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Ulster ‘A’ Enjoy Winning Start In B&I Cup
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Ulster ‘A’ Enjoy Winning Start In B&I Cup

Ulster ‘A’ Enjoy Winning Start In B&I Cup

Ulster ‘A’ made a winning start to the British & Irish Cup with a three-try 30-5 victory over English Championship leaders Bristol at Kingspan Stadium tonight.

Bristol started strongly and were rewarded with the game's opening try in the ninth minute. They kicked a penalty to touch and from the resulting lineout, they were able to maul over with flanker Max Crumpton barging over. Out-half Callum Sheedy could not convert.

Sam Windsor got the hosts' first points after a sustained period of pressure in the Bristol 22. The Ulster 'A' forwards worked the ball through a number of phases before the visitors strayed offside, allowing the out-half to slot over a simple penalty.

Bristol fielded a mostly second string line-up with the domestic Championship obviously their main target this season. They continued to dominate the scrum and Ulster 'A' had their senior-capped tighthead Bronson Ross sin-binned after they had conceded a number of penalties at the set piece.

Windsor gave Ulster 'A' the lead with his second penalty in the 26th minute after more strong carrying by the forwards coupled with a scything run from young winger Robert Lyttle.

Alex Codling's side duly went in the break with a 13-5 lead following a try from blindside flanker Clive Ross. Captain Willie Faloon made a strong charge from the back of a lineout, Peter Browne carried the ball deeper into the Bristol 22, possession was recycled quickly and Ruaidhri Murphy charged close to the line before Ross picked up and charged over with Windsor converting.

The Ulstermen, growing more cohesive and clinical as the minutes ticked by, dominated the early stages of the second period. They should have got a second try when man-of-the-match Callum Patterson exposed a gap in the Bristol defence and carried into the 22, but he had no support.

Windsor increased the lead with a third successful penalty on 53 minutes. Recent senior cap Stephen Mulholland made a big carry in midfield and when he was brought to ground, Bristol were guilty of hands in the ruck.

As the hour mark approached, Ballymena's in-form centre Patterson got over for the province's second try. Mark Best (pictured above) made a break down the wing, Browne carried close to the line before Patterson powered over and Windsor converted.

Just five minutes later, Belfast Harlequins ace Best crossed the whitewash himself. Patterson stole the ball on the ground in midfield, it was shifted to the wing and Rodger McBurney powered close to the line. Browne and Alan O'Connor made more hard yards before Best wriggled over from close range and Windsor converted.

Bristol prop James Hall was sin-binned for trying to kill the ball in the build-up to the try. Neither side was able to score again as Codling's charges opened the pool stages with a well-won four points, as their attention quickly turns to next week's trip to Bedford Blues.

Referee: Dan Jones (Wales)

Lineups Scorers

Match Lineups

Home Team

Jonny McPhillips; Rodger McBurney, Callum Patterson, Mark Best, Robert Lyttle; Sam Windsor, Paul Rowley; Ruaidhri Murphy, John Andrew, Bronson Ross, Alan O'Connor, Pete Browne, Clive Ross, Willie Faloon (capt), Stephen Mulholland.

Replacements used: Jonny Simpson for Mulholland (20-30 mins, temp sub), Simpson for Ross (30), Johnny Murphy for Andrew (61), Michael Lagan for Murphy (67), Andrew Magrath for Best (72), Conor Joyce for Faloon (74). Not used: Alex Thompson, Liam Free.

Away Team

Luke Arscott; George Watkins, Tommaso Benvenuti, Ben Mosses (capt), Charlie Amesbury; Callum Sheedy, Craig Hampson; Ellis Genge, Chris Brooker, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Tom Ellis, Mark Sorenson, Nick Koster, Max Crumpton, Rayn Smid.

Replacements used: James Hall for Ford-Robinson (half-time), Gareth Maule for Mosses, Adrian Jarvis for Sheedy (both 50), Andy Uren for Hampson (62), Glen Townson for Ellis (64), Ford-Robinson for Koster (66-70, temp sub), James Stephenson for Brooker (68), Jack Davies for Koster (70).


Match Scorers

Home Team

Tries: Clive Ross, Callum Patterson, Mark Best; Cons: Sam Windsor 3; Pens: Sam Windsor 3

Away Team

Try: Max Crumpton