|Enniskillen 2nd XV
||51 - 0
||Portadown 3rd XV
On Saturday past, Skins 2nd's locked horns with Portadown 3rds for a festive fixture in wintry conditions.
Despite the chill on the air, the game had a bit of spice to it as Skins felt in the last fixture between the teams Portadown played a team stronger than 3rd XV as advertised.
With this in mind, and captain Alan Ferguson's passionate team talk still ringing in their ears it was skins who started brightest from the kick off. Cathal McGarry claimed the high ball for Skins and ran at the Portadown pack, making good ground before setting up a ruck. From the ruck David Taylor stood at first receiver and ran through the Portadown fly half as if he wasn't there. With more strong running from the likes of Stevie Welsh, Ricky Lee, Alan Ferguson and Michael Law to name a few, Skins found themselves with a ruck on the left hand side of the pitch, twenty metres from the Portadown line. The visitors were so blown away by Skins ferocious carrying that they failed to set up any defenders on the blindside. Scrum half Paddy McCleery spotted this and took advantage to dart in and score just left of the posts. Daniel Allister converted to leave the score 7-0 with barely a few minutes played.
The game continued in much the same way in the first half with Skins forwards pummelling the Portadown defence, giving the home team's silky backs plenty of go forward ball to work with. Shortly after Skins first try they doubled their lead when Portadown were perplexed by Robert Connor's great angle off a mis placed pass from his half back partner to glide through the line of blue and dot down under the posts. Allister gladly added the extras.
Skins gave their opposition very little ball in the opening stages of the game which led to Portadown getting frustrated and giving away a penalty in front of the posts. Daniel Allister stepped forward and turned the screw to extend the lead to 17-0.
Portadown looked like they were still feeling the effects of some festive partying, and Robert Connor didn't brighten their mood when he ruthlessly pinned them back with some smart kicks. From one such kick Skins set up a maul from the line out and drove nearly 30 metres to the line, however Portadown took it to ground just short. Skins recycled it well before Cathal McGarry scored an epic try on the right hand touchline where he ploughed through four men after a questionable pass from the scrum half off the back of a ruck.
Portadown looked for ways to play against this skins side, but every time they tried something the clever skins defence shut the door in their face. The back three of Daniel Allister, Lloyd Harte and Chris Henry covered any kicks the visitors put in. Richard Henderson and Michael Law commanded the defensive line, and the tireless defending of Eric Elliott and Harte, swiftly shut down any Portadown hopes of a score before half time. Harte in particular went through a spell of putting in several bone crunching hits in a row that had the visitors running for cover.
Again and again Skins attacked Portadown with huge carries from the forwards and clever running from the backs. After a smart quick tap from Taylor and a good support line from Eric Elliott Skins found themselves once again with the Portadown line at their mercy. McCleery tried a quick snipe but was stopped short, and once the ball was recycled Richie Beatty had a go himself, with his strength proving to be the difference as he scored another for the maroon machine.
Clinical kicking from Connor and unforgiving defence then gave Skins a scrum five metres from the line right in front of the posts. The front row of Ferguson, Welsh and Beatty had scrummaged well all day, and it was no different when they gave a great platform for Taylor to power his way under the posts for another try before the half. Allister added the extras to leave the halftime score at 36-0 to the home side.
The relentless tide of maroon carried on in the second half, especially with the introduction of the tireless William Finlay to the front row and Kaine Holden to the wing, a position he has been begging to play all season.
Enniskillen got their next score when Stevie Welsh showed that he is a lot more than just a bull in a china shop with a perfectly timed and placed pass to the on coming Jack Harte who had spotted a gap and steamed through it leaving defenders in his wake and scoring under the posts from thirty metres out. Allister again provided the extras.
Skins relentless pressure paid off again when Taylor carried from a scrum and was stopped just short of the line. When play was reversed however no one was going to stop Ricky Lee from a few metres out. No one did.
Skins last score of the day came from a smart move off the base of a scrum in which Taylor picked and passed to his scrum half, who gave it to Chris Henry who timed his pass to Harte well, for the flanker, turned full back to slide over in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful meaning the game ended with a pleasing score line of 51-0.