||30 - 7
Ballynahinch 2nd XV 30
Enniskillen 1st XV 7
Enniskillen 1st XV traveled to Ballynahinch 2nd XV last weekend as firm underdogs given the two sides’ recent form. While the result was as predicted, Skins didn’t quite follow the script, putting in a solid first half performance that had them leading at half time, before teetering off in the second half and allowing Hinch to rack up a steep scoreline.
From the outset the defence was noticeably improved from Skins, looking hungry and physical in the first half with a suffocating line speed that made the high flying Hinch side look very ordinary in the early exchanges. Some huge hits from Johnston and industrious work from Holden and Donnelly around the corner kept the big Hinch forward pack at bay while the centre pairing of O’Shea and Ferguson marshalled the line well.
Attack was much improved too with the back three of Balmer, Finlay and Millar counter attacking well against some probing kicks from the home side. Around the 15 minute mark strong carries from the pack and a dominant Enniskillen scrum had Hinch on the back foot; after some short range carries from the forwards the ball popped out and scrum half Matty Dane reacted well and broke around the fringe of the ruck for a try, converted by McVitty to go 7-0 up.
Skins continued to play all the rugby for the rest of the half but failed to convert the opportunities into points, the defence from the home side proving hard to break down. Hinch began to get some more possession now and worked their way into the Skins half. The defence was good from Enniskillen and Parke did well to disrupt the attacking line out which helped keep the side out for some time before they eventually broke through in midfield and brought the scoreline to 7-5 going into half time.
The second half was a good contest in the early exchanges but Skins seemed to tire now and make mistakes in their frustration, reverting to the previous week’s habit of giving away penalties for creeping offside and breakdown infringements. Hinch took the lead from just such a penalty 10 minutes in to go 8-7 up. The speed of reorganisation in defence from Skins began to slow now and space out wide began to present itself for the Hinch attack, well exploited as they broke through for a try 20 minutes into the half to go 13-7 up.
The performance deteriorated now from Enniskillen as Hinch showed their conditioning and punished the visitors whose heads now began to drop. The Skins pack began to bunch up now and Hinch continued to exploit the overlap with a hard running back line, running in three tries in the final 20 minutes to shine a harsh light on the contest.
It was a much improved performance from the 1st XV who seem to be growing week by week now and played some of their best rugby this season against one of the strongest sides they’ll face at this level. If they can carry this form into the league they will surely see improved fortunes going into November.