ALL too often we have headed back out after the final whistle at Rodney Parade to thank our supporters for their backing when times have been hard so it was nice to applaud them after such a big win.

I came on for the final 15 minutes of the win against the Ospreys at a pretty tense time and we could all really hear our fans loudly – they were certainly a part of the long overdue derby victory.

It's nice to have a change from doom and gloom in this column after a game with Welsh rivals, even though I feared it was going to be a case of Cardiff Blues round two with two minutes left.

We headed into the game with confidence because of the performance at the Arms Park before Christmas and it showed with a really good performance.

We deserved the win and it was nice to be on the right end of a tight derby. Sam Davies had a chance to steal it for the Ospreys but in the end it was my fellow old timer Jason Tovey who was the hero with the winning kick.

I don't think it was the case of us having the rub of the green – it was a fair result.

It was a tense finale after I had come on just after Justin Tipuric went over for their try. Coming on at that time when the game had become so close was nerve-racking but that's the advantage of having experience coming off the bench when times are tough.

It's a completely different mindset preparing throughout the week to be a replacement but it was nice to be given a job to do in a big derby.

Everyone wants to do their bit and I was pleased to be able to put in that last tackle before Tavis Knoyle got in there to force a knock on.

It was a mixture of joy and relief. We were all very aware of our derby record in recent years, it has been something that we are not proud of and hopefully there will be more wins to come.

It was a very happy changing room and we have been waiting a long time to have a celebratory drink and a few songs after a derby… so long that I had to check the sell by date on the beers!

Times like that are why we play the game and it was good for the whole squad to get in there and enjoy the moment.

James Benjamin was to the fore with a Dragons song that he has composed and it was the perfect opportunity to give it an airing, maybe we'll all have to learn the words and hopefully we can have the chance to sing it again soon.

The win made returning to training for the first time in 2019 all the easier, all though a fair few of us are nursing niggles after a bruising few weeks.

It's an intense time of the year with three derby fixtures and rejigged training schedules because of the time of year.

A lot has been made of the lack of the Boxing Day fixture. I did miss it because they are great occasions to be a part of, both playing and viewing, although I can't say that I was sad to not have a fixture on New Year's Day.

Maybe every other year something can be done to find a slot for rugby on the 26th but for now we are preparing for the final derby at the Scarlets.

There has been plenty of talk about them struggling and clearly they didn't have a good result when they hosted the Blues last week but they are still a quality team that provides half of the Wales side.

The Scarlets will be right up for this to try and make amends in front of their own fans and they have the quality in their team, so we will have to be on top of our game.

But after ending our wait for a derby win we have the belief and a bit of momentum ahead of our trip west.