Match Report: Ulster A 17-22 Bedford Blues

Sam Windsor

Sam Windsor scored Ulster A’s second try

Ulster A’s slim hopes of qualifying for the quarter-finals of the British & Irish Cup came to an end after they suffered a 22-17 defeat to English side the Belford Blues at Deramore Park.

Despite tries from Jacob Stockdale and Sam Windsor, Alex Codling’s men were outscored four tries to two as Phil Boulton, Dean Adamson, Tom Griffiths and Henry Staff all crossed for the Blues who picked up a bonus point too.

Ulster A were the stronger side to begin with, however they found themselves behind on the scoreboard after just 11 minutes when a powerful Bedford maul sent Boulton over for the unconverted try.

Bedford fly-half Jake Sharp struck the post with a penalty five minutes later and paid the price for his wayward kick when the hosts took the lead for the first time through a try from winger Stockdale.

Fly-half Johnny McPhillips, who converted the try, threw a long wide pass and although the Ireland U20s winger had to check his run he still had the pace to speed over in the corner for the seven-pointer.

The lead did not last very long though and the visitors had their second try just before the break when lock Harry Wells was on hand to offload to Dean Adamson who was able to score under the posts.

Sharp landed his sole conversion of the night but McPhillips converted his only penalty of the game with a minute of the first half left to send the sides in with the English side leading 12-10.

Only six minutes after the restart Bedford had their third try through Tom Griffiths, who received an offload from captain Nick Fenton-Wells who made the initial surge, and the centre powered over for the try.

McPhillips missed a penalty but soon after Ulster A were level again when Sam Windsor got their second try.

The fly-half, plying his trade at inside centre for the night, ran the perfect supporting line to receive Rodger McBurney’s inside pass after the full-back’s sprint down the touchline with the try levelling the scores at 17-17.

The game was evenly poised heading into its late stages, but ultimately it would be the English side who would be the victors on the night through Henry Staff’s late score.

Bedford went through several patient phases inside Ulster territory before the ball was fed wide and centre Staff was able to squeeze over in the corner for the try which secured the win and the bonus point.

 

The scorers

For Ulster A

Tries: Stockdale, Windsor

Cons: McPhillips (2)

Pen: McPhillips

For Bedford

Tries: Boulton, Adamson, Griffiths, Staff

Con: Sharp

 

ULSTER A

(15-9) Rodger McBurney, Robert Lyttle, Mark Best, Sam Windsor, Jacob Stockdale, Johnny McPhillips, Dave Shanahan; (1-8) Andy Warwick, John Andrew, Bronson Ross, John Donnan, Pete Browne, Conor Joyce, Nick Timoney, Lorcan Dow.

Replacements: Johnny Murphy, Ruaidhri Murphy, Jonny Simpson, Alex Thompson, Connor Young, Paul Rowley, Andrew Magrath.

BEDFORD BLUES

(15-9) Steffan Jones, Sam Blanchet, Henry Staff, Tom Griffiths, Dean Adamson, Jake Sharp, Jordan Burns; (1-8) Tom Williams, Charlie Clare, Phil Boulton, Harry Wells, Mark Flanagan, Justin Blanchet, Nick Fenton-Wells, Joel Conlon.

Replacements: Sam Janes, Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, Paul Tupai, Biyi Alo, Peter White, Myles Dorrian, Ollie Dodge.