The Enniskillen Royal Grammar School U14s season continued with a hard fought win away at the Royal School Armagh. In warm, wet and windy conditions Armagh kicked off with the wind behind them. In the wet conditions Enniskillen Royal failed to collect the ball cleanly but Callum Smyton had the composure to make sure it went backwards. The back line of Eddie Keys, Matthew Bothwell and Stephen Balfour did well to clean up the ball with the support of strong forward play. Good distribution of the back of a series of rucks saw the ball passed out to Jason Bothwell on the wing. However the wet conditions combined with a robust Armagh defence led to a handling error by Enniskillen Royal and the loss of possession.
Armagh had the put in and won the first scrum of the match. With the resulting possession and the wind behind them the Armagh out-half kicked for territory. It was well chased by the Armagh wingers but Sam Milligan evaded the first tackler, picked up the pace and made inroads into the onrushing Armagh defence. The resulting rucks saw Jason Bothwell and David Stinson step in at scrum half before Enniskillen Royal worked the ball across the field and it was only good Armagh defence that stopped Sam Balfour breaking the line. Armagh gave away a penalty for hands in the ruck and a powerful maul led by Henry Keys saw Enniskillen over the line and Callum Smyton touch the ball down for the first score for the day.
Armagh put the restart deep into Enniskillen Royal territory and the wet conditions eventually saw Enniskillen Royal give away a scrum on their own twenty-two. Armagh took the scrum but were driven back by strong forward play by Justin White and Matthew Beatty. Armagh once again kicked for possession and forced Enniskillen Royal to take it into touch. Armagh won the resulting line out, spread the ball wide and equalised under the posts. The successful conversion took them into the lead.
The first half continued with both sides demonstrating how much they had both improved since the 63-5 win for what was Portora Royal School last season. Enniskillen Royal had the edge despite playing into the wind and Callum smyton got his second to make the score 10-7 in ERGS favour at half time.
In the second half, with the strong wind literally behind them, Enniskillen Royal found their stride. Eddie Keys put the restart deep into Armagh’s half and it was only the wet conditions that prevented an immediate try. Prop forwards Ben Davis and Matthew Beatty won the first scrum of the second half against the head and Enniskillen put down a try to extend their fragile lead.
Enniskillen Royal continued to pressurise in the Armagh half and John Elliot made good yards in a forward drive. From the ensuing ruck the ball was well distributed by Taine Haire to Sam Balfour who added to the lead. With the fresh legs of Adam Sanderson, Aaron Haire and Charlie Donaldson on the field the Enniskillen dominance really started to show and there were further unanswered tries for Matthew Bothwell, David Stinson (cheered on from the side lines by his mother – the Hot Chocolate Queen) and Sam Balfour to leave the final score Enniskillen Royal 42, Armagh 7.