Enniskillen 1st XV v UUC 1st XV Fixture - Jan 17, 2015

Team Score Pts
Enniskillen 1st XV 36 - 7 UUC 1st XV

Match Report

On Saturday afternoon Enniskillen First XV achieved another great boost for their league standing with a bonus point victory over University of Ulster Coleraine in appalling conditions, with a thick blanket of snow covering Mullaghmeen; but with the referee deeming the pitch playable it was all for Enniskillen to do against a struggling side who were undoubtedly keen to cause an upset in difficult conditions.

Despite the expectations on the contest, Captain Jamie Johnston was still very pleased to get the intended result amidst the difficulties faced on the day.
 
"The result from Saturday was exactly what we had aimed for, a bonus point win. To take away a win from a game played in 3 inches of snow would have been just fine but to score 6 tries in such conditions was brilliant. Granted our first half performance left a lot to be desired, it took us the first half to warm up, literally. With the score at 7-5 against us at halftime we took the break to regroup and settle into our patterns again. Once the second half began we started playing our brand of rugby and UUC could not deal with us. As a team we know we could and should have done much better than we did but all things considered we can move forward with confidence into the towns cup game on Saturday."
 
The kick off from skins will certainly be one they’d like to forget, but one to remember for UUC player and former skins man Lewis McCrabbe who took the restart at pace and broke through the line as some aspiring tacklers slipped desperately on the snowy terrain, leaving a clear path for McCrabbe to score the only try of the game for UUC, then converted to leave the home side thoroughly shocked and 7 points down.
 
After the resultant restart came up short Enniskillen had an important opportunity to assert their dominance in the scrum which has been so critical in their performances all season, and sure enough after multiple reset scrums Enniskillen came away with the UUC put-in, but unfortunate handling errors disrupted the attack, as they would continue to do for the rest of the half.
 
UUC were tactically very good in the first half, using the conditions well and pinning Enniskillen back with probing kicks, only for good line out work from Richard Grey and Jack Harte to relieve attacking pressure from the visitors. 
 
Enniskillen did show their ability in attack in the first half with the forwards carrying well and Ashley Finlay looking dangerous at 13. Eventually deep in the UUC half Jack Harte gathered a loose ball and made his way over the line but unfortunately knocked the ball on, and was then penalised after expressing his disagreement with the decision which allowed UUC some well needed breathing room. 
 
The remainder of the first half was played mostly deep in UUC territory and Enniskillen had a clear advantage at the set-piece but were to have numerous opportunities spoiled as a result of penalties at the breakdown. Credit to the visiting defence who did well to keep Enniskillen from crossing the line for a long period, but after powerful carries from the forward pack deep into the opposition half, the back line shifted it wide to winger Conor Hoy who found himself in space to score in the corner.
 
The side looked to better settle into their structure now and had another good opportunity to score before halftime following a powerful drive on the UUC 5-metre line through the front row of Richie and Gareth Beatty, and Stephen Welsh, only for the UUC flanker to get a hand to the ball before a try could be scored. 
 
The second half started in rather scrappy fashion yet again and although there was some good attacking phases from skins there were also some dangerous fumbles in the Enniskillen half which almost saw UUC claim another try if not for tackles from O’Callaghan and Hoy. Things began to go Enniskillen’s way eventually when with UUC struggling to deal with high kicks from Chris McVitty in the conditions, the home side were awarded a scrum on the opposing 22-metre line, and after another destructive drive from the forwards Jamie Johnston took a nicely timed inside pass from scrum-half Paddy McCleery and forced his way over the line, converted to leave the score 12-7.
 
UUC retaliated well with a period of pressure in the Enniskillen half but the defensive effort was good from the home side and after eventually forcing a turn over, a kick down field put skins back in the driving seat. A stolen UUC put-in to the scrum on the Enniskillen 5-metre line put the visitors under severe pressure and after some short range carries from the forwards Michael Cadden crossed the line, again converted by McVitty to leave the scoreline 19-7.
 
Enniskillen continued to attack well with good interplay between the backs and forwards, and with penalties coming their way as UUC struggled to deal with the pressure. Another stolen scrum on the UUC 5-metre line gave Enniskillen a golden opportunity and quick hands out to Zach Charlton on the wing gave him a score in the corner and a bonus point for the home side.
 
The floodgates were open for the remainder and when a kick through from Alan Wilkinson was fumbled by the UUC backs, Zach Charlton was on hand to gather the ball and take his second. Soon afterwards a break from Ashley Finlay put Enniskillen back in try scoring distance and when a penalty came their way Paddy McCleery went for the quick tap and scored under the posts, converted to leave the final score 36-7.
 
Enniskillen play at home this weekend to Ards 2nd XV in the second round of the Towns Cup.