||5 - 51
Enniskillen 1st XV suffered another heavy defeat in a tough run of early fixtures as they hosted a rampant Instonians side last weekend. It was a lacklustre performance from Skins who still look to be struggling to get out of third gear, but additionally it was clear the home side were hopelessly outgunned by very strong opposition.
Again Skins struggled to get the mentality right at the kick off and there were three consecutive scores in the first quarter, much of it due to missed tackles and lapses in defensive organisation as the Instonians forwards made good ground in the narrow areas while the backs exploited overlaps out wide. The scrum was a tight affair between the two sides and props Ferguson and Fox got a pat on the back for their efforts on the half way that claimed a penalty. The kick to touch put Skins deep in the Inst half and the forwards broke into phases of pick and go’s off the line out which eventually ended with Holden crossing the line to bring the deficit to 5-17.
This was not to be a sign of reprisal as Inst proved too clinical and scored straight from a blindside move off a scrum just inside the Skins half. Any efforts from Skins to gain territory were in vain as the line out struggled, the scrum was inconsistent and they were put under immense pressure in open play. Another two scores came before the end of the first half to leave the home side trailing 34-5.
There was some positive open play from Skins in the second half, Holden made excellent ground off the back of the scrum and narrow carries from Taylor, Parke and the rest of the pack seemed to be wearing the Inst forwards down well. The defence was better organised now too and the home side made Instonians work a lot harder to find space. There were opportunities for Skins to add points to their tally numerous times deep in the Inst half but small errors left them coming away with nothing. The Belfast opposition, however, converted their opportunities well and ran in three further scores before full time to leave an unflattering 51-5 scoreline on the encounter.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Skins despite this third consecutive defeat. They have admittedly had a tough run of early fixtures and blooded over half a dozen new caps in that period to accommodate injuries. Gary Thornton and Jamie Kelly looked well fit for the physicality of 1st XV last weekend as did Sam Parke who continues to punch above his weight in just his second 1st XV encounter. The key now will be how the side respond to a difficult first month and work to build a performance to be proud of. The 1st XV host Carrick this weekend in the Junior Cup, two weeks after their ill fated away league fixture to the side. Retribution will be the target but more importantly Skins should look to put in a performance fitting to the ability in the side.