In a game of two halves, Ospreys West came from behind to secure a derby victory over the East, scoring four tries to one.
In their final game of the season, the Ospreys U16s rivals went head-to-head at St. Helens with regional bragging-rights at stake.
It certainly was a game of two halves as, after dominating in the first-half, the East were overpowered in the second as the West dug in deep to take the honours.
From the off both defences were made to work hard. However, the East got off to the better start as they moved the ball with width on every occasion, putting pressure on the West’s defence.
A fortunate bounce of the ball for the East saw them gain territory and enter the West’s 22 and from here, play remained in the West’s half.
With 23-minutes on the clock, the East were the first to get the scoreboard running, turning their dominance into points.
From a scrum-5, West were under immense pressure, the East’s Callum Reed disrupting the ball from the base of the scrum and securing the loos ball, dabbing down to score the first try of the game, which was excellently converted by Rhys Cawley.
Excellent vision by Ifan Hunnum saw him break tackles and run 50-metres with the ball before being supported in play by Ellis Evans who was unfortunate to lose the ball in contact just before the whitewash.
Minutes before half-time, an official warning was given to the West’s Iestyn Lewis after one penalty too many as the pressure built.
In last play before half-time, the West upped the tempo and drove the East into their own 22 and threatened their line. A catch and drive from a 5-metre lineout, saw the West push the ball out wide to Iestyn Lewis who broke a tackle and offloaded inside to Gregor Devine who, through a wrap around move from 15-metres out, crossed the whitewash under the sticks, Edwards with the extras, to equalise the score at half-time.
HALF-TIME: OSPREYS U16S WEST 7 – 7 OSPREYS 16S EAST
After a first-half of fine margins and frequent infringements, the scoreboard was at 7-7 as the players returned from the break. However, it seemed to be role-reversal as after mainly East dominance in the first-half, the West obtained greater possession and territory in the second-half.
From the restart, the East continued with their game-plan of quick hands and stretching the ball wide which resulted in pressure on the West. However, as the West settled into play after ringing the changes, it saw them set up camp in the East’s 22.
A pick and go by the West’s forwards saw them gain ground and threaten the East’s line. From the a ruck, a quick ball was given to West’s captain, Edwards, who broke away on the outside shoulder of the East’s defence, breaking through the tackle to crash over the line. The young outside-half picked himself up to take the conversion, unfortunately he pushed it wide, but the hosts now held a 5-point lead.
It was now the turn of the East to soak up the pressure as the West’s confidence continued to grow and they played with more possession. Llyr Davies picked up and drove over the line from short distance following sustained pressure, Edwards with the extras, to extend the West’s lead to 19-7.
Right at the end of the match, Sam Bolton of the East was sin-binned for a dangerous clear out which saw the West look to capitalise on their extra-man advantage.
As they build the pressure, another official warning and another yellow card for the East, as John Coates was sent off for hands in the ruck, saw them reduced to 13 players.
A scrum on the 5-metre line, saw the East use one of their backs in the scrum, and inevitably the West pushed the ball wide to the open-side where they had a two-man overlap, Tommy Payne collecting the ball on the wing to cross the line from close-range for an unconverted try. This took the score to 24-7 as the full-time whistle was blown.