EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP B GAME 2 – RUSSIA 24 UKRAINE 18 – VEREYA
Ukraine were halted a metre from the Russian try line searching for a draw with the final play of a great contest, as the Bears ran out narrow 24-18 winners in Vereya.
The visitors, benefitting from a hit out last week in Serbia were in contention throughout and, with seven minutes to play had got it back to 18-12 with the second Oleksandr Skorbach’s self-converted tries.
But from the re-start, Gennady Vepryk’s men knocked on and the Russian’s worked the ball up-field for Kirill Kosharin to post the game breaking score.
Stand-off Skorbach, who scored all Ukraine’s points with a terrific hat trick was a standout, centre Andrey Zdobnikov Russia’s best with five line breaks in the 28 degrees heat.
Ukraine could have taken the lead in the opening exchanges but dropped the ball over the line, a fate that twice befell the Russians later on, Dmitriy Bratko opening the scoring for the home side in the 14th minute with an unconverted try, Artem Grigoryan missing the kick.
Skorbach was over eight minutes later and put Ukraine ahead, Roman Ovchinnikov replying almost immediately to give the Bears an 8-6 half time lead, Eduard Ososkov failing with the extras.
Vladimir Vlasyuk extended Russia’s lead twelve minutes into the second half, Zdobnikov goaling and then extending the lead on the hour to 18-6 with a well-deserved try that he could not convert.
Between the scores, referee Tom Mather had sent Ovchinnikov to the sin bin for a professional foul.
Skorbach hit back in the 70th minute but Ukraine surrendered the initiative, Bratko goaling Kosharin’s score to give them breathing space, Skorbach setting up a frantic finish with his third touchdown.
RUSSIA 24 (8)
Tries: Bratko (14), Ovchinnikov (26), Vlasyuk (52), Zdobnikov (60), Kosharin (73)
Goals: Zdobnikov, Bratko
UKRAINE 18 (6)
Tries: Skorbach 3
Goals: Skorbach 3