The Ospreys Premiership Select suffered a narrow loss to Bedford Blues at the Talbot Athletic Ground in Round 5 of the British & Irish Cup on Friday evening.
Both sides struggled to gain the upper hand in the first half with a strong wind having a major impact on the game.
Building up the phases in the Ospreys half, a penalty for an offside left Bedford with the first shot at the scoreboard, Harry Sheppard with the penalty to take the visitors 0-3 ahead, just shy of the 20 minute mark.
The Ospreys first opportunity came from the restart, after an initial break by Morgan Morris found them charging their way upfield and a nice offload to Joe Thomas took the centre closer to the 22. Kicking to touch for an offside, the Ospreys were in a strong attacking position, only for a knock on at the lineout to hand the ball back to Bedford.
But an overthrow in Bedford’s lineout, nicely found its way into Ospreys hands to put the home side back in control. A clean break from centre Rhys Williams saw the Ospreys make headway once again, but, again, a knock on gave Bedford back the opportunity to clear.
A dangerous tackle by Matthew Dodd resulted in a yellow card just before the half time whistle leaving Bedford with a penalty to kick the ball out of play.
Half Time - Ospreys Premiership Select 0-3 Bedford Blues
Despite being a man short the Ospreys were soon level, Luke Price opting for the posts to put the Ospreys on the scoreboard and even the scores at 3-3 after Bedford were penalised for holding on.
Wanting to keep Bedford out of their own half whilst still being reduced to 14 men, the Ospreys defence held well, and a strong forward effort forced a penalty against their opponents to put the home side back in possession. Price slotted another three points to take the Ospreys ahead 6-3.
But just before the Ospreys were back up to full contingent, Bedford broke their way through the defence to take play into their hosts half. The young side did well to keep them off the tryline, but with an advantage in hand, Will Hooley opted for a chip over the top to scrum-half Jordan Burns who raced over in the corner for the game’s first try. The conversion fell just shy of the posts but Bedford were two points ahead at 6-8 with 30 minutes left on the clock.
Back up to 15 men, the Ospreys were keen to take back their lead and Price kicked three points from half way to nudge the Ospreys back ahead.
But just like before, Bedford were quick to hit back, working their way through the phases again, before a driving maul drove its way over the line. Michael Le Bourgeois with the grounding and Hooley with the conversion to take Bedford 9-15 ahead.
Forced to play catch up, the Ospreys defence held up strong, but with penalties stacking up against the home side, the referee handed a yellow card to Rhys Williams for not rolling away, reducing the Ospreys to 14 men once again.
However, Bedford struggled to gain the upper hand despite the one man advantage.
A loose pass in attack in the Ospreys 22, was nicely spotted by Price and kicked back upfield. A good chase from the fly-half saw him come within touching distance of the tryline only to be stopped just before he could ground the ball.
A scrum penalty saw Price slot another three to which meant the deficit was three points with just under 10 minutes left to play.
But in the closing stages of the game, Bedford were able to take control. Protecting the ball, and closing the game out as the clock turned red, denying the Ospreys Premiership Select the win.
Speaking after the game, head coach Tom Smith said:
“Obviously we’re disappointed again being the wrong side of the scoreboard. We asked the boys before the game to be competitive and they were. We fought for every little scrap, but a little bit of ill-discipline right at the end of the first half and start of the second cost us. I think we improved in the second half but we were playing catch up for much of it.
“What was pleasing was the way we dug in and kept fighting throughout. Maybe it could’ve gone differently had thing gone our way. It was pleasing overall and we still have the one game left to try and get the right side of the scoreboard.”