Went to Ravenhill last night for my annual European Cup tie, as Ulster took on Leicester.
I almost said “The newly refurbished Ravenhill” as it’s not yet complete, but the bits that were complete, were impressive.
There is new turnstiles. The old and drab looking grey wall has been replaced with something more bright, complete with Ulster branding.
There were no operators, but stewards on hand to help, as it was all computerised as you swiped the barcode on your ticket to enter.
There were some problems with people who had printed tickets trying to get their barcode to scan though.
There were no tents for the bar and club shop any more, those now situated underneath the new stand. I’ve always thought that Ravenhill would be a fantastic stadium if it was all seater at four ends.
I was in the West Terrace, at the end where Ulster attacked in the first-half, got myself a position by the Try Line.
There are now two large TV screens as well in two corners of the ground. When the ball was up at the other end of the pitch, people beside me were turning in the opposite direction to watch the action on the screen.
It would have been nice if the digital clock was still there so people could check what stage the game was at.
For the second-half, I got a space in the new stand and watched the game from there, with supporters having the choice of a seat or standing on the terracing.
Of the game itself, Leicester took an early lead with a converted try, but Ulster replied with a converted try soon after wards. From then on, it was all about ticket as Ulster scored two penalties to Leicester’s oone, leading 13-10 at the break, though Leicester levelled just after half-time.
From there, it was all Ulster and they scored three penalties to lead 22-13, knowing that a converted try for Leicester wouldn’t be enough for them to lead.
Leicester scored a penalty late on, but never looked like winning.
An enjoyable night, can’t wait to go to a match at Ravenhill when it’s fully finished.