|Enniskillen 1st XV
||52 - 0
Enniskillen 1st XV kicked off their Junior Cup campaign on Saturday in cataclysmic form with a 52-0 win over fellow Qualifying Two league side Grosvenor RFC. While Enniskillen’s focus will obviously be on league hopes this season, silverware has eluded the 1st XV for many years, and after making the semi-final of the competition last year they will undoubtedly seek to compete for cup glory yet again this season.
The Enniskillen backs showed their ability early on with a swift counter attack from Michael Law at full back carving through the opposition only to be taken down just inside the 22 metre line, causing all sorts of havoc until an eventual knock on due to some good defensive pressure from Grosvenor earned some respite for the visitors. However, the relief didn’t last long as Grosvenor were penalised for breakdown infringements in midfield and gave Adam Lendrum the opportunity for a long range kick to touch to set up an Enniskillen line out on the 5 metre line. The lineout functioned well and the resultant maul allowed back rower Michael Cadden to cross the line for the first try of the match.
Grosvenor responded well with a break in midfield from their pacy right winger, and a resultant penalty against Enniskillen for ruck infringements while under pressure deep in their own half. The Belfast side failed to kick the points and this was to be an unfortunate trend for them throughout as they just lacked an edge of precision to convert numerous well worked opportunities during the game.
Skins put some good attacking phases together now with the forwards carrying well and the backs looking threatening with ball in hand. A cunning box kick from Ricky Connor was backed by relentless pressure from the chasers, forcing the fullback into touch deep in the Grosvenor half and setting up another Enniskillen line out within scoring distance. It was a similar effort again as a well structured maul crept towards the line with Kaine Holden crossing the line with ease for the second try.
Grosvenor struggled to put any functioning attack together as the Enniskillen defence remained tenacious and Kaine Holden proving a disruptive influence at the line out. Another 3 points came from the boot of Adam Lendrum after powerful carrying from Wilkinson and Johnston forced some sloppy rucking from the Grosvenor defence. The next Grosvenor attack came from a decent scrum in midfield but backfired horribly as Alan Wilkinson stole an intercept inside his own half and ran the pitch for Skins’ 3rd try.
The pressure from the home side showed no sign of waning as runs from Mark O’Shea and Jamie Johnston soon had Enniskillen knocking on the door once again, a forward pass the only saving grace for the visitors. However, poor clearance off the scrum allowed Ashley Finlay to weave through the scrambling Grosvenor defence for try number four at the end of the half.
Grosvenor started the second half much better with some good attacking phases, breaking the line on occasion and forcing resolute defence from the home side; a probing kick through forcing a touch down behind the line from Adam Lendrum to relieve the pressure. Once again errors in the Grosvenor line out returned possession to Enniskillen, and an excellent running line from Kaine Holden, off Nick Finlay on half way, totally threw the defence and the second row ran the pitch for the first score of the second half.
The floodgates were open now and the next try came soon afterwards from a well worked line out on the 22 metre line as Alex Gormley picked from the back of the maul and gave a nicely timed offload to scrum half Ricky Connor who put Johnston through for another score. Grosvenor continued to attack in vain but there was simply no give in the Enniskillen defence. A kick to Ashley Finlay inside his own 22 metre line saw a phenomenal counter attack up the touchline with multiple offloads between the backs before it was finally finished by Michael law for a spectacular score. Skins' high functioning line out also continued to rack up points for the home side as Johnston went over for another try from a catch and drive set up on the 5 metre line. Grosvenor admirably battled on and continued to look for some success in attack but an unexpected turnover just inside their half gave Michael Law an ocean of space to score his second, and the final try of the match to end the contest 52-0.
While Enniskillen will surely have tougher tests ahead, in both league and cup fixtures, it was still a clinical performance from the side who took their opportunities well, and duly put their opposition to the sword. The 1st XV now return to their conference league competition where they meet Banbridge 2nd XV this weekend at home.