ve improved a lot since then and can go there to play much more competitively.

“I believe we can get a positive result there, but win or lose hopefully our performance will show us how much we’ve progressed as a side since we last played them.”

Father and son will line-up together for Flint with veteran tighthead Dai Goss coming in to strengthen the scrum, while son Damian comes in at number 10.

Basement side Rhos return to league action with a home fixture against Benllech, with the hosts aiming to give a run out to new recruit Joshua Roberts, a visiting pastor from the United States.

Roberts was introduced to rugby union over the summer but his first start was delayed by a knee injury picked up in training.

Mold seconds visit Holyhead pursuing their first win of the season, while Pwllheli seconds go to Menai Bridge and Denbigh seconds go to Nant Conwy seconds.

In Division One, fifth-placed Mold travel to The Morfa to take on an injury-hit Caernarfon side.

Ben Grundy’s team have made the most of the strength of their forwards this term and will look to avenge their narrow 18-16 reverse by the Cofis last season.

League leaders Pwllheli host Llangefni, Nant Conwy go to Bethesda, Bala visit Llandudno, Ruthin host Dolgellau, while Bro Ffestiniog head to Colwyn Bay.

In Division Two, Shotton Steel officials have denied reports the club is set to leave its Rowley’s Drive home permanently.

A post on the club’s social media pages announced that last weekend’s home win against Pwllheli would be the last at their home ground ahead of a move elsewhere.

But chairman Alan Leamon insists that the Steelmen’s plans to use the playing fields at Queensferry’s John Summers High School for home games is a ‘temporary measure’.

The club have been permitted to use the fields at the high school, which closed last month, until facilities at Rowley’s Drive are upgraded to meet WRU regulation.

Leamon said: “This is not going to be a permanent move away from Rowley’s Drive at all.

“The WRU constitution requires clubs to have on-site changing rooms, which we don’t currently have at Rowley’s Drive.

“We have acquired a two-year lease of the playing fields at the John Summer’s site, but there are no plans at all to leave Rowley’s Drive permanently.”

Buoyed by their impressive 43-10 WRU Bowl win against Denbigh, Wrexham return to league action at home to Cobra.

Wrexham can leapfrog Llanidloes into fourth place with a win over a Cobra side relegated from League One last term.

Elsewhere, Llangollen host Llanidloes, Abergele visit Newtown, Welshpool head to Rhyl and Bangor host Denbigh. 

Email:

daniel.heald@nwn.co.uk

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