venue: Upezhtsiems Stadium, Riga
24th July 2009
Full Match Report
EUROPEAN BOWL GAME 1
Ukraine beat holders Latvia 40-6 on Friday night in the opening European Bowl clash in Riga, putting in an impressive, polished performance that saw them dominate from the start. Despite enduring a 24 hour bus trip from Kharkiv, the visitors assumed early field position, their methodical, precise approach giving them a stranglehold on the proceedings.
Sergey Romanko capitalised on the good work of the Ukranian pack, barging over for the opening try and adding the conversion for good measure. The hosts, urged on by their vocal fans, halved the deficit in the tenth minute, Vido Valdavs Jnr kicking a penalty but on the re-start, an indiscretion allowed the Ukranians to again set up camp in the home quarter; Artur Martyrosyan making the most of the opportunity to touch down near the posts and Romanko converting.
Valdavs Jnr produced a superb try saving tackle to temporarily stem the visitor’s flow but more determined work from their pack resulted in Mikhail Troyan forcing his way over, Romanko adding the extras to see his side into an 18-2 half time lead. The start of the second half saw the Ukranians quickly re-establish territorial supremacy, Pavel Kardakov going over wide on the right and Romanko’s trusty boot landing the touchline conversion. Latvia stood toe-to-toe for the next ten minutes but their remaining resistance was broken when scrum half Artem Ljubensky weaved over for a fine solo score and electrifying winger Romanko raced 50 metres for the try of the game, which saw him end with 20 points.
Ainars Berzinsh began a Latvian counter but, just as they were looking to assert some authority, a kick through by the visitors was pounced on by Troyan for his second and his side’s seventh and last touch down. Although denied the vast majority of possession, Latvia were rewarded for their determination and willingness to move the ball when home town hero Robertrs Ashmolis, superbly exploited the blind side to cross in the corner for an excellent try.
The Ukranian party, new favourites for the Bowl, stayed in the Latvian capital for the weekend to complete their games with a match against against Estonia on Sunday. The Estonians host Latvia on Saturday 8th August in Tallin to complete the competition.
Vigo Valdavs Jnr, Robertrs Ashmolis, Ugis Eida, Ugis Rupainis, Kristaps Jakushs, Davis Zagokskis, Andris Andersons, Gints Streikishs, Martsis Petersons, Edgars Tsirulis, Guntars Kreicbergs, Leno Bramanis, Ainars Berzinsh. Subs: Viga Valdavs Snr, Sandis Polis, Aris Andersons, Janis Zvaigzne
Vladimir Mashkin, Andrey Bashevsky, Sergey Romanko, Alexandr Skorbach, Artem Ljubensky, Oleg Markhay, Vladimir Lobanj, Mikhail Troyan, Sergey Kravchenko, Aleksandr Kozak, Pavel Kardakov, Igor Yurkin, Artur Martyrosyan. Subs: Dmitry Semerenko, Zakir Prisnyakov