Ulster A are playing some attractive rugby these days as they continue to keep the pressure on Leinster A at the top of the Celtic Cup league table and their game against Cardiff Blues A on Saturday evening at Malone RFC was no exception as they ran in four tries in their 32 – 5 win.
It was a cagey enough opening as the team’s tested each other out, a penalty from Ulster’s Bruce Houston the only score in the first quarter.
Ulster looked to be getting on top and they went further ahead after Ross Adair crashed over off the back of a five meter scrum for an unconverted try from the experience centre.
A bizarre tackle by Cardiff on Azur Allison saw the Ulster player yellow carded as the Cardiff player upended himself but Ulster responded well and added a second penalty from Houston to take an 11 – 0 lead into the break.
A rampant Peter Cooper in open space got the second half off to a grand start with the Malone man taking the ball into the 22 before an acrobatic offload which Matthew Dalton, Hayden Hyde and Graham Curtis kept alive for Allison to barge over for a converted try.
It got better for Ulster with the try of this game, and many others, following shortly after.
Hyde started the move deep in his own half before the ball was taken on by Nathan Doak who offloaded to Conor Rankin on full charge for an extended run in. The timing of the passes were spot on in an exceptionally crisp execution. Huston converted from under the posts as the score rattled along to 25 – 0 for the home side.
All that was missing was the bonus point and that was duly delivered when Huston put Hyde over for the bonus point score, the outhalf adding the conversion.
With Ulster leading 32 – 0 with minutes left the game was done and dusted but Cardiff got some reward from their efforts throughout the game with a late try from wing Dale Stuckey who chased down his own kick to slide over for the consolation score.
Final score Ulster A 32 Cardiff Blues A 5
Ulster A: Conor Rankin, Ethan McIlroy, Ross Adair, Hayden Hyde, Graham Curtis, Bruce Houston, Nathan Doak, Callum Reid, Tom Stewart, Peter Cooper, Matthew Dalton, Jack Regan, Joe Dunleavy, David McCann (C), Azur Allison. Replacements: Claytan Milligan, Paul Mullen, Jonny Blair, JJ McKee, Matthew Agnew, Aaron Hall, Lewis Finlay, Greg Hutley.
Cardiff Blues A: Ioan Davies, Dafydd Smith, Barney Nightingale, Sam Beard (C), Dale Stuckey, Gareth Thompson, Jamie Hill, Huw Owen, Evan Yardley, Will Davies-King, James Ratti, Callum Bradbury, Sean Moore, Nathan Hudd, Morgan Allen. Replacements: Cameron Lewis, Ben Stephens, Ben Warren, Paddy McBride, Alex Everett, James Soanes, Rhys Davies, Alex Knott.
Stacks of pictures below.
Photo credit – Bob Given Photography & John McMurtry