|Enniskillen 1st XV
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||Grosvenor 1st XV
Enniskillen welcomed Grosvenor to Mullaghmeen on Saturday with both teams coming off very different results the previous week. Skins bounced back from a poor February to beat Holywood fairly convincingly, but Grosvenor, who have been hit hard with injuries, suffered a big loss against league contenders Carrick, so Ally McKee, formerly of Enniskillen and returning with Grosvenor, had a point to prove.
The away side started brightly, containing Skins attempt to play out of their own half in the early minutes. This good defence earned the Belfast side a penalty, which Grosvenor duly converted to draw first blood.
In the opening stages Skins never really settled into their patterns, largely due to unforced handling errors, and less so because of some questionable refereeing decisions. These errors allowed Grosvenor to enjoy long periods of possession in the skins half. After several near misses Grosvenor eventually won a line out close to the Skins line, and executed a good driving maul to score in the corner. These turned out to be the last points Grosvenor would score in the game as their kicker was unsuccessful with the conversion.
The first half continued in much the same way, with Skins unable to put Grosvenor under any meaningful pressure, but doing well to contain the visitors. They knew they had to turn it around in the second half, and the Enniskillen lads did exactly that.
Already the Enniskillen carries had more potency, which Grosvenor couldn’t cope with. When Skins had gradually worked their way up the pitch, Alan Wilkinson spiralled the ball accurately into the corner to put pressure on the Grosvenor line out. The Skins forwards obliged stealing the line out through Kaine Holden to set up several phases near the line. Michael Cadden then stepped up to crash the ball up and score in the corner. Donagh O’Callaghan was unlucky with the conversion.
From the kick off Skins settled quickly into their patterns and worked themselves up the pitch into the Grosvenor red-zone again. After several scrum penalties Skins had the chance to attack off a line out in the Grosvenor 22. When the ball came to the backs Alan Wilkinson ran a great line off Nick Finlay to score under the posts. O’Callaghan added the extras,
The visitors kicked off, and again couldn’t contain the running of Holden, Harte and Fox among others and it wasn’t long before Enniskillen found themselves in the opposition’s 22 again. Enniskillen’s dominant scrum set up a good platform for Wilkinson to crash again, but he was just held short, from the ensuing ruck David Buchannon seemed to be doing a sterling job of guarding the ruck and Grosvenor therefore didn’t see him as a threat. This was a mistake as the big man reached behind him to grab the ball and canter over the line for possibly the sneakiest try of the season. O’Callaghan had an easy job of adding the extras in front of the posts.
Yet again from the conversion Skins didn’t hang about in their own half for too long, powering their way through the visitors defence. When skins found themselves close to the try line again Danny Maguire nearly crashed over for a score under the posts, until the ball was recycled and Kaine Holden stretched a long arm over the line. O’Callaghan’s conversion brought the score to 26-8.
Grosvenor fought back in the remaining minutes, managing to steal back the ball from the kick off and run at the Skins defence. However after around fifteen or twenty phases of play, Grosvenor hadn’t made much progress and the home side looked comfortable, eventually forcing a knock on. From the ensuing scrum Skins broke to Kyle Johnston in a tonne of space, who darted into the corner for the last try of the game. O’Callaghan was unfortunate with the conversion.
Skins face Lisburn on Wednesday night under lights and will be hoping for a quicker start but a similar result.