||28 - 13
Enniskillen First XV enjoyed an excellent start to their league campaign on Saturday with a bonus point win over Lisburn RFC.
From the offset Enniskillen looked to be the more threatening side, the skins forwards in particular looked the more physical of the two packs and this was particularly evident in the Scrum where the front row of Richard Beatty, Steven Fox and Gareth Beatty dominated throughout and put Lisburn under constant pressure.
The first score looked to be straight from the training park when a well executed line out reached Nick Finlay at out-half who glided through the bewildered Lisburn defence and offloaded to captain Jamie Johnston for a try under the posts.
Belligerent ball carrying from David Buchanan and David Taylor in the pack constantly battered the Lisburn defence and the intensity of the clear out at the ruck was as good as we’ve seen from Skins in some time, allowing plenty of quick ball for the back line to work with.
The next try came from another great break from Nick Finlay after some aggressive mauling from the forwards, Donagh O’Callaghan providing good support and taking the try.
There was a brief break in play after some chaotic clashes saw a number of players bloodied and bruised but it was eventually defused and play continued with good defence from both sides keeping the contest very balanced before the half finished up 14-3.
Enniskillen kicked off the second half and an eager chase had Lisburn pinned deep in their own half and under pressure from the skins forwards, Nick Finlay then utilised a magnificent running line from Ashley Finlay for the third try.
Lisburn defended well in the second half and many attempts from Enniskillen to extend the lead were repelled but a beautifully orchestrated team try secured the bonus point. Another powerful skins scrum and seemingly unstoppable carry from Jamie Johnston at number eight put Lisburn firmly on the back foot; then with some quick distribution through Kyle Johnston, Nick Finlay provided a dexterous offload for Kaine Holden who displayed an athletic finish to cross the line.
A quick tap and impressive kick and chase from the Lisburn hooker allowed them a consolation try before full time and combined with two successful penalty attempts over 80 minutes this left the final score at 28-13.
Enniskillen will be very pleased with a well rounded team performance and an entertaining spectacle for the supporters, and although head coach Norman Richmond will be ever reserved about the victory there are undoubtedly many positives to take from the encounter.
“I’m very pleased with the performance of the team, pre-season training has transferred into the beginning of the League with an excellent result.
“From the whistle we saw a committed team playing with the intensity that I know we are capable of throughout the season, it was great to see Jamie Johnston leading from the front and taking the opening score between the posts and setting the standard that we expect.
“Not to become complacent and like any coach there is still a bit of work to be done to ensure that this team performs to the standards that we would expect week in week out, although I am content and excited that entertaining rugby has returned to Mullaghmeen, this Saturday we will travel to Randalstown and we need to ensure that we step up again having been beaten by them home and away last year.”
The First XV play away to Randalstown this weekend in their second league encounter.