|Randalstown 1st XV
||0 - 21
||Enniskillen 1st XV
RANDALSTOWN 1ST XV 0
ENNISKILLEN 1ST XV 21
Enniskillen 1st XV traveled to the unconventional venue of Antrim Grammar last Saturday to take on Randalstown RFC in one of their final league games, their fourth game in a fortnight in what has been a hectic period of rugby. The 1st XV came into this fixture needing two wins and a bonus point from their final two games to leapfrog 2nd placed league side Coleraine and be eligible for a promotion playoff.
Enniskillen started well with a break down the wing from Ashley Finlay putting them deep into the Randalstown half but a knock on soon afterwards ended the attack. Fortunately the Skins scrum looked to have another day in the ascendency on the cards as Randalstown struggled to take the pressure from the opposing pack, eventually resulting in Enniskillen earning the put in from which Ricky Lee picked at the back of the trundling Skins scrum and crossed the line for the first try, converted by Lendrum.
Whether because complacency crept in with this early score or if it served to ignite Randalstown for the contest, the rest of the first half was a much tighter affair and another score eluded Skins. While both line out and scrum functioned well throughout, and the defence remained true to form, Skins possibly tried to do much in attack which resulted in countless handling errors and forced passes ending periods of pressure on Randalstown. To the home side’s credit they were very determined in defence and their urgent defensive press did a lot to thwart the Enniskillen attack and force some of the aforementioned errors, managing to end the half a mere 7-0 down to Enniskillen.
After reassessing the game at halftime Enniskillen came out showing slightly more control in the second half and played well to territory through the boot of Adam Lendrum. They struggled to find the dynamic rugby they’ve shown in past weeks as Randalstown were very disruptive at the breakdown and determined to slow Enniskillen ball as they sought to release forward runners and their destructive back line. Eventually when a powerful Skins driving maul inside the 22 broke down resulting in a scrum, Skins used their dominance in the area very effectively to put Ricky Lee over once again for his second try, converted by Lendrum to extend the lead to 14-0.
A resilient Randalstown didn’t lie down at this second score and continued to defend well against the Enniskillen onslaught, and at one stage had Skins pinned in their own half, with Skins showing a lack of direct running and making no real ground in attack, but still looking in no real danger of conceding. Thankfully James Ferguson showed some individual flair to inject some pace into the game and broke the line on half way, evading and shrugging off tackles from what seemed like half the Randalstown team to sprint over 50 metres to the try line and cross for the 3rd try, converted again with a time conscious drop goal from Lendrum to extend the lead. Now one try from the desired bonus point win Skins showed a sense of urgency from the restart and battered the opposition defence in an attempt to gain some ground, however a lost ruck in the Randalstown half returned possession to the home side and it was kicked out for full time.
This leaves Skins set for a dramatic contest on Tuesday night in their final game facing table leaders Carrick, and sitting just 4 points behind 2nd placed Coleraine. The game kicks off at 8pm with all support welcome.