Enniskillen Royal Grammar School welcomed Rainey to Castle Lane on a dry and dull Saturday morning to contest the second round of the Medallion Shield. The sides faced each other earlier in the season where ERGS ran out convincing winners. Early nerves were evident and ERGS played second fiddle to a determined Rainey outfit. The opposition were gaining the upper hand and winning the battle at ruck time. Rainey also displayed a determined and dogged defence and Enniskillen knew they were up against a stronger side than they had faced previously.
However the nerves settled and a crushing tackle by hooker Thompson on the Rainey No8 seemed to spark the ERGS into action. A series of attacks were thwarted by a strong Rainey defence, the impressive Morton went close only to be stopped by a last ditch tackle by the Rainey fullback. The driving maul off the lineout was proving to be ERGS most effective weapon and the much heavier and stronger pack was now beginning to dominate. As the first half came to a close, a Rainey indiscretion resulted in an Enniskillen penalty which they opted to kick for the corner. Carnduff took the lineout and from the resulting drive Crawford crashed over to open the scoring. The conversion was missed and the referee blew his whistle to bring the first half to a close.
Within minutes of the second half starting disaster struck; a mix up in dealing with a loose ball allowed the Rainey winger to hack through and touch down and level the scores. The coaching team then decided to use their impressive bench which seem to spark new life into the Enniskillen outfit. An offload by Gauley put Crawford through a gap and there was no stopping the galloping prop forward who scored in the corner. Mills goaled the difficult conversion and Enniskillen were 12-5 in front.
ERGS then threatened again and a fine offload by White put Smyton through the smallest of gaps and the flankers 30m break almost resulted in a score. The Fermanagh lads then completed their scoring when Gauley gathered the ball in midfield and powered his way over the Rainey whitewash. The conversion was goaled and referee blew his whistle to bring the game to a close and ERGS progressed to the third round of the Medallion Shield and an away fixture against Cambridge House GS on the 14th January.
This was an improved performance and credit to the team for grinding out a well-earned victory. A number of players deserve mention: Morton who when given space is a handful for any defence, Carnduff for his uncompromising rucking and the three U14 players Smyton, White and Phair who made the step up to medallion rugby look easy. Next up is a local derby against Omagh Academy and an intensive festive training schedule which the coaches are planning as we speak!