Tries from Kristian Phillips and Hanno Dirksen helped a youthful Ospreys team to a hard earned victory against Welsh Premiership side Tonmawr at a bitterly cold Whitworth Ground.
It was the Ospreys who made all the early running, Eyasses scrum half Tom Habberfield and centre Tom Isaacs both carrying well to create an opening for Gareth Owen who was unable to finish in the corner. Next, Rory Pitman picked up at the back of a scrum on halfway before supplying Tom Prydie on the burst. The Wales cap looked to field Owen on his shoulder, but the centre couldn’t collect with space opening up in front of him.
With a quarter of an hour gone Prydie put his team in front after Tonmawr were caught offside on the 10m line, but the hosts struck straight back through the boot of Luke Richards after scrum half Tom Habberfield was penalised for not releasing after finding himself isolated.
Owen, Phillips and Morgan Allen then all showed up well in a flowing move, before Isaacs kick to the corner for Phillips to chase was slightly overdone.
With half-time approaching, Tonmawr had a chance to take the lead, but Richards just missed with his second penalty attempt after the Ospreys strayed offside, leaving it all square at the interval, a fair reflection of the balance of the game.
HALF-TIME: TONMAWR 3 OSPREYS SELECT XV 3
Tonmawr began the second half strongly, first Elliot Frewen showing some good pace up the left flank, before the Ospreys defence had to be strong to hold up a driving maul on their line. The respite was only temporary though, Hywel Stoddart grounding as Tonmawr went over for a pushover try, a Richards conversion stretching the lead.
The Ospreys trailed for just four minutes though, Phillips fielding a loose clearance kick to race though and score a simple try on his return to the club he represented in youth rugby. Dai Flanagan’s conversion levelled things, with 51 minutes on the clock.
Flanagan, who has represented Tonmawr in the Premiership this season, then added three points on the hour after the hosts were caught offside right in front of the posts as the Ospreys stepped up the pressure.
Despite an outstanding effort by the hosts, by now the game was being played almost exclusively in Tonmawr territory, but resolute defence from the home team was restricting the Ospreys opportunity wise, and it took until the 79th minute for their line to be breached again. Replacement centre Dirksen displayed good awareness to scoop up a loose ball and charge through unchecked to complete the scoring, Flanagan missing the conversion.
Elliot Frewen, Warren Davies, Darren Ritchie, Tal Selley, Gareth John, Luke Richards, James Donovan; Owain Ford, Darryl Harvey, Steve Kenny, Jonathan Griffiths, Ben Davies, Andrew Gwynne, Gareth Beer, Robert Hill (Capt)
Ieuan Dobbs, Ollie Pardoe, Ceri Jones, Shaun Donovan, Lee Purnell, Iwan Mainwaring, Jack O’Reilly, Kiba Richards, Dano Roberts, Richard Randall, Lloyd Ryland, Hywel Stoddart
Ospreys Select XV
Tom Prydie, Kristian Phillips, Tom Isaacs, Gareth Owen, Eli Walker, Matthew Morgan, Tom Habberfield; Will Taylor, Scott Baldwin, Craig Cross, James King (Capt), Sam Williams, Morgan Allen, Ben Thomas, Rory Pitman
Marc Breeze, Ken Dowding, Rhodri Hughes, Craig Price, Matthew Jarvis, Dai Flanagan, Hanno Dirksen