||24 - 0
Instonians 1XV 24
Enniskillen 1XV 0
Enniskillen 1st XV traveled to Shaw’s bridge last Saturday to take on Instonians with a tough task ahead given the Belfast side’s strong league performance and regular dominance on their home patch. Inst picked up a bonus point win in the dying minutes but didn’t have it all their own way as Skins had the side under pressure frequently in the match and played some of their best rugby so far this year but, however, failed to get over the line following periods of pressure, while the home side were clinical when in the Enniskillen half.
Skins pressure from the restart forced a knock on, the resultant scrum proved solid and was an area of dominance for Skins as props Ferguson and Beatty, with Patton off the bench, showed their prowess against a seasoned Inst front row; the line out too functioned flawlessly through Parke and Carleton. The pack began to carry ball at the home side now with David Taylor and Jamie Kelly making a good dent in the Inst defence. The home side looked rattled and gave away a penalty for creeping offside, an opportunity for a lead but Finlay’s kick unfortunately drifted wide.
Enniskillen regrouped and kept the opposition camped in their own half before being awarded another penalty at the scrum following good work from Beatty, again the kick drifted wide and Skins were yet to claim points for their stellar start.
A penalty came the way of the home side now and they began their first bit of possession in the Skins half. It didn’t take long before their dangerous backs ran in a try in the corner, converted to go 7-0 up. They claimed another penalty shortly after the restart and had Skins back 10 metres from their try line once again, but a crucial steal from James Carleton at the line out gave Lendrum a chance for an excellent clearance to relieve some pressure. Unfortunately another break from the Inst backline from the resultant line out put another try on the board, converted to lead 14-0 at the half.
The second half continued in a similar fashion as Skins had plenty of possession and good phases but no points to show for their work. A devastating rolling maul from Skins was brought down illegally and they kicked to touch to begin an assault on the Inst line. Skins continued to pressure the try line with carries from the pack getting them agonisingly close to a score, and they gained a further pen as the home side were penalised for their defensive efforts. Skins continued their close quarter carries off the lineout but a knock on short of the line gave Inst a way out and ended a long period of pressure with nothing to show for the Enniskillen men.
The home side remained pinned behind their 22’ but took a quick tap from their own half which caught Skins off guard and brought play into their half, and could have led to another try but for some good scramble defence, forcing a knock on and allowing Skins to clear their lines.
The ability of the Inst backs continued to cause problems and it took only a couple of missed tackles for the home side to run a score in from the half way line, unconverted to lead 19-0 now.
Again Skins looked able in attack but some handling errors cost them possession and Inst continued to make big yards on the counter attack. Enniskillen put a massive shove on an Inst scrum inside their 22’ in the dying minutes that had them backtracking but the ball found their wing nonetheless and they registered their fourth try to end the game 24-0 with a bonus point secured.
The scoreline wasn’t a fair reflection of how competitive the fixture was but again highlights missed opportunities for Skins who could be so destructive with a little fine tuning and the removal of some unforced errors. Skins now travel to Coleraine this Saturday, a game they could certainly target having defeated the side at Mullaghmeen earlier in the season.