In near perfect conditions, Enniskillen kicked off and the forwards quickly turned over possession on the right. Half-backs, Hugo Graham and Mattie Bothwell, moved the ball to the left to outside centre Andrew Patton, who fed Donaldson on the wing. He made good ground before the ball was taken on by the forwards. Hooker, Ryan Phair, took a short pass from Graham from the base of a ruck to open the scoring within two minutes.
Matt Graham, who had a really good all round game, fielded the kick off and launched another attack immediately. The ball went to Sam Milligan, starting at inside centre for a change, and he set off on a typically mazy run, which finished with a touch down.
Limavady were struggling to win and retain possession, such was the tackling and rucking of the Enniskillen team. Flankers Henry Keys and Johny Elliott were to the fore. The backs were also tackling well and Adam Sanderson snuffed out a couple of attacks down Limavady’s left wing. The scrum was dominant and won a ball ‘against the head’ in the opposition 22, from which number 8 and captain, David Stinson, scored the first of his three tries. Mattie Bothwell converted.
Ben Davis had a strong charge from the kick off and it took half the Limavady team to stop him from scoring. When tackled he was able to off-load to support and the forwards handled well before Matt Wilson crashed over to complete the movement.
Full-back Stephen Balfour ended the first half try scoring spree, when he joined the back line just inside the Limavady half and ghosted his way to the end zone. With Bothwell’s conversion the half-time score was 31-0 to the away team.
Limavady would open the scoring in the second half, however. Enniskillen gave away possession in attack and then found themselves out of position defensively. With no cover, a missed tackle on the Limavady 22 allowed the home team to run in a score under the posts.
Stung by this, Enniskillen hit back immediately with skipper Stinson’s second try after good anticipation and support. Keys converted.
Sam Balfour also entered the fray and was straight into the action, when he caught the kick-off and almost made it to the line from inside his own half. Stopped just short, Wilson and Keys rucked out and Stinson was on hand to complete his hat-trick.
Matt Graham, Davis, Phair, Wilson and Manoo man, Zak Havers, played particularly well and unselfishly in the loose, as most good front five players do. They were all involved in the next score, when the forwards carried the ball for half the length of the field before Phair crossed the line for a second time. The hooker is in a fine form, backing up an equally strong performance against R.B.A.I. last week.
Ballinamallard’s own, Mathew Beatty, was running good lines off the rucks and took a short pass off Hugo Graham to score from close range. Beatty could have had a second and more spectacular try, when he ran from half way, bouncing several defenders, only to dive into a pile of leaves concealing the line and find that he’d come up short.
Overlaps and space out wide were starting to be exploited and Jason Bothwell put away Sam Balfour for Enniskillen’s tenth and final try. The six conversions completed the scoring.
With several key players absent, this was a particularly pleasing performance, demonstrating the squad’s strength in depth. The players all rose to the challenge and it is important they use their performances in this game as a bench mark when the others return.
Squad: M. Graham, R.Phair, B Davis, M. Beatty, Z. Havers, M.Wilson, H.Keys, D.Stinson (C), J.Elliott, H.Graham, M.Bothwell, A.Sanderson, S.Milligan, A.Patton, C.Donaldson, S.Balfour, E.Keys, Sam Balfour, J.Bothwell.