On Monday, on a cool, still evening the Ospreys Amateur Rugby Team entertained the Scarlet South at Corus RFC. It was a good chance for both sides to play exciting, open rugby, which they duly did. At the end of a fast and furious first half the home team
led 24-5 by virtue of their ability to turn opportunities into points.
They took the lead after 2 minutes when, following a break by Andrew Banfield ( Loughor ), the ball was moved right and Rhodri Thomas (Trebanos ) scored after some slick passing. Scarlets countered after this setback and were only prevented from scoring by 2 excellent 1-on-1 tackles by Banfield.
Ospreys extended their lead after 9 minutes with a try by loose-head prop Sean Donovan(Pencoed), who charged down a defensive clearance, recovered the ball and crashed over (shades of Gethin Jenkins a year ago). Scarlets again rallied and were only denied by more stirring Ospreys defence.
Andrew Penhale(Trebanos) scored the next 2 Osprey tries after 17 and 22 minutes. On both occasions he was able to finish off well-created overlaps showing plenty of pace to get past the covering defence. Outside-half Nathan Healey(Nantyffyllon), who had controlled the game well, converted 2 of the 4 tries.
The Scarlets did get onto the scoreboard after 28 minutes with a try by hardworking flanker Paul Rees(Felinfoel), who was driven over following a series of penalties that triggered Scarlet pressure. The half continued to be exciting and, just before half-time, left-wing Gareth Kingman(Glyncorrwg) was held up over the Scarlets line following another flowing move.
The 2nd half started with both sides making several changes and the game did not have the same ebb and flow. Ospreys extended their lead with a try by replacement loose-head prop Alan Gant(Corus), following a break by Peter Smiriglia(Loughor), who offloaded well to his support. The game went quiet for a while before Dan James(Bonymaen) was held up short of the Scarlets line following a long kick and good chase.
In the last 5 minutes both sides scored a try each with Ospreys the first to strike through fly-half Healey, who jinked over from close range after some good close range mauling by the forwards. He also converted both 2nd half tries to finish with 13 points.
The Scarlets struck back immediately with a try from left-wing Mathew Jacobs(Llangennech), who scored under the posts when he received an excellent long pass after a series of close range attacks by the forwards. The try was converted to make the final score 38-12 to the Ospreys.
Performances of note came from Banfield, Thomas, scrum-half Gavin Hooper(Seven Sisters), Flanker Ryan Turner(Nantyffyllon) and Gant after his introduction. For the Scarlets centre Jonathan Morgan(Llangennech) ran well and hard, flanker Stuart Tyrie( Tenby) was a tireless ball-carrier and both wings showed plenty of pace.
This game was an excellent advertisement for ‘Amateur Rugby’ as it was played at a high tempo and with high skill levels.The players on both teams are to be congratulated on providing the spectators with a feast of open rugby. A number of players who were on view in this fixture will not be in the ‘Amateur ‘ game for long.