The Ospreys overcame a late comeback by the Dragons to secure their second victory in the RAG season
After controlling the game and leading until just 12 minutesbefore the final whistle, the Ospreys East side had to deal with a second half come back from the strong Dragons North side. Good teamwork ensured that they only trailed for 4 minutes and aided by the visitors finishing the game with 13 men, the Ospreys ground out their second win of the Regional Age Grade season.
With a good starting performance the Ospreys East side put early pressure on the visitors to Tata Steel RFC and with just 10 minutes on the clock a 5m scrum put them in prime position. Using an extra man out wide, Owen Morris, the Ospreys East slipped over the try line to open the scoring. Hwyel Phillips unable to extend the lead as his conversion attempt fell just short.
In a display of good team work and handling, the Ospreys controlled the game and had more chances to push the Dragons defence backwards. Just five minutes after try number one, an impressive race up the wing allowed Cameron Davies to slide over for try number two. Again Phillips' conversion attempt falling just short of the posts.
Despite good work from the Ospreys East and runs from Rhys Davies and Harri Morgan an improved defensive effort from the Dragons meant that they couldn't get close to the try line again. It wasn't just the visitors defensive efforts that had improved but also their attacking play. A knock on from the Ospreys East gave the visitors the ball on the half way line and a pacey run down the wing saw them get their first try of the evening courtesy of Taine Basham. Matthew Lewis' conversion bringing them back within 3 points before half time.
HT: Ospreys East U16's 10 - 7 Dragons North U16's
Continuing their first half comeback, the Dragons controlled the first ten minutes of the second half. Handling errors on both sides meant that neither tea m looked particularly dangerous until the 11th minute when the Ospreys re-entered the game.
Fantastic passing saw the Ospreys breaking through the Dragons defence. When a chip up field was picked up by the Dragons the home side were quick to bundle them into touch. A rolling maul from the resulting line out had the Ospreys East powering over the try line until Rhys Henry could drop down to score. Phillips's, with his first successful kick of the evening, adding the conversion.
Despite another good run by Owen Morris for the Ospreys, it was the Dragons who got on the scoreboard next. Twice they pounded at the Ospreys try line and eventually the gap opened up for Joe Mahoney to slip through. Lewis adding two points with his second successful conversion.
Just one minute later and the Dragons were back on the charge. A huge run making yards and despite being brought down the visitors kept the ball in hand and Mahoney raced over again to take the lead for the first time. Lewis' first kick of the evening to fall short meaning their lead was just two points.
With more good work from Captain Tommy Reffell in both defence and attack, the Ospreys were once again on the front foot. When the Dragons' Owen Bennett was yellow carded for offside the Ospreys East had a chance to put the ball right in the corner for a line out. Another rolling maul from the pack saw them almost at the try line and replacement Zach Taylor, despite having a tackler around his waist, stretched over the try line to give the Ospreys the lead back. A good conversion from Phillips rounding out the scoring for the evening.
Good offloads from the home side put the Ospreys back inside the Dragons 22 and when the Dragons' Cobi Edwards was sent to the bin for killing the ball it was almost a carbon copy of the last attack. A line out producing a rolling maul to send them over the try line but unlike their earlier effort and the opposition being down to 13 men they were held up.
Despite their two man deficit the Dragons did try to run the ball but a knock on stopped them leaving their own 22. With a knock on also spoiling the Ospreys East team's last attack the game ended without further score.
FT: Ospreys East U16's 24 - 19 Dragons North U16's
Head Coach, Kevin James, commented on his team's win:
"The first game was a bit of a learning experience for the boys and I think we came into this game with good intent. I think the first half particularly we played some exciting stuff and had a good go.
There's areas to improve on and I think we moved away from some of our principals in the second half and that allowed the Dragons to take the lead for the first time. But I think it showed good character that we didn't throw the towel in, kept going forward and got the try in the end."