|Academy 1st XV
||8 - 5
||Enniskillen 1st XV
Academy RFC 8
Enniskillen RFC 5
Enniskillen 1st XV suffered defeat away to Academy RFC on Saturday afternoon in a league fixture which many were surely surprised to see continue given the recent rainfall and difficult conditons. Academy have struggled in recent games and were probably underdogs in the encounter following Enniskillen’s recent demoliton of Larne at Mullaghmeen. However, with home advantage and the weather conditions rendering Enniskillen’s lethal back line and mobile pack much less effective, it was evident from the outset this game would be a veritable arm wrestle. Enniskillen looked in control from the start playing with the wind and managed to keep Academy pinned in their own half for the majority of the first half. The Enniskillen line out functioned exceptionally well in poor conditions, as did the ensuing maul which made excellent ground, in contrast to the Academy line out who were tormented by Kaine Holden at the front and succumbed to numerous stolen balls and crooked throws. The Academy scrum was a concern for Enniskillen from previous meetings but the Skins front row of Cathcart, Warrington and Fox were highly competitive throughout and dominated the contest on numerous occasions. With set piece going well Enniskillen had plenty of possession to work with but the Academy defence was stern and the conditions generally led to handling errors arising just when Enniskillen began to build for a killer blow. Academy were first to get on the scoreboard with a fairly soft try against the run of play in the first half; Enniskillen were caught short of numbers on the wing and some simple hands from Academy allowed their winger to run in unimpeded to score in the corner for an unconverted try. Skins dusted themselves off and returned to work with some good carrying from Jamie Johnston and Ricky Lee making good ground but progress was slow in the conditions and the first half finished with Academy still leading 5-0.
Enniskillen managed to apply their structure more effectively at times in the second half with some nice attacking interplay between forwards and backs, some hard lines being hit off Lendum at 10. James Ferguson settled into his new role at scrum half well and put in a solid performance. Steve Neill, Zach Charlton and Mark O’Shea in the back line also dealt with the conditions well and were solid under the high ball as Academy tried to force a slip up in a spiralling wind. After Academy gave away a penalty, arguably long overdue given some of the questionable methods at the breakdown from the home side, Enniskillen kicked deep into the Academy half and began to mount an attack, then after some good controlled forward carried Johnston managed to power over the line to even the score at 5-5, Lendrum just drifting wide on the difficult conversion attempt. It was a period of hectic defence from Enniskillen for the last 10 minutes and hearts were well and truly in mouths when Academy were awarded a penalty just outside the 22 metre line to take the lead. The kick drifted wide but Enniskillen failed to make the required ground with the wind against them and another penalty was soon given to the home side following an apparent high tackle, the kicker managing to find his mark this time in the last play of the game to win the contest in an agonising 8-5 scoreline.
A draw would have probably been a fair result on the day as Academy put in a gutsy performance while Enniskillen failed to find their feet on the day. They now welcome league leaders Carrickfergus at home this Saturday in a bid to get their league campaign back on track and derail the current in form side.