This proved to be an excellent warm up for the 2ndXV who begin their Cup run next week away to a fancied Down High side. It was comforting, therefore, to see the forwards return the aggressive rucking so obviously missing on their last outing. Aggressive rucking and good line speed turned out to be deciding factors in this encounter as Enniskillen loaded continual pressure onto their opponents.
Insistent badgering led to frustration which in turn led to penalties being given away by Coleraine and Enniskillen captain, James Balfour, asked full back, Craig Johnston to slot the first one that came within range to get Enniskillen’s scoreboard moving. While Chris Balfour, John Fitzpatrick and Dylan Johnston harried the Coleraine forwards, the Enniskillen backs hassled their opposite numbers and balls began to be dropped. The agile Alex Parke was the first to take advantage kicking a loose ball through and diving on it to score the home side’s first try of the match, which Johnston converted.
On the occasions that the Coleraine back line held onto the ball they were very effective so when a series of Enniskillen penalties brought them into striking range they duly obliged, breaking through for an unconverted try. Unfortunately for them their handling was just not consistent enough and out half, Mark Crawford, got the opportunity to snatch a spilled ball and run in under the posts. Once again Johnston converted and the halftime score registered a 17-5 lead for the home side.
In the second half the comfortable margin on the scoreboard gave the mobile Enniskillen forwards the latitude to be a little adventurous. There were powerful runs from Blake Scott, Andrew Humphries and an energised Kyle Hobson. Hobson positioned himself in the mid-field and by doing so corrected the narrow pods that had brought very little return for Enniskillen in the first half. With the opposition being forced to retreat the home back line started to move the ball wider and winger, Curtis Coalter, had the ball punched from his grip just as he was touching down for a try. Shortly afterwards Jack Deane on the opposite wing fed Parke a neat ball for the centre to notch up his second and Enniskillen’s third try. Enniskillen had full control at this stage and another score was imminent when the match was brought to an early close due to a painful elbow injury to Enniskillen’s number 8, Ally Jones, which had to be treated on the pitch.
It was not a perfect performance from the 2ndXV. The ball was wet and slippery, the ground even more so but it must go down as a very sound performance against a side that, although their handling was poor, was both competent and competitive.