I should have been seeing Simon Day performing his characters but that was cancelled, so I now had a free Friday night.
That said, the cancellation was last month, so it wasn’t a dramatic change of plan, but with Ulster at home, I decided to make this my one Ulster match of the season.
I usually do one Ulster match a season usually a European game. However, the two pre-Christmas European home matches are inconveniently scheduled, both clashing with Linfield matches.
The home match against Munster on Friday 21st December was very tempting, but I want to keep that date free in case Linfield’s match against Glenavon is brought forward to the Friday night for TV coverage.
I popped down and purchased a ticket from the Ticket Office outside, which was unusually disorganised for me. Tickets were available on the day and it wasn’t as big a crowd as recent years.
Not only was I able to pick up a ticket on the day, it was very spacious in the Terrace where I was, as well as being able to see lots of empty seats in the other stand behind the goal and in the main stand.
Ulster’s season has been stop-start so far, wins usually followed by defeats, and the defeats were usually memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Ulster got off to a flying start and were 10-0 up (one of each, a try, a conversion and a penalty) after 12 minutes and looked like they were going to run away with it.
Dragons tried to launch a fightback by getting three points before a David Shanahan try (which was converted) made it 17-3 and gave Ulster some breathing space.
Any hopes Ulster had of an easy evening were put on hold when Dragons put ten points on the board to make it 17-13.
The dynamic changed in the last minute of the half when a Michael Lowry try, again converted, made it 24-13, giving Ulster some breathing space and changed the mood of the crowd at half-time.
I was stood behind the goal that Ulster were attacking, so in the second-half, I was hoping that I wouldn’t be seeing any action close up.
Both teams notched a converted try each to leave it 29-18 to Ulster with ten minutes to go, the game still not won, but no reason for Ulster to be nervous. Unless they conceded, that is.
It was Ulster who got the next try, which was concerted, to make it 36-18, exactly twice the opposition score, and with one minute to go, that was the game for Ulster.
A good evening’s entertainment and a good win for Ulster. Not a bad choice for my one game of the season.