Belfast Telegraph

Ulster make the most of mist opportunity

Billy on the Box

There was a certain irony when the nice man on Sky told us to press the red button on Saturday lunchtime to see Ulster take on Treviso in Italy and when we did you couldn't see three feet in front of you.

It was a tad on the foggy side and didn't make life easy for intrepid commentating duo Simon Ward and Tyrone Howe, but despite this, Ulster started on the front foot and a sizzling burst by Gilroy had them on the edge of their seats, although they couldn't tell if it was Bet or Alec.

Similar confusion arose when it came to the first penalty attempt, with Ward less than confident in who was about to kick the ball. "I think it's Pienaar ... No, it's Jackson," he said, not knowing if it was Francois or Michael.

Still, it went over, apparently, as Ward took his lead from the visiting fans saying 'the Ulstermen can stand and applaud' but to be honest they could have been applauding someone arriving with a pie for all he knew.

It was a cagey affair, Ward remarking that at home you see 'Treviso in a very different light – if you pardon the pun – while Howe commented that 'this Treviso side is unrecognisable from last week.' It was hard to argue.

A try finally arrived just before the break, although there was a lot of debate about Luke Marshall's effort, mainly along the lines of no-one had a clue if he had scored but with the doors now well and truly blown off, the Italians surrendered without much of a fight in the second period.

A man down already, they weren't helped by a yellow card for local hero Brendan Williams that went 'down like an unstamped Christmas card' according to Ward who, by now, had lost the run of himself, saying that the home side had been reduced to nine men. I know he's an important player, but not worth five?

It was mission accomplished for Mark Anscombe and his men, but never mind the fog, feel more for his four-legged friend as he revealed how losing brings out the mean side in him on UTV Live on Monday evening. "You get disappointed, kick the dog and carry on," he said, as Sparky was spotted making a quick phone call to the USPCA up at Ravenhill.

 

The good, the bad and the ugly

THE GOOD: One of the highlights of the first round at the World Darts Championships was the battle of the Belgian Huybrechts brothers. Kim eventually edged past older sibling, Ronny, but this is not the first time this has happened. Who could ever forget that night at the Lakeside when Eric Bristow got the better of his younger sibling, Jenny ...

THE BAD: The goals bonanza at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday as Man City gave Arsenal a damned good thrashing had Michael Owen going a bit doolally on BT Sport. As the goals rained in, he blurted out 'and do I like that finish?' in some sort of strange tribute act to Graham Taylor. Personally I'd send him to Afghanistan with David Cameron as punishment.

THE UGLY: Chris Kamara was full of the Christmas cheer on Soccer Saturday at Upton Park as he chortled 'Andre Marriner is the pantomime villain here – oh yes he is' only for to be out-punned by fellow ugly sister, Jeff Stelling, back in the studio. "Tony Cottee is appearing in panto – I'm not sure who the other six are ... "

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