Old Belvedere Women’s RFC entertained an Ulster Select women’s side on Sunday with Ulster running out winners by six tries to one. I think the final score was 38 – 5 to Ulster but I couldn’t swear to all the conversions!
The game kicked off half an hour earlier than expected so I missed the start, but the players have been media trained, and the scoring didn’t start until after I arrived – about 30 minutes in.
No sooner had I sat down in my customary position than Brittany Hogan crashed over on the right to open the scoring. Vicky Irwin added the conversion and Ulster led 7 – 0.
Minutes later a midfield break by Neve Jones was carried on by Beth Cregan and Ilse van Staden before Storm Cobain was stopped short of the line. The impressive Van Staden, picked up and carried the defenders over for the try with Irwin again converting.
Ulster were well on top and Eliza Downey crossed for their third after a charge down by Hogan was carried on by the hugely impressive Lauren Maginnes and Cobain. Once again Irwin added the conversion and Ulster went into the break with a 21 – 0 lead.
Belvo started the second half well and kept Ulster in their own half for the opening exchanges. Ulster broke out through Downey and Emma Jordan and, after strong carries by Van Staden and Maginness, Teah Maguire was put over for a try, by Downey, only for the score to be cancelled due to a forward pass. A decision that is still vehemently disputed on Messenger!
As it was, Ulster quickly regained possession and Cobain crashed over under the posts after being put through by Helen McGhee. Jemma Jackson converted and Ulster led by 28 – 0.
By this stage quite a few changes had been made to the starting line up, the most noticeable being Jackson and Claire McLaughlin coming on at out half and Inside centre respectively. Aishling O’Connell also changed sides due to injuries in the Old Belvedere panel.
Indeed a rousing mid field break by O’Connell took Old Belvo deep into Ulster territory where they finished off their chance to touch down out wide, taking the score to 28 – 5.
Ulster finished strongly with McLaughlin crossing out wide before Maguire crossed late with the best score of he game. Maguire started the move in her own 22 and was on hand to finish it off after the ball had went through most of the players hands en route.
Final score: Old Belvedere 5 Ulster Select 38
That’s two hit outs for Ulster Select women this season, which is good to see, and it’s been a pleasing brand of rugby that they’ve been trying to develop. They have scored 88 points and conceded 5.
Hopefully, with the Women’s game now awash with new sponsors we’ll see a few more games against more testing opposition before the team go into the inter-provincial series in December.