||26 - 12
Skins 3rd XV secured the league title for the second year running with six wins from six and a game in hand. The thirds had a pressure match on Saturday at home to Strabane who also needed a win for qualification. From the kick off the Strabane team, who arrived early for a thorough warm up, showed their intent with wave after wave of pressure, a young team willing to throw it out the backline and use their pace.
Staunch defence from the robust centre partnership of Alan Wilkinson and Joel Mulholland was called on often along with a superb back row of Philip Dickie, Connor Maguire and Richie Willis, covering a lot of ground to curb the onslaught.
Captain Adi Breen and his front row of Darren Baker and Rory Morris dominated the scrum thankfully, whilst the accurate throwing of Jonny Wright met the safe hands of reliable lock Aaron Kelly more often than not. Stephen Tummon was as usual gathering and countering reliably from restarts. Despite this, Strabane breeched the defence eventually and deservedly although missing the conversion. Enniskillen had barely been out of their half but, with a rare break and some good support play, found themselves on the attack. The pack recycling at the ruck quickly allowed Daniel Allister, who had a very composed game at scrumhalf, to feed a backline whose quick hands allowed fullback Jarlith Maguire to outpace the chasing defence for the equalizer, converted by Out half Kieth Hurst for an accurate kicking performance.
Now, unbelievably in the lead, Skins decided to dominate and in the close of the half strong running in the backline was followed up by successive tight carrying through the pack, before an awesome display of over twenty phases led to the ball powering over the line through the impressive Connor Maguire for a superb team try, the conversion leaving skins 14-5 up to a bewildered Strabane.
The second half saw an arm wrestle between the packs with neither team truly dominating, until suddenly wing James Cunningham was released and popped a cunning pass inside to his support Alan Wilkinson before meeting the final defender who ran in unopposed for the third try with just a quarter to play. Strabane missed a simple penalty to add to their woes but Skins were now focused on a bonus try.
Despite sterling defence out wide from Gareth Donaldson to stop the backline, slow defensive line speed and vacant pillars at the breakdown allowed Strabane to carry over after three quick rucks for a deserved try, making it an uneasy last 10 minutes with the scoreline 19-12.
However, rather than fold, skins showed the spirit that has helped them climb to top of the league as the pack pressed into the Strabane 22' and clever hands through the backline allowed Joel Mullholland to step through his tacklers and finish under the posts, with Hurst adding the conversion, final score 26-12. A win, league title and Ulster minor league qualification secured. An away trip to Letterkenny in two weeks will be an enjoyable end to the league before cup games begin in December.