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Ulster Ravens Rebound With Encouraging Win

Ulster Ravens Rebound With Encouraging Win

Ulster Ravens claimed their first victory in this season’s British & Irish Cup, overcoming Jersey in an entertaining game at Ravenhill despite the driving rain.

Niall O'Connor, returning to face his home province as Jersey's out-half, had the first opportunity to open the scoring but his penalty effort dropped under the posts.

Jersey were quickly awarded another penalty and they went for touch but knocked on from the lineout. However, Ian Porter was punished for a crooked feed at the scrum.

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Jeresy opted for a scrum and wheeled it to the left before the back row broke off and drove at the Ravens line. The ball was popped back to captain Alex Rae and he went over on 12 minutes but O'Connor missed the conversion.

Out half James McKinney got the Ravens' first points when he landed a 28th minute penalty after Jersey were punished for collapsing a scrum.

The Ravens took the lead with a bizarre try from full-back David McIlwaine. He caught the ball on his own 10-metre line, he was tackled and grounded by two Jersey defenders but they did not hold him.

McIlwaine was free to get up and he set off on a run, beating another two defenders to score in the corner. McKinney could not convert.

The Ravens out-half did manage to add another penalty after 36 minutes to give Allen Clarke's young side, who had a man-of-the-match performance from Mike McComish, a 11-5 half-time lead.

McKinney extended the hosts' lead on 48 minutes with his third penalty, and then Malone prop Christopher Taylor registered the Ravens' second try 10 minutes later.

McKinney kicked a penalty to touch, from the lineout Taylor peeled around to the front and when the gap opened he powered through to touch down and McKinney converted from a tight angle.

Jersey's fight-back began on 68 minutes when the Ulstermen were punished for collapsing a scrum on halfway.

O'Connor kicked for touch and put his side five metres from the line. From the lineout, Jersey drove the Ravens over the line and when the home side pulled the maul down referee Simon Harding awarded a penalty try and O'Connor converted.

Ravens had centre Ricky Andrew sin-binned on 71 minutes and Jersey opted for a scrum, they got the drive on and when the Ravens collapsed the referee awarded the visitors another penalty try which O'Connor converted.

McKinney's late penalty sealed the victory for the Ravens in the end, but Jersey left rain-lashed Belfast with a losing bonus point.

Referee: Simon Harding (England)