Ospreys open their season at the Gnoll

Six tries in comfortable win for the Ospreys

The Ospreys kicked off their 2019/20 campaign in style at theGnoll tonight as they beat English Championship side Hartpury.

In front of a crowd of nearly 2,000 in Neath, the home side opened their account on 11 minutes with a try from lock Jay Williams. Coming from a line-out won in the Hartpury 22 and following a daring kick and chase from hooker Scott Otten, Williams was on hand to end a driving forwards move, going over from short range to put the Ospreys ahead.

The Ospreys continued to play an open game with no 8 Guido Volpi showing great slight of hand to put captain James Hook into space -  Hook, offering a lovely chip kick collected by Luke Morgan, taking the Ospreys deep into the Hartpury half once more. From the resulting line-out Hartpury Fly Half Josh Bragman saw his kick charged down by Morgan Morris who kicked ahead to touch down. James Hook converted to put Ospreys 12 – 0 up on 22 minutes.

From the restart the Ospreys threatened again with a 17-metre dash from scrum-half Harri Morgan putting Luke Morgan into space, testing the Hartpury defence before a knock on brought the move to a breathless stop.

With the half drawing to a close, Morgan Morris broke away again, this time keeping the ball in hand only to lead to a penalty for Hartpury for holding on. In the spirit of an open game, the visitors chose to kick for the corner with Luke Eves scoring his side’s only try of the match making the score 12-5 to the Ospreys at half time.

Ospreys started the second half with pace and flair. Again, testing the Hartpury defence to the limit, they broke the visitors twice early in the half - on 44 minutes with Dewi Cross and 47 minutes with Luke Morgan in a stunning solo try - sidestepping and weaving his way through the English side to score.

With Hartpury under the cosh, the penalty count continued to rise with James Hook opting for the corner again on 56 minutes. Another penalty lead to a scrum and a quick pick up and drive from crowd favourite, Argentinian number 8 Guido Volpi, brought the home side's fifth try of the night.

Shortly afterwards on 60 minutes James Hook left the field to rapturous applause from the home fans having successfully guided his team to a 29-5 lead with 20 minutes left on the clock.

For the next quarter of an hour substitutes came flooding onto the pitch from both sides, the stadium announcer confessing humorously on 73 minutes to not being quite sure who was coming on and off, saying ‘I think just about everybody has come off the bench now’.

On 77 minutes, with some tired legs across the park at the end of a first competitive game of the season for both sides, it was Ospreys’ Chay Smith who was on hand to score the final try of the evening. Converted by Cai Evans the match ended in a comfortable victory for the Ospreys by 36 – 5.