A last minute try for the Eyasses secured them their first victory in the Regional Age Grade Championship
In a tight game, disrupted by five yellow cards, the evenlymatched sides battled hard but it was the Ospreys who claimed victory at Llandarcy with a strong second half comeback.
It was a worrying start for the home side and their supporters as the Blues North team were on the attack from the very first whistle. With just 1 minute on the clock, Cian Lewis Hughes slid over the try line for the visitors before Cavan Slade added the conversion.
Handling errors meant both sides struggled to look truly dangerous but eventually the Ospreys East took advantage of the Blues being penalised to secure a line out on the 5m line. When the visitors received a yellow card for being offside, the Eyasses used their extra man well and with a clever dummy pass confusing the opposition Tom Davies dived over. The conversion attempt went wide, leaving the Ospreys trailing by 2 after 10 minutes.
In the remainder of the first half both sides worked hard and created opportunities but they were so evenly matched it was hard for either team to get through the others defence. Much of the play remained in the centre of the field as the ball was passed back and fore while they looked for a suitable gap.
The Blues eventually managed to get some forward motion and were close to the try line before Cameron Davies intercepted. However the referee was quick to show him the yellow card for offside and the resulting line out put the Blues close to the try line again. A man down, the young Ospreys couldn't hold out the Blues rolling maul and they crossed for their second try. The home side's problems were compounded further when seconds later Tom Davies was sent to join his team mate in the sin bin. Slade's successful conversion increasing the Blues lead.
Despite being down to 13 men, the Eyasses held their own in the remaining few minutes, both attacking and defending hard and at half time the score remained:
Ospreys East U16 5 - 14 Blues North U16
It was an exciting start to the second half as both teams came out fighting. Within minutes the Eyasses and Blues had come within feet of the try line but on both occasions knock ons spoilt the chance.
However the game soon settled back down and once again the ball remained mostly in the middle section of the pitch as the teams struggled to find a way through the others defence. Even when the Blues received another yellow card, the young Ospreys were unable to use their one man advantage to close the gap.
As the final quarter of the game started, the Ospreys East side started to make slow but steady progress up field. Strong teamwork allowed them to create some opportunities and the visitors defence became increasingly scrappy as they struggled to maintain their back line. Luke Scully dodged through and his unconverted try brought the Eyasses back into contention.
This seemed to bolster the home side and their attacking and defending got stronger. Despite a third yellow card for the Ospreys, this time Jake Woodward the offender, they successful counteracted the Blues powerful runs and even held out a sustained attack feet from their own try line.
Infringements and discipline played a huge part in the match and when two minutes before time the Blues North were penalised it allowed the Ospreys a prime opportunity for a line out in the corner. A successful catch turned into a rolling maul before Garin Lloyd broke from the pack to give the Ospreys the lead for the first time. Despite the conversion again going wide, there was no time for the visitors to respond and the Ospreys East secured their first win of the season.
Ospreys East U16 15 - 14 Blues North U16
Head Coach, Nicky Roberts, commented on his team's win:
"I'm very pleased to get the win, I honestly thought the boys could have done it last week but it's nice in such a short turn around to get the win obviously, but I'm also really pleased with the performance. It is about development this process but it's always nice for the boys confidence to get that win and it was well deserved.
"I thought we played very well in the first period and I was a bit concerned about us reverting back to type in the middle but they went back to what had been working really well for them, getting a bit of tempo in the game, quickening it up and moving the Blues about a bit and eventually the tries came from their hard work so it's really pleasing.
"I think at times we played into the Blues hands at times, they wanted to use their bigger stronger forwards and keep it tight whereas our strength was moving the ball and playing rugby so it was just trying to break away from that and get a bit more tempo in the game and when we did that we looked dangerous and caused them problems."