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Ravens hang on to set up last match decider

Ulster Ravens 21 London Welsh 17

Ulster Ravens will book their place in the semi-final of the British and Irish Cup if they win their final Pool game against Aberavon with a bonus point.

Neil Doak’s side nearly squandered a 16 points lead last night but hung on to win an entertaining match against London Welsh.

The Ravens got off to the perfect start, scoring 10 points in the first two minutes!

Niall O’Connor slotted over a penalty and from the restart Mark McCrea burst out of defence, fed Ian Whitten who drew the last defender before putting scrum half Paul Marshall over for the opening try. O’Connor converted.

Winger Tommy Seymour was denied a try when he was adjudged to have knocked on when going over the line. But O’Connor landed his second penalty on 11 minutes after the visitors collapsed a scrum.

The visitors had former Scottish outhalf Gordon Ross sinbinned after 17 minutes for killing the ball and O’Connor scored from the resulting penalty.

The English Championship side registered their first points on 33 minutes when full back Ed Lewis-Pratt landed a penalty after the Ravens killed the ball.

London Welsh finished the half the stronger and were rewarded with eight points. Marshall had a kicked charged down under his own posts, and when the visitors moved it wide centre Neil Starling went over in the corner.

Pratt missed the conversion but landed a penalty in first half stoppage time to reduce the Ravens lead to 16-11 at the interval.

Fijian flyer Timoci Nagusa got the Ravens second try when he ran in from his own 10 metre line.

Playing with the aid of the elements, London Welsh enjoyed a sustained period of pressure in the Ravens 22 and Ross added a penalty as the home side were caught offside.

Ross, capped 25 times for Scotland kicked another on 66 minutes and the Ravens had to survive a nervous last few minutes as the visitors forced a series of scrums but couldn’t get the try which would have taken them into the semi-final.

RAVENS: M McCrea; T Seymour, M Allen, I Whitten, TNagusa; N O’Connor, P Marshall; B Young, N Brady (capt), T Court, N McComb, R Caldwell, T Anderson, W Faloon, R Diack. Replacements: A Kyriacou, A Whitten, E O’Donoghue, D Pollock, C Willis, I Humphreys, D Cave.

LONDON WELSH: E Lewis-Pratt; P Sampson, N Starling, S Whatling, E Claassens; G Ross, B Stevenson; D Williams, G O’Meara, M Holford, M Corker, M Powell, J Mills (capt), M Hills, T Brown. Replacements: C Whitehead, L Ward, N Bonner-Evans, L Beach, R Lewis, P Mackey, D Shabbo.

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