A Busy Festive Period For Young Ospreys

During the festive period the Young Ospreys were involved in 3 fixtures and a series of traing sessions.

Because of the postponment of the under 18 final on the 23rd it was the under 16's who were first up with an away fixture against the Scarlets at Narberth RFC on the 27th. The early kick off (2pm) certainly seemed to suit the Young Ospreys as they raced into a 12 point lead courtesy of tries by wings Bryan Barlow and Bowdy Davies; full back Tom Pridey converted one. However, despite this encouraging start they were not able to hold on to their lead and the Scarlets were worthy winners as they replied with 22 unanswered points. The difference between the two teams was their ability to play against the wind; the Scarlets taught the Young Ospreys a lesson in how to keep the ball tight and eat up the clock while frustrating your opponents. Next up is a fixture with the Blues North at Pontypridd RFC on Wednesday 9th January, 7.15pm kick off. On that same evening there was a repeat of last years under 20 final as the Young Ospreys met the Blues at Ebbw Vale RFC. With both teams securing a victory apiece in the build up fixtures it was viewed as a close encounter and , this certainly was the case in the first half with the Blues holding a narrow lead by 8 points to 3 (penalty by full back Warren Davies). However, because of their failure to score during a 10 minute period of dominance at the start of the second half the Young Opsreys allowed the Blues to control the game as they scored 2 penalties and took a 14 points to 3; this was reduced when second row and captain Ciarran Ruddock scored a try for a scoreline of 14 points 8. Unfortunately for the Young Ospreys they immediately had a kick charged down by replacement prop Scott Andrews, who then gathered and raced over for a try which former Young Osprey Leigh Halfpenny converted for a 21 points to 8 victory. Then it was the turn of the under 18's as they took on their Dragon counterparts at Gowerton RFC  on Sunday 30th December. Despite a close encounter (15 points to 11 win) when the two teams last met the Young Ospreys were red hot favourites going into the game. Bearing the tag of favourites is sometimes too much for some teams to handle, but not this team. Some of them were palying in and winning their third successive Reebok final as they proved to strong for the Dragons. However, that was not the case in the first half and the Dragons deservedly led by 15 points to 12 at the interval. At half time the coaches did not rant and rave but reminded the squad about their strengths as a team and some areas where they needed to improve. Improve they did and they dominated the second half with centre Ashley Beck (left of main picture alongside fellow centre Kristian Phillips) and wing Liam Powell (pictured) adding a try a piece to go with the ones they scored in the first half. Outside half Matthew Jarvis celebrated his inclusion in the national under 18 squad with 3 conversions and a very good overall performance on the day. The group has been rewarded by 13 of them being named in the national squad; while for front row forwards Jo Rees, Ceri Davies and Gareth Jenkins (pictured) it is the first time that they have been named in a national squad. Photographs courtesy of David Dowd of Dragon Tales.