I think “delightful” is the best way to describe Saturday afternoon’s match day experience at Ravenhill.
Certainly it was delightful to be joined on our train ride to Belfast by the gorgeous Karen who certainly made my view in the taxi a lot more pleasant as we travelled up from Central to The Fortress!
We arrived at Ravers with minutes to spare to be greeted by a delightfully chirpy Walt and a delightfully colourful scene as the sun brightened the Ulster and the Stade flags being waved with much exuberance before the kick off.
In fact, sunshine is such a rare experience these days that I think some of the Ulster players were confused as they struggled to field the ball in the opening moments of the match.
Fortunately, in what seemed no time at all, (I can’t believe it was twenty minutes into the match) Ulster scored their first delightful try to ease the nerves and the match proceeded pretty much to plan up to half time.
An Ulster penalty and a second delightful Ulster try shortly after the restart put the game in the bag and left us free to sing Ulster to victory and boo Roncerro to defeat as he performed his audition for pantomime villain.
Stade eventually caught the mood and produced their own delightful score, but too little to late and, with Justin “The Legend” Fitzpatrick on to steady the ship, Stade’s mini revival soon floundered on the rocks of Ulster’s defence.
Unfortunately Fitzy didn’t score the bonus point try in the 60th minute as I’d predicted earlier in the week, but even that didn’t spoil the game!
The delight continued after the game when on entering the Scoop bar I was surrounded by the delightful Becky, Lourdes and Jen for an impromptu photo shoot and things got even better when Andy K and Fitzy arrived for a bit of glad handing with the supporters. The songs sung as greeting on their arrival were water off a ducks back for Fitzy but Andy was left somewhat dazed at the exuberance of the support.
A few pints and it was off to the Rosie and though only a couple of Stade fans had made the trip to Rosetta Road I was delighted to find a sizable crowd already there.
All that was left was for us to catch the bus at 6:00pm and make our way to the Christmas market. A delightful end to a delightful day!
More photos here.