||12 - 0
Portadown 1XV 12
Enniskillen 1XV 0
Enniskillen exited the Town’s Cup last Saturday with a 12-0 defeat away to Portadown. Another slow start to the game leaking in two early scores that proved too difficult to come back from, despite a deadlock for the remainder of the game.
Some slack defence around the fringes from Skins in the early stages allowed the home side in for a score to go 5-0 up. Skins brushed it off and responded well from the restart, forcing a penalty from the home side and opting to kick for goal which unfortunately drifted wide.
Enniskillen were dominant in the scrum despite early penalties for not driving straight, and once this was corrected it was a solid foundation, Alex Gormley showing good pace off the back and making decent yards at 8. Penalties had Enniskillen back in their own half and defending yet again, however, and eventually an overlap out wide handed another score to the home side, converted to go 12-0 up.
Sam Parke received a yellow card for repeated team offences at the ruck and, now down to 14 men, Skins situation looked bleaker still. The defensive effort from Skins was much improved, however, and they managed to wind down the clock with strong tackling from the pack and good organisation from the backs, keeping the score unchanged as they returned to full numbers at the end of the half.
Skins saw a lot more ball in the second half as the line out functioned well and the scrum continued to be dominant, stealing a Portadown put-in on one occasion. From this Skins were able to string together more phases than they had in previous weeks but they badly lacked penetration. Strong Portadown defence and poor handling meaning Skins failed to convert pressure into points despite an extended time inside the opposition half. Carries from the forwards were often into traffic and led to a slow ruck and added pressure to retain the ball. The frustration from both sides erupted and they were simultaneously awarded a yellow card for some handbags in the middle of the second half. While the attack was frustrating to watch, the Skins defence remained determined and there was to be no more points up until the final whistle.
Skins will be disappointed to exit the tournament in which they’ve had so much success with in the past. Their priority must, however, be the league, in which they sit in a very dangerous position with just a handful of games remaining. This weekend they host CIYMS, a team who they pushed very close in the away leg, in what will hopefully be a more clinical performance.