Enniskillen 2XV v Portadown 2XV Fixture - Dec 29, 2018

Team Score Pts
Enniskillen 2XV 26 - 7 Portadown 2XV

Match Report

Enniskillen 2XV   26
Portadown 3XV    7

Skins 2nd XV go back to top of the league for the new year after hosting Portadown 3rds on Saturday, hopeful after a convincing away win over them last month to repeat the performance. However, with Portadown 2s having a free weekend and the availability of students over the festive period the Portadown side looked a much more physical, youthful team than previously faced. Indeed it proved to be the case as Portadown pressured Skins deep in their 22 early on with carry after carry coming from their bigger forward pack. For almost 10 minutes Skins absorbed the pressure until finally a good tackle by Ewan Ferguson, having a sterling defensive shift at centre all day, allowed No 8 David Taylor to use his experience and strength to get over the ball and be awarded a penalty. The lines were well cleared through the excellent boot of out half John Maguire, allowing Enniskillen to build their attacking game. Jumpers Willis and Kelly took clean line out ball from the excellent darts of Jamie Gibson to set up the maul. The pressure firmly on now and Portadown struggling to organize their defence, it was captain Thornton's quick thinking to pick and go from the base of the ruck and squeeze over the last yard. Soon after Thornton added his and the team’s second with more good forward carries from props McKane and Khew setting up a ruck under the posts for the captains trademark finish. Confidence growing in a very tight and physical game it was time for the backs to show some flare, Scrum half McCleery went blind and swift hands through Maguire and Ferguson set up full back Parkinson to make a half break and a sublime one hand round the back offload to Jack Breen in the tackle allowed the wing to use his speed and strength to shake off a tackle and sprint into the corner. Maguire missed this difficult kick but had converted the previous two, putting a comfortable 19 points between the teams. However, it was an even contest and Portadown had at least an equal share of possession and territory so, despite the best defensive effort of Bruce, McGovern and Gibson, it was just rewards when Portadown powered over for a try, converted to leave the half time score 19-7 and work still to do. Unfortunately the physical game and tough tackling was taking its toll with Taylor, Khew and Breen leaving the field by halftime, joined by the evasive Scrumhalf converted to wing Josh Kyle who took a knock after some brave defensive work. With a mounting penalty count against skins it was the unfortunate Patton who'd worked tirelessly all day who received the team yellow card, temporarily leaving skins down to 13 players. However, the team were resolute and soon into the second half an opportunity arose when skilfull forward Eric Elliott stole a ball and shipped a basketball pass to the ever available Thornton to steam in from the 22 for the bonus try. Taylor and Khew returned to the field to shore up the defence and once Patton served his time the full compliment team nullified the Portadown attack. Finally a hard hit from Ferguson allowed centre partner Morgan Bruce to pounce on a dropped ball, a kick and chase from one 22 to the other was on and although Bruce was quickest his third chip ahead agonizingly beat him over the dead ball line to leave the fulltime scoreline 26-7. The bonus point win elevates skins back to the top of the league, and with only 2 away games in 2019 there is real optimism from captain Thornton and Managers Cromie and Maguire that with commitment and hard work, promotion can follow. The team will want to redress the defeat to Randalstown, one of only two this season when they host them on the 19th. Then its a cup quarter final on the 26th when Portadown return again and, based on the previous two results, Skins will be hopeful of making the semi's.