||31 - 17
||City of Derry 2XV
Enniskillen 2nd XV came back from a shaky start to claim victory in their first league game last Saturday as they hosted City of Derry 2nd XV.
A strong start from the visitors was a harsh awakening for Enniskillen who realised this was not a side sent to make up the numbers. Then with the help of a supremely dominant scrum and line out, along with some hard running out wide, Enniskillen began to dominate the contest.
An early Derry penalty put them 3 points in front and, from the resultant restart they soon had ball in hand once again and their winger put in a textbook score in the corner, converted to go 10-0 up.
Skins capitalised from a Derry error shortly after to set up a scrum five yards out. A huge shove from the Skins pack broke down into short range carries and eventually Gary Thornton crossed for the first try, converted to reduce the deficit to 10-7.
Derry answered back shortly afterwards as the Enniskillen defensive organisation was found wanting and one of the visiting backs cut through the centre of the Skins defence and ran in under the posts, the home side now trailing 7-17.
Skins became more patient now and relied on the attributes that were clearly wreaking results with their scrum and rolling maul off the line out looking a perfect base to work off. A maul which broke down just short of the Derry line turned into quick pick and go’s which ended in James Carleton crossing the line for a score, unconverted at 12-17.
Skins were back in the Derry half soon again as penalties began to come their way from the scrummaging contest. The back line too looked threatening with good distribution from Matty Dane at scrum half and Adam Lendrum at out half moving the ball well to a hard running centre pairing. A powerful line from Tyler Millar had him cross for a score before half time, converted to bring Skins in the lead 19-17.
The second half was a good contest and the visitors showed enterprise with some big carriers in the forward pack, but their lack of platform at the set piece put them under a lot of pressure in defence and made it hard for them to capitalise in attack. The Skins line out tormented their opposition and stole ball repeatedly while the front row of Khew, Nolan and Ferguson had the opposition going back at an astonishing rate in the scrum and conceding penalties in the process, punished ably by the boot of Lendrum. With plenty of possession to work with the Skins back line began to get some opportunities. Conor Hoy broke the line on the left wing and showed excellent pace and footwork to bring play into the 22 before offloading to Eoin Cleary in support who had the legs to finish the try, unconverted to lead 24-17 and claim the 4 try bonus point.
Derry were still in contention for an upset but a handling error inside their own 22 returned possession to Enniskillen who went on the attack. After numerous close quarter carries it was Jack Rutledge who crossed the line, converted to end the scoring at 31-17 to the home side. It could have been a difficult day for Skins but they responded well to the early pressure and a couple of new faces showed their ability.