Match Report: Ulster A 30-5 Bristol Rugby

Alan O'Connor played the full match as Ulster A defeated Bristol

Alan O’Connor played the full match as Ulster A defeated Bristol

Ulster A got their 2015/16 British & Irish Cup campaign off to a positive start as they trounced English Championship side Bristol 30-5 at the Kingspan Stadium on Friday night.

Despite falling behind to an early Max Crumpton try, Ulster A rallied and scored 30 unanswered points to take the win with tries from Willie Faloon, Callum Patterson and Mark Best sealing the win.

Fly-half Sam Windsor added 15 points with the boot for the home side but they couldn’t get the fourth try that would grant them an early bonus point in the pool.

The hosts started nervously with a lot of handling errors early on and it was a fair result when Bristol openside Max Crumpton got the opening try of the game from the back of a driving maul after just nine minutes.

Sam Windsor got Alex Codling’s side on the board with a penalty five minutes later, but it was Bristol who were doing all the pressing, making use of their dominant pack and turning down multiple opportunities to take three points.

It looked like they were going to be rewarded for that bravery when Ulster A tighthead Bronson Ross was sin-binned for repeated scrum infringements, but the dogged home defence held firm and limited their English opponents to nothing.

Instead they went back up the other end of the field and took the lead for the first time – winger Rob Lyttle’s scything run rewarded through Windsor’s second penalty of the night.

Both sides were making heavy weather of the game, the terrible conditions making handling difficult, but Ulster A would go in at the break with more than a try between the two teams courtesy of Willie Faloon’s seven pointer.

Faloon burrowed his way over from close range with the last play of the half, a score which Windsor converted, to give the Irish province a 13-5 half time lead.

The hosts continued in the same form they finished the first half with, attacking Bristol with real intent however for the first ten minutes of the second half they could find no breakthrough.

Then in the space of five minutes the home side stretched away thanks to two tries from centre pairing Mark Best and Callum Patterson and a further penalty from Windsor.

Windsor’s 52nd minute penalty started the scoring before Patterson dove over under the posts three minutes later after a lot of pressure on Bristol’s try line, Windsor again converting.

And straight from the kick off Ulster A were in again as they worked their way back to within the Bristol 5 metre line, this time it was Best who wriggled over from a short distance, scoring the try beside the sticks.

Bristol substitute prop James Hall was yellow carded for an infringement in the build-up as Windsor added the extras to make it 30-5.

Despite the Ulster backs looking very impressive and dangerous with ball in hand they could not find their way over for the fourth try that would give them the bonus point they deserved, even with the extra man.

Instead they have to make do with just the win that puts them in a good position early in the pool with a trip to Bedford up next weekend.

 

The scorers

For Ulster A

Tries: Faloon, Patterson, Best

Cons: Windsor (3)

Pens: Windsor (3)

For Bristol

Try: Crumpton

 

ULSTER A

(15-9) Jonny McPhillips, Roger McBurney, Callum Patterson, Mark Best (Andrew Magrath 66), Robert Lyttle, Sam Windsor, Paul Rowley; (1-8) Ruaidhri Murphy (Michael Lagan 63), John Andrew (Jonny Murphy 66), Bronson Ross (Jonny Simpson 27), Alan O’Connor, Pete Browne, Clive Ross, Willie Faloon (Conor Joyce 68), Steven Mulholland.

Subs not used: Alex Thompson, Liam Free.

Yellow card: Bronson Ross (17’)

BRISTOL RUGBY

(15-9) Luke Arscott, George Watkins, Tommaso Benvenuti, Benjamin Mosses (Gareth Maule 48), Charles Amesbury, Callum Sheedy (Adrian Jarvis 48), Craig Hampson (Andrew Uren 57); (1-8) Ellis Genge, Christopher Brooker (James Stephenson 64), Jamal Ford-Robinson (James Hall 40), Thomas Ellis (Glen Towson 61), Mark Sorenson, Ralph Koster (Jack Davies 65), Max Crumpton, Rayn Smid.

Yellow card: James Hall (57’)

 

Man of the Match: Callum Patterson (Ulster)

Attendance: 1,607

Referee: D Jones (Wales)