Ulster A (12) 38
TRY: Johnny McPhillips, Lorcan Dow, Jonny Murphy, Darren Cave (2), David Busby. CON: Johnny McPhillips, Mark Best (3).
London Scottish (14) 21
TRY: Danny Kenny, Dan Koroi, Joe Atkinson. CON: Peter Lydon (3).
Ulster A kept their British and Irish Cup campaign well on track with a try bonus 38 – 21 win against London Scottish at Ravenhill last night.
Johnny McPhillips and Lorcan Dow crossed in a scrappy first half performance, however Ulster cut loose in the second with Jonny Murphy, Darren Cave (twice) and David Busby all crossing for a convincing win. McPhillips added one conversion in the first half and Mark Best converted three in the second.
Both teams came into the game with a chance of progressing to the knock out stages and the visitors came out keen to make their mark. Scottish were awarded an early penalty for an attempted intercept and they kicked deep into the Ulster 22 for a line out. Their ambitions were rewarded when they drove over the Ulster line, hooker Danny Kenny dotting down at the back of the maul. Full back Peter Lydon converted and the visitors led 0 – 7 after five minutes.
Ulster came back strongly and after a period of sustained pressure, where a few chances went begging, Mark Best found Johnny McPhillips in space for the outhalf to score out wide. McPhillips missed the conversion leaving the score at 5 – 7 after 13 minutes.
Despite losing Rob Lyttle to injury, replaced by Jack Owens, Ulster continued to apply pressure and they took the lead on the 20th minute when Lorcan Dow crossed following a break of the back of a line out by Robbie Diack. McPhillips converted and Ulster led 12 – 7.
Things got a bit sloppy after that and a midfield mix up by Ulster gave Scottish another chance to kick to the corner. A poorly defended maul saw Dan Koroi burst through for the visitors second score. Lydon added the conversion, off the post, and the visitors were back in front at 12 – 14 after 26 minutes.
Ulster had a couple more chances before the break but a knock on at a line out allowed Scottish to clear their danger area. Drop goal and penalty attempts by McPhillips were off the mark, the teams turning round with the visitors leading by two points.
The standard of play proved dramatically after the break with Ulster’s big name players coming to the fore, Gilroy and Cave particularly impressive.
However the second half scoring was started by the lesser known Jonny Murphy who finished off yet another driving maul for the hosts. McPhillips missed the conversion but Ulster were back in front at 17 – 14 after 45 mins.
Gilroy and Cave then cut loose with Cave benefiting from two searing breaks by Gilly. Mark Best took over kicking duties and converted both to give Ulster a comfortable 31 – 14 lead at the start of the final quarter.
Scottish came back with a try of their own, Joe Atkinson crossing as Ulster’s defence opened up and with Lydon adding the extras the visitors were back in the hunt at 31 – 21 with thirteen minutes left.
However the Ulster backs were just too hot to handle and a delightful chip by Best was latched on to by David Busby, the winger sprinting clear to score. Best added the conversion and Ulster looked home and hosed at 38 – 21.
Scottish battled hard in the closing minutes in their attempt to get a bonus point try but Ulster held firm to close out the game.
Final Score: Ulster A 38 London Scottish 21
ULSTER A: Rob Lyttle, Craig Gilroy, Darren Cave, Mark Best, David Busby, Johnny McPhillips, Jonny Stewart, Tommy O’Hagan, Jonny Murphy, Ricky Lutton, Robbie Diack, John Donnan, Stephen Mulholland, Conor Joyce, Lorcan Dow. Replacements: Zack McCall, Craig Trenier, Alex Thompson, Connor Smyth, Johnny Creighton, Rory Butler, Jack Owens.