||33 - 3
A rain soaked heavy day and another heavy defeat for an Enniskillen 1st XV that is finding it’s start to the second season in the top junior division considerably less forgiving than it’s first. Despite a good opening win against Portadown they have conceded 86 points in total from their first three fixtures and scored only 30, an unusually slack defensive statistic for the side.
There was no let up and the game was virtually over after 10 minutes, as in the Armagh match two weeks ago, poor tackling and bad defensive organisation cost the visitors 14 points early on. A period of forward revival gave hope to the support but a lack of execution from Skins in the Carrick half cost them possession, and a further try in the final minutes of the half saw the teams switch around with Enniskillen 0-19 down.
The rain was relentless and underfoot conditions equally bad. The second half delivered some respite for the few travelling supporters but it did not stop a strong determined home side adding two further converted tries. Nor did it stem the series of elemental handling and passing mistakes of the Enniskillen backs.
A converted penalty by out-half Lendrum was the team’s only reward from a long period of pressure in the Carrick half. In a match where the home side dominated most facets of open play, Scrums, though inconsistent, were dominant on occasion and marked a positive first outing for Sam Parke, and recent addition Jamie McKane who continues to gain 1st XV experience. Line outs were similarly marked by peaks and troughs but Holden’s jumping was excellent in disrupting Carrick ball. The Enniskillen three quarters seemed to simply malfunction at times.
It was a disappointing outing for Skins but Carrick are an infamously difficult side to play on their home ground, running in an even larger victory in last year’s encounter. The home side adjusted well to the conditions and kept ball in hand using their large pack to bombard the Skins line, whereas Skins were probably too enterprising, lacking patience in attack and physicality in defence.
Skins face another tough test this weekend at home to Instonians and will hope the Mullaghmeen surroundings ignite some fire in the 1st XV. An opportunity for retribution is close to hand too as they host Carrick in the junior cup 2nd round the following weekend.