In their rearranged fixture, the Ospreys Premiership Select travelled to the Lady Bay Stadium to take on Nottingham in the final game of the British and Irish Cup.
- Tries from Joe Gatt and a double from Morgan Morris put the Ospreys PS in the driving seat
- Nottingham were able to capitalise on a yellow card for Luke Price to sneak ahead in the latter stages
Whilst neither the PS or Nottingham were able to progress to the quarter finals, the visitors were looking for revenge for the previous occasion these two sides met, back in December at the Gnoll, when a last minute penalty for Nottingham clinched the Championship side a two-point win.
Running out in very wet conditions at the Lady Bay stadium, the Ospreys started strong. Good carries from the pack took play into Nottingham’s 22, with a penalty from Luke Price securing them the lineout five metres out. Despite knocking on in the lineout and handing Nottingham the scrum, a powerful drive from the Ospreys pack sent Nottingham backwards and a good pick up allowed Morgan Morris to ground the ball for the opening try which went unconverted.
However, Nottingham were quick to answer back, quick ball from a lineout in the Ospreys 22 saw Jack Spittle cross in the corner for their first try of the game, Will Millett with the conversion.
Kieran Williams then made a good break before being brought down, Nottingham penalised for not releasing, leaving Price to kick into Nottingham’s 22 for the lineout.
Building up the phases, a strong attack from the Ospreys kept pushing their hosts back as they came within metres from the tryline.
With the referee playing advantage to the Ospreys for an offside, Price opted for a cross field kick to Jay Baker, but an interception from Nottingham’s wing denied the winger.
Going back for the advantage, another solid scrum from the Ospreys saw Morris crash over the line for his second try of the game. Price’s conversion put the Ospreys five points ahead.
The Ospreys ensured their hosts kept in their own half just before the half time mark and kept pushing their way further up field. But the visitors were unable to convert their territory into points on the board with the ball kicked into touch for half time.
Half Time Nottingham 7 - 12 Ospreys Premiership Select
As the second half got underway Nottingham were keen to strike first and they didn’t waste much time in racing their way into the Ospreys half. Quick pace from the backs saw Murray McConnell clear to score over the line with Millett adding the extras to take Nottingham back ahead.
But the Ospreys were quick to regroup from the restart. Back on the attack, a lovely take from Jay Baker saw him blitz his was through Nottingham’s defence. Strong support from Matthew Aubrey with an offload to Thomas-Wheeler, left the fullback chip a nice grubber kick through Nottingham’s defence. Joe Gatt showed good pace to go through and score try number three. The conversion just skimming the wrong side of the posts, but the Ospreys were back ahead 14-17.
With Nottingham keen to snatch back their lead, a quick break from the line brought the hosts attacking deep into the Ospreys 22, and as a try looked evident the referee blew the whistle for an offside, skipper Luke Price being yellow carded for the infringement.
And Nottingham were quick to take advantage of the extra man, Tim Cardell spying the gap in defence to ground the ball over the line for their third of the game. Another conversion from Millett took the hosts back ahead 21-17.
Still with the man advantage, Nottingham powered their way back into the Ospreys half and, despite a good tackle from Ben Cambriani, an offload inside to Oli Evans sent Nottingham over the line for their bonus point try which went unconverted.
But the Ospreys were still fighting their way back into the game. Keeping the ball running and pushing their way deeper into Nottingham’s half from the restart. Still putting the pressure on the hosts, the young Ospreys looked to come away with something as the clock turned red. But as conditions became more slippery a knock on was followed by the final whistle with the Ospreys falling short at 26-17.
Giving his verdict at the end of the game, coach Tom Smith praised his sides efforts:
“We’re really pleased with the effort the boys put out there this evening. It’s been a really difficult time for us as a squad, with players away on international duty with both the seniors and the U20’s and our squad’s been really heavily hit with a long injury list and it’s been a struggle to put a team on the park.
“But credit to the boys in the changing room tonight, the effort they put in was outstanding, and I thought it was just that period just after halftime, we didn’t have a great start and then we got punished by being a man down. But all in all it’s been really positive performance in tough circumstances, and in particularly tough conditions.”