Coleraine 1st XV 0

Enniskillen 1st XV 21

Enniskillen got back to winning ways last Saturday with a convincing 21-0 win away to Coleraine, a huge win for the side which provides some hope of escaping out of the lower ranks of the table if backed up with more league success over the coming weeks.

And captain Ryan Cathcart is hoping that Skins can build on this result.

“We were all fairly ecstatic at the final whistle, despite feeling we probably could have pushed for a bonus point,” he said. “It’s been a tough month and there was a huge sense of relief, and maybe a feeling some of our confidence was restored. To go from losing two winnable home games in early January to beating Coleraine on their home patch, a place I’ve personally never won before, just goes to show the contrast in the side’s ability when we attack the opposition and really put the work in, compared to times we’ve went in passive expecting things to fall into place.

“I’m hoping now we’ve rediscovered what it takes to win a game of rugby we can carry that into the rest of our fixtures whether it be league or cup, and I firmly believe we’ll be a hard task for anyone if we do that.”

Skins looked hungry for the contest from the start and their organisation in both attack and defence was much improved from previous weeks.

Nick Finlay at scrum half was instrumental in marshalling the pack despite playing out of position, while the scrummaging performance of Warrington, Cathcart and Beatty, with Fox making an impact from the bench, set a dominant tone from the outset that gave Skins the psychological advantage. The lineout too functioned flawlessly through Parke and Carleton, leaving the home side with very few options.

Over-enthusiasm almost had Skins punished early on with an offside penalty awarded to Coleraine, the kick drifting wide of the posts. Coleraine applied pressure once again from the restart but Skins held off and eventually turned over possession to clear their lines.

Setting up a lineout in the Coleraine half Skins mauled towards the Coleraine line and picked up a penalty after the home side brought the maul down illegally. Skins opted to go for the scrum and began testing the home side with a dominant shove as the scrum was repeatedly reset under pressure. Eventually Coleraine were forced back towards the line and Ricky Lee picked from 8 and barrelled over for a score, converted by Nick Finlay from near the touchline, leading 0-7.

There were no shortage of errors from both sides in open play following the restart but the Skins dominance at set piece continued to give them the lion’s share of possession while the home side struggled to retain ball at both scrum and line out.

Another period of scrummaging pressure in the Coleraine half gave Lendrum a long range shot to take a further lead but it drifted wide. From the 22’ drop out Enniskillen pinned Coleraine in their half and a powerful run from Tyler Millar brought play to the 22’. Hard work and strong carries around the corner from Ricky Lee and then Gareth Beatty made inroads before the ball went wide to Ashley Finlay who crossed for a score, converted by Lendrum to go 0-14 up.

Coleraine exerted some pressure in the dying minutes of the first half but Skins held on and cleared to end the period.

The pack started the second half in the ascendency again and retained possession well with strong carries through Jamie Kelly and Gary Thornton along with good support at the breakdown. Coleraine did well to disrupt the Skins maul on a couple of occasions but when well formed it proved hard to stop and one such effort had Skins back near the home try line attacking with short range pick and go’s, eventually Gavin Warrington proving too hard to stop yet again as he crossed for the third try, another Lendrum conversion adding to a bewildering scoreline of 0-21 with the feeling that there was more in the tank.

Coleraine, to their credit, came back hard and were next to pile on the pressure as they worked their way into the Skins half. A penalty for offside gave the home side some territory through a kick to touch and they began a push for the Skins try line, only to be held up thanks to the determined Ricky Lee. Skins drove the home side off the resultant put in and looked to push for the bonus point score, but starting from their own try line it was too far to go and a handling error ended the fixture.

It was an important victory for the Enniskillen men and more importantly shows what the side are capable of when they perform. Skins now look to the Town’s Cup this weekend, travelling away to Dungannon 2XV, and hoping to continue this form to perhaps push for another memorable cup campaign.