The Ravens secured a home quarter final in the British and Irish Cup with a bonus point win in an entertaining British and Irish Cup fixture away to Rotherham Titans.
Despite going down to an early try the Ravens responded and excellent work from their forwards and backs resulted in two first half tries. Following McKinney’s second penalty, loose head prop Black stormed over from close range and just before the break full back Nelson finished a neat move through the backs to dot down in the corner. McKinney converted the first and Ulster led 12-18 at the interval.
Ulster continued to edge matters in the second period and their backs in particular looked sharp. However, it was Titans who scored next on the hour mark, after a clever chip over the top was collected by the impressive Peter Homan, who gathered ahead of two defenders to race in from 25 metres to score a fine unconverted try and reduce the arrears to a single point.
Once again Ulster’s youngsters responded and another impressive move involving their nippy backs resulted in Nelson collecting his 2nd try of the match as he touched down in the corner. Eight minutes from time and Nelson increased the visitors lead to 26-17 after taking over kicking duties from the replaced McKinney.
Five minutes from time and Titans gave themselves a sniff of victory after Carl Kirwan’s impressive try was converted to leave the hosts trailing by just two points.
Chasing the bonus point score the Ravens open side flanker Willie Faloon bundled over in the corner to seal a 31-24 victory for the Ulster youngsters.
Referee: Ian Davies
Rotherham Titans: McMahon (T), Wade (T), Homan (T), Kirwan (T), Hodgson (2C).
Ulster Ravens: Black (T), Nelson (2T, 1P), W Fallon (T), McKinney (2P, 1C).
Rotherham Titans: 15 Stephen Hamilton, 14 John McMahon, 13 Elliot Brierley, 12 Byron Godfrey, 11 Peter Homan, 10 Cliffie Hodgson, 9 Matt Rhodes, 1 Jamie Kilbane, 2 Jan-Francois Bester (White 60), 3 Ben Hooper, 4 Ben Harris, 5 Adrian Griffiths, 6 Ben Wade, 7 Carl Kirwan, 8 Sam Dickinson (Capt.) (Maddison 60).
Replacements: 16 Ross White, 17 Ted Stagg, 18 Rob O’Donnell, 19 Shane Cahill, 20 Barney Maddison, 21 Jimmy Williams, 22 Ed Tellwright.
Ulster Ravens: 15 P Nelson (Andrew 75), 14 C Gaston, 13 I Whitten, 12 C Farrell, 11 C Cochrane, 10 J McKinney (Allen 45), 9 I Porter (McIlroy 45), 1 C Black, 2 A Kyriacou (Capt.) (Annett 65), 3 J Cronin (Carey 60), 4 J Simpson (O’Mahoney 75), 5 L Stevenson, 6 A Birch, 7 W Faloon, 8 M McComish (N Faloon 70).
Replacements: 16 N Annett, 17 C Carey, 18 D O’Mahoney, 19 N Faloon, 20 B McIlroy, 21 M Allen, 22 R Andrew.