This was another impressive performance by Enniskillen Royal’s 2ndXV tainted only by an injury to their mobile hooker, John Fitzpatrick. Fitz, (a novel sobriquet), had been having an excellent game but fell headlong in a tackle and twisted his right leg. He was taken by ambulance to Craigavon hospital as a precautionary measure and we are happy to report that he has no serious injuries.
Enniskillen had made a bright start to the game when Ally Jones, one of the few forwards taking the ball at full speed in the loose, side stepped his way over the Banbridge try line to open the scoring for the visitors. Supplied with ample ball by their forwards the Enniskillen back line was proving too much for the home side and Alex Parke, always a danger, ghosted his way past a number of defenders for their second try. Craig Johnston converted.
James Balfour, at first centre, was next on the score sheet. He used his speed and strength to force his way between the opposing centres before handing off the full back and touching down. At this stage it became clear that Enniskillen was the stronger side and they suffered a period of complacency which Banbridge punished with a forward led drive that took them over the line for their only points of the game. The score at half time read 5 – 17 in favour of the visitors.
The Fermanagh side continued to dominate in the second half. Jack Coalter forced his way over for a try which was just reward for his many strong carries throughout the game. Along with fast improving Andrew Humpheys they had full control in the front row of the scrums. Jones converted the try with a drop kick.
Enniskillen consolidated their win with a penalty by Johnston and, following a 5 minute period of ‘white line fever’ from their forwards, an unconverted try by Finbar McCann.
The final score of 32-5 to the visitors does not tell the full story. Their universal dominance was interspersed with some excellent individual performances. Silky running by Conor Goodall, control in the lineout through Jack Kennedy and Chris Balfour, text book tackling by Sam Frazer and pinpoint kicking by Alex Holder to name but a few.
The next game is due to be against Rainey Endowed, in the meantime we all wish Fitz’ a speedy recovery.