||50 - 7
Instonians 1XV 50
Enniskillen 1XV 7
Enniskillen were subject a heavy defeat last Saturday up in Belfast away to league leaders Instonians, suffering a 50-7 scoreline. The Belfast side have been fairly rampant of late and were relentlessly clinical throughout. Despite being underdogs in the contest, Skins will still have been disappointed they didn’t carry on the physicality of their performance the previous week against Carrickfergus and made life much too easy for the home side.
Inst were on the front foot early on; the scrum was going forward despite Cathcart’s allegations to the ref of illegal scrummaging from the Inst tighthead, but play continued unperturbed. The home side’s line out also never missed a beat and Skins failed to exert any pressure. The result was a consistent platform for quick attacking rugby.
Skins managed to keep Instonians out in the early phases but they were clearly under pressure and Inst moved the ball around rapidly, Skins consequently failing to readjust the defensive line quickly enough and not winning the contact area as they had done the previous week.
Penalties began to creep in against Enniskillen and they were soon 3-0 down following a kick at goal. To make the situation worse Skins seemed to be sluggish to the breakdown and tended to get isolated, resulting in a frustrating number of turnovers at the ruck when they had the ball. Additionally a very competent Inst back three dealt extremely well with any attempted kicks for territory; the overall effect was next to no possession for the the Fermanagh men.
The Skins defence continued to hold well in the early stages. Hits from Johnston, Gormley and good disruption from Buchanan was keeping the home side at bay. James Ferguson made numerous cover tackles while debutant Jarlath Maguire on the wing covered well against an experience back line. There was a sense the Skins resolve would have to give, however, as they consistently were on the back foot and could never really clear their lines. A devastating Inst maul made many yards and the back line almost scored but for a James Ferguson cover tackle; Skins worked back well but a few carries later Inst crossed the line through their second row, converted to go 10-0 up.
A Skins penalty shortly after the restart had them back on their own line yet again. Skins disupted a line out and cleared from the resultant scrum but they were still well inside their 22’. The Inst line out wrought rewards yet again, leading to another unstoppable maul that crossed the Skins line, converted again to go 17-0 up. Again territory proved crucial and mistakes had Skins back in the same position before the half. Defending an attacking scrum which had them pushed back over the line to incur another try, converted to go 24-0 down at half time, a dominant half for the Inst pack.
Within minutes of the second half kicking off Skins were another try down, getting turned over in their own half and the ball finding the Inst winger who ran through a number of defenders to bring the score to 31-0. The next score came following a drive from the big Inst second row through midfield, the ball was quickly moved to the Inst flanker who found a gap and went through for another try.
Skins had a good period of play now as they were clearly out of the contest and attempted to put something together. Good carries from Jamie Kelly off the bench helped the side’s momentum and much more intelligent ball carrying from the pack eventually led to Matthew Balmer spotting a gap and running through the Inst defence from well outside the 22’ for an excellently finished try, converted to break the nil at 36-7.
Inst weren’t done however and were back on the Skins 22’ within minutes, another score came out wide as their winger rounded the defence to cross the line. The winger picked up another score minutes later as Inst reclaimed a kick into Skins’ half and spread it wide immediately, leaving the score at 50-7.
James Ferguson almost claimed a score in the dying minutes, a just reward for his sole efforts on the day, but was pulled down short of the line and the game was blown up shortly afterwards.
It was certainly one to forget for Skins who were outclassed on the day, but who will be more annoyed to not have fronted up against the Belfast side. They will hope for a better showing this Saturday as they head to Dromore, a game they could surely target but more importantly a chance for a more dogged performance.