Eyasses end their season on a high with a home win over reigning champions the Scarlets
Llandarcy was the venue for what was set to be an exciting battle between the two young teams. For the Eyasses, already out of contention to progress in the competition, pride was at stake and the opportunity to end their season on a high. For Llanelli, a win would guarantee their place in the next round.
The Ospreys Under 18's started their season with a win over the Scarlets and hoped to bring their season to close in the same manner. That looked to be in danger as the Scarlets got off to a strong start, with 7 minutes played the visitors crossed the line for the first try of the game. Their full back easily converted and put them 7 points in the clear.
However the young Eyasses were determined to stay in contention and five minutes later Matthew Aubrey got their first points on the board with a successful penalty kick. Their impressive form continued and at the end of the first quarter the home side were rewarded as Joe Thomas scored a lovely break away try. Matthew Aubrey's boot was as reliable as ever as his conversion increased the lead.
A knock on by the Scarlets a few minutes later set up the Ospreys second try of the game. The ball coming quickly out of the resulting scrum and across to Rhys Gealy who raced upfield, showing the speed that has impressed this season, to score. Matthew Aubrey then putting the ball between the posts to extend the Eyasses lead.
Despite more good work by both sides and some dangerous breaks neither side were able to make their efforts count thanks to some strong defensive play. At half time the score remained 17 - 7 to the Eyasses.
The Scarlets restarted the second half showing why they were in contention for a top spot, straight away attacking the Ospreys' line. The Eyasses defence remained strong and forced the visitors into several handling errors, however errors of their own also crept in. 10 minutes into the second half the visitors pressure proved too much as the Eyasses conceded a penalty. Jack Evans, kicking for the Scarlets, slotting it between the posts to bring them back into the match.
Progression to the next round was obviously on the visitors mind as they continued their strong offensive play. Despite some great tackles including a notable one from Joe Thomas, which stopped a dangerous looking Scarlets attack, the visitors continued to pressurise the Ospreys line. The home side were edged further and further back and the Scarlets number 8 took advantage by diving through to score their second try of the game. The easy looking conversion, and chance to equalise, was sent wide to the relief of the home team.
The Ospreys, who have struggled to close down their last few games, showed improvements in their second half play as they both defended well and attacked the opposition. A third try was on the cards for the home side at the end of the third quarter as they forced through the Scarlets, pushing for the try line. They had to settle for 3 points, courtesy of Matthew Aubrey, however as their opponents were penalised.
With just 5 points between the teams, it really was still all to play for in the last ten minutes. The Scarlets made the most of it and once again forced the Eyasses back towards their own try line. From a line out they powered up field and crossed the try line. The young Ospreys showed amazing defence to get beneath the ball however leaving the referee unable to say it had been grounded. A scrum ensued for the Scarlets and they continued to look dangerous just feet from the try line. The Ospreys were determined to do the double over their rivals and continued to hold strong. Time was called and with a quick kick out the Ospreys were victorious.
Final Score: Ospreys Under 18's 20 - 15 Scarlets Under 18's.
Shaun Connor, Head Coach of the Eyasses commented on the game:
"It was a little bit tense, especially at the end where they put a bit of pressure on us but we asked the boys to be physical and stand up and they did.
It's a shame to be at the end of the season without making in to the finals, especially after the strong start we had with winning the first three matches. However we have learnt lessons from it and the players have gained experience from the wins and the losses that will hopefully help them to progress in the future".