After the success of last season the Young Ospreys always knew that this season would prove to be a massive challenge.
However, going four matches without tasting success was unprecedented territory for the group and therefore a narrow success (13 points to 7) against the Dragons last night (Tuesday) was a much needed uplift.
Both sides were without key players due to Academy testing this week but for the first twenty minutes of the game it didn't seem like there was anyone missing from a Young Osprey perspective, The team and in particular scrum half Chris Morgan ensured that there was a creative structure and high tempo to the match. This tempo was too much for the Dragons to cope with at times, but to their credit some desperate defence and a lack of composure by the Young Ospreys at key moments, ensured that they were never able to rattle up enough points to dishearten their opponents.
Outside half Dane Clancy opened the scoring for the Young Ospreys with a penalty and then Morgan scored a superb individual try. The Young Osprey scrum had been wheeled and was under pressure when he picked up and skilfully evaded the back row defence to sprint 30 metres and score between the posts; Clancy converted. Unfortunately, the Young Ospreys lacked composure in many of opportunities that they created later and could not add to the scoreline which was 10 points to nil at halftime.
The second half was very much like the first in that the Young Ospreys couldn't take advantage of the opportunities that came their way, however, they did manage to increase their lead to 13 points when replacement outside half Tom Cole kicked a 40 metre penalty. The Dragons to their credit never gave up and eventually they were rewarded for their endeavour when replacement scrum half Shaun Watkins scored a try which outside half Gavin Ashman converted.
The non committed supporter may have been excused for thinking there was no likelihood of the Dragons stealing a victory, however, with the poor run of performances that have blighted the Young Ospreys in the last month those committed supporters were on tender hooks.
Attention now turns to the under 18's tonight (Wednesday) when they host the Scarlets at St Helens, Swansea with a 7.15pm kick off. The Scarlets are unbeaten after two draws with the other Regions, while the Young Ospreys will want to put to bed an under par performance against the Blues.