Ospreys bosses have hailed the decision to move last weekend’s Guinness PRO14 clash with Connacht to Bridgend a success on and off the field.
An attendance of over 5,000 was treated to a thrilling finale as the Ospreys secured a bonus point over Conference A rivals Connacht courtesy of a last minute try from Dan Evans.
The Ospreys had led 17-3 inside the final quarter after an early double from Keelan Giles and a PRO14 debut try by Harri Morgan, but Connacht hit back to level it at 17-all before the TMO confirmed Evans’ score with time up to send supporters home happy.
Despite having hosted 10 previous matches at the Morganstone Brewery Field, it was the first time that the Ospreys had played a championship fixture away from the Liberty Stadium since its opening in 2005.
Managing Director, Andrew Millward, said it had been great to see both the local community and regular Ospreys supporters get behind the night, after a fixture clash with the Swans at the Liberty led to the change.
“We are delighted with how it went” Millward said.
“The decision to take the game was made with team performance on the field in mind, with an eye on this weekend’s game against Glasgow, to give Allen Clarke and his team the best preparation possible, avoiding a five day turnaround from Sunday to Friday at the Liberty.
“Obviously the outcome on the field couldn’t have been better, with the team securing all five points, but off the field was equally successful. Our commercial and community teams worked incredibly hard in the build-up to make it a special occasion and the results of their efforts were clear.
“From 18 teams representing Bridgend’s community rugby clubs attending to participate in the pre-match tag rugby festival, to the number of supporters who bought match tickets from their local Halo Leisure Centre, the local businesses that helped us promote the game in advance or enjoyed a very busy evening in the food village, and the Bridgend based partners who joined us for hospitality, it was clear to see that the local community appreciated the Ospreys bringing such an important game to town. Not only did doing so assist the team, it allowed us to live our policy of engaging with our wider regional fan base.
“We also need to say a huge thank you to our hardcore supporters, our season members, who have showed great understanding of the situation and got behind Allen and the team as they always do. That backing is truly appreciated by everyone at the Ospreys.”
Justin Rees of the Brewery Field, echoed Millward’s comments, saying:
"It was a great honour and privilege to host the Ospreys v Connacht match last Friday. With a win on the pitch, coupled with a great atmosphere off it, it was fantastic to see the local community supporting the event, and hopefully this will continue if called upon in the future."
Steve Bletsoe of Bridgend based Ella Riley's Sweets was one of the local vendors in the food village, creating a special one-off Ospreys fudge to mark the occasion, and he said it was a great evening:
"It is was a refreshing privilege to work with the Ospreys organisation to help create a family friendly atmosphere at their game at the Morganstone Brewery Field last Friday. It was a fantastic evening with a great atmosphere and it was our pleasure to be involved. A success on the pitch but an even bigger one off it, thanks for the opportunity, we’d love to be involved again."