Despite coming back from a 28 point deficit, the Ospreys Under 16's couldn't overturn the powerful Blues side
It was a disappointing evening at St Helens for the OspreysWest side as they fell to their third successive defeat of the season. The troubles started early for the home side when with just one minute on the clock, the Blues' Carwyn Owen broke through the Ospreys defenders to score. Cavan Slade, with the first of several impressive kicks, successfully added the conversion,
The Ospreys West were quickly in a strong position themselves with three try opportunities coming in quick succession, however a combination of powerful Blues defence and errors in the set piece cost them the chance to turn their efforts into points. Instead it was the Blues who again made it onto the scoreboard. Cerith Lloyd charged towards the try line, and un-accosted by any Ospreys defenders, easily scored. Despite a tough kick, Slade again successfully converted.
Just three minutes later the Blues had again put themselves in prime position. With a line out close to the try line, it was impossible for the home side to put a stop to their rolling maul and Mitchel Barnard dropped down to score. Another accurate kick from Slade extending their lead.
A few minutes after try number three came number four, the powerful runs from the Blues again proving too much for the Ospreys West as they could do nothing to stop Callum James from crossing the white line. With just twenty minutes gone in the game Slade's conversion saw the visitors with a28 point lead.
When the Ospreys finally got some time with the ball in hand they started to look dangerous. A rolling maul saw them cross the line only to be held up. From the resulting scrum the young Ospreys quickly passed to Ross Fender who dodged and dived his way to get the Ospreys on the scoreboard. Iwan Richards was however unable to add the conversion.
As the game neared half time the Ospreys game improved, they defended against some strong attacks and built their attacking play, much helped by the back's runs and replacement prop Callum Evans throwing himself into tackle after tackle. With the Blues penalised twice the Ospreys gained ground and Callum Evans pushed his way over. There was just time for Iwan Richards to convert before the whistle blew.
HT: Ospreys West 12 - 28 Blues North
With lots of replacements and injuries disrupting the flow of the game, it was a much quieter second half for both teams. While the Ospreys and Blues had opportunities in the first few minutes, good defending as well as infringements stopped them from getting going. That was until, with seven minutes played, Iwan Richards confused the opposition with a lovely dummy pass and raced over the line. Ross Fender stepped up for the conversion kick but sent the ball wide.
With the score line narrowed to 11 points, it looked like the Ospreys Under 16's could be about to surprisingly bring themselves back into contention. Their plans were dealt a blow however when Sam Cambriani was sent to the bin soon afterwards.
The Blues one man advantage didn't last for long as Nathan Griffiths was also shown a yellow card, his punishment for not rolling away. Shortly after Griffiths returned Thomas Stokes who had just come on for the Blues was too sent to the bin.
Despite a prolonged period in the visitors half, with possession, the Ospreys just couldn't find the necessary gap to slip through to properly bring themselves back into the game. Poor passing caused them trouble in attack and they were unable to score.
The Blues however had no such problem, despite being a man down as soon as they regained ball and territory they were off. Earlier try scorer Carwyn Owen broke through the Ospreys defence, setting up Liam Lloyd to complete the scoring for the evening.
FT: Ospreys West 17 - 33 Blues North
Head Coach Dai Jones remarked on his team's performance:
"If you take the first twenty minutes out of the game it wasn't a bad performance but you can't play as badly as we did for that first period and expect to get anywhere near any RAG team. The more the game progressed, the better the performance got. We were respectable towards the end but by then the game had already gone.
"Somehow or another we got ourselves back into a position where we were only a score away and I suppose we could have even snatched the win but we didn't make the most of it. We scored a try in the second half but we left another two on the field whereas the Blues had one chance in the second half and they scored and that was the end of it.
"We have a break now until February as they go back to their Schools and clubs to play Ospreys and Welsh Cup games. Hopefully they all stay fit and well and we'll have plenty to work on when they come back."