|Enniskillen 1st XV
||17 - 0
||Lisburn 1st XV
Enniskillen 1st XV put the gloom of their Donaghadee venture the previous week swiftly behind them in a 17-0 home victory over Lisburn last Saturday, the first contest in the club's Boxing Day festivities. Lisburn's league performance has been poor of late but Enniskillen were surely under no illusions about the seriousness of the contest, Lisburn being a physical side who have always presented an aggressive encounter in recent years.
The game started well for Enniskillen as they managed to retrieve their own kick and ended up deep inside the Lisburn half with good running from Mark O’Shea and some nice phases through the forwards. Eventually the ball was distributed to Ashley Finlay at first receiver who spotted some space in behind the defence and threaded a beautifully weighted grubber kick through for Zach Charlton to score in the corner, impressively converted by Adam Lendrum.
Lisburn applied some good pressure in the Skins half in the following twenty minutes after the score but the Enniskillen defence held well on their own line and the eventual turnover was well cleared from the sizeable boot of Lendrum. Lisburn did have an opportunity for 3 points after a breakdown infringement from Enniskillen on their own 10 metre line but the attempt drifted wide.
Enniskillen remained the dominant team throughout the first half but a high penalty count, mostly for infringements around the ruck area, kept them deprived of possession and defending for most of the game. Additionally, when in attack, they were perhaps impatient at times and forced passes or handling errors thwarted opportunities to build pressure. In contrast to this, when content to build their phases of attack, Enniskillen looked sure to score. A perfect example of this came just before the end of the half when the forwards and backs worked seamlessly well together, with the ball going the width of the field and back before Alex Gormley dragged in defenders with a big carry before offloading to Mark O’Shea to put Ashley Finlay through a well spotted gap for another try, the kick unconverted. Lisburn came back in search of a try with a good break from their inside centre just before the end of the half but Skins held out with some determined cover tackling to end the half 12-0.
Lisburn came out in the second half looking keen to get on the scoreboard but showing some good patience in attack also, eventually forcing Enniskillen to give away a penalty on their own 22 metre line, another let off for the home side as the Lisburn kicker was unable to find his mark to add the points. The majority of the second half was an arm wrestle between the two teams, Lisburn probably having the Lion’s share of the possession and Enniskillen defending well but failing to be clinical in converting attacking opportunities into points. A break from Ashley Finlay in midfield cut the Lisburn defence to pieces but the offload to James Ferguson in support was deemed forward and gave Lisburn some relief for another moment. Soon afterwards Skins number eight Ricky Lee broke from the back of a scrum in his own half and almost put Ferguson through, but for a high tackle, the resultant penalty kick not making touch and once again letting Lisburn off the hook.
Enniskillen did manage to finish the game in style with a try in the final play; starting from a stolen Lisburn put in on the half way from the front row of Warrington, Cathcart and Fox, the ball made it’s way out to Mark O’Shea who evaded his defender before passing to Steve Neill who crossed the line for an unconverted try, leaving the score 17-0 at the final whistle. Skins will feel aggrieved not to have got the four try bonus point from the encounter but will be content with putting in a passionate performance after a harsh result the previous week, and will no doubt address some of the lapses in structure during the week before facing Rainey 2nd XV this Saturday at home in the first round of the Town’s Cup.