The Ospreys women celebrated their first game at their new home St Helens, with a 12-10 victory over regional rivals, Scarlet Ladies on Sunday.
This season theOspreys women have seen quite a few injuries within the squad but have been gaining momentum in training as the year has progressed. 2015/16 saw the team struggle to find their form in the latter half of the regional championships but this game saw an improved Ospreys side run in 2 tries to hold off the very strong Scarlets team.
The first 15 minutes it was everything to play for with both teams displaying a very physical contest. After some poor Ospreys discipline, Scarlets took the lead with a very well taken penalty from Jodie Evans. Ospreys carried hard but Scarlets defence appeared impenetrable. The home side gained some composure which resulted in Kerin Lake going over in the corner for the first try of the match. Robyn Wilkins was unlucky, just missing out on the extras as the kick went wide.
That try saw Kerin Lake leave the field with a suspected concussion so after a period of suspended play and Alecs Donovan taking to the field, both teams were fired up to get back into the game. Scarlets were on the front foot and put together some excellent play to put the home team under pressure. Jess Kavanagh crossed the white wash for the Scarlets Ladies to score their first try of the game. Jodie Evans added the conversion to see the away team regain the lead 5-10.
Play resumed and this saw Sioned Harris receiving a yellow card for not releasing. With Scarlets down to 14 players the Ospreys applied the pressure, which resulted in another yellow for the visitors for the same offence.
The Ospreys were rewarded for their perseverance and used their two man advantage to score another try, this time scored by hooker Carys Phillips with some quality support play from Shona Powell-Hughes. Robyn Wilkins’ successful conversion giving the Ospreys a narrow two point lead.
With the half drawing to a close both teams were eager to maintain pressure and look for the score, Scarlets replacement Lowri Harries went on an excellent run down the wing but Ospreys defence was solid.
HT: Ospreys Women 12 – 10 Scarlets Ladies
After half time both teams returned to the field of play with renewed vigour. After some intense pressure from the visiting side, the Ospreys regained possession and saw Rosie Fletcher go on a powerful run. However the Scarlets defence was again superb with the home side unable to cross for the score.
Both teams battled hard and the Scarlets applied serious pressure but the Ospreys women were not giving up their lead without a fight. Bodies on the line saw a few injuries occur for both sides and after the resulting changes for both teams the tempo of the match increased.
Scarlets Ladies continued to attack but the home team held their discipline and their defence, holding the visitors at bay. After some excellent play by the Scarlets players that saw a series of turn overs and handling errors made, the Ospreys regained their form and were now on the attack. Mel Clay involved in some fabulous footwork out on the wing, showing her versatility as a player but the visitors defence held strong. The final whistle blew which saw the home team the victors in what was a fantastic first match at St Helens.
With a tremendous effort by both teams, the close score line reflected how tightly this game was fought to the end. The Ospreys will be relieved to get the win under their belt and will now look forward to the next fixture away to the Blues at Cardiff Arms Park on the 20th of November.