|Queens 2nd XV
||14 - 18
||Enniskillen 1st XV
Enniskillen once again defied complacency, and any temptation to lose motivation for the conference league, by registering a win away to Queens 2nd XV in this period of league drought. It was no easy task for Skins as they missed some key players last weekend, many rested as a precaution for this week’s junior cup fixture.
Queens were tenacious from the start and looked to be, in typical enough manner of university sides, a young and mobile side who were keen to use the width of the pitch. However, despite forcing a high tempo work rate from Skins, the home side lacked any real penetration and the Enniskillen defence seemed to read the attacking threat quite easily for the majority of the game.
Enniskillen defended well in the first half but struggled to really get their attack firing on all cylinders. Carries from the returning number eight David Taylor were very effective throughout but ball retention could have been better when hitting the wider areas of the pitch and Skins weren’t quite as clinical as in previous weeks. Thankfully the set piece was dominant in all facets and denied the home side any consistent possession. Newcomer Simon Mcilvene, alongside Cathcart and Fox, went superbly in the front row and the Enniskillen scrum took an almost immeasurable amount of Queens' put ins against the head during the fixture, as well as getting a penalty awarded on a few occasions. The line out also continued to function well through Cadden, Grey and Buchanan.
Once Enniskillen relaxed into the game tactically they were much more effective. Lendrum gained good territory through the boot as always, and eventually, after pinning Queens deep in their own half for some time, David Taylor crossed the line for a try, converted by Lendrum. Lendrum managed another successful three point penalty towards the end of the half as Queens began to get increasingly scrappy and ill disciplined under the pressure of the Enniskillen attack.
The second half continued in the same vein but the interplay between the forwards and backs was much improved, leading to a well worked try from Ashley Finlay at inside centre after some powerful forward carries. It was a tense and rather sloppy finish from Enniskillen as within the space of 5 minutes Queens were gifted two tries; first from a nicely chosen line in midfield through a gap in the Skins defence, followed almost immediately by a score from the restart as the pacy Queens winger found space on the outside of the Enniskillen defence. Thankfully Skins composed themselves and sought to keep the remainder of the contest in the opposition half, eventually leading to another penalty and 3 points from the boot of Lendrum to relieve some pressure until the final whistle, ending the contest 18-14.
It wasn't a textbook performance from
Skins by any means but a spirited display against a young side with some threatening runners, especially considering the number of key players missing from the lineup. This weekend will be an entirely different matter as Enniskillen head away to Ballyclare, a very competent Qualifying One side, in the second round of the Junior cup and will undoubtedly seek to field a full strength side to keep their silverware hopes alive.