Enniskillen 1st XV 33 Dromore 1st XV 12

Enniskillen remained firmly on the heels of leaders Ballyclare at the top of the Championship One table following a 33-12 victory over Dromore on Saturday at Mullaghmeen.

Dromore had started the day in fifth spot but Skins were determined to maintain their own push and they quickly raced into a 26-0 lead.

Dromore did close the gap a bit before half time but the home side were able to comfortably see the game out in the second half to seal the victory.

Conditions were perfect, with neither wind nor rain to contend with and the home side raced into an early lead, playing some excellent rugby, with all 15 players involved.

Jack Rutledge opened the scoring from a tapped penalty and breaking through from the 22.

George Foster was involved twice in the next move and finished off a fine team effort.

Then Sam Balfour scampered through to touch down a grubber from Eddie Keys into the try zone.

The bonus point was secured on 20 minutes when Neil Rutledge scored from a driving maul. Keys had converted three to make the score 26-0 to Skins.

Dromore hit back with a very good try from their own 22, though Skins will have been disappointed to let that one in. The conversion went wide.

Then the game was turned upside down, with James Ferguson being sent off for what looked to have been simply a very dominant tackle. Skins would have to play the next 50 minutes with only 14 men. Just on half-time, Dromore scored a converted try to close the gap to 26-12.

With the bonus point already gained, Skins simply had to win the game now. They started the second half well and would score the only try of the half, from a cross-field kick by Keys to McLaren, who fed Daire Hill on the inside, to power over the line. Keys converted.

Skins did have another couple of good chances to score but it was their defence that now had to take centre stage, and that it did.

After a yellow card they were down to 13 men for 10 minutes of the second half and played the rest with 14. That they prevented Dromore from scoring in the second half was testament to their tenaciousness and fitness.

This wasn’t quite the complete performance that Skins were looking for but in many ways, it was, with both their attack and defence performing very well.

Former captain, Ryan Cathcart is now Skins’ strength and conditioning coach and the work that he and the players have put in was plain to see. The day was marred by the red card and then another cruel injury to captain Stephen Fox, who was just returning to play.

The league is at exactly the halfway stage, with Skins placed second, one point behind Ballyclare. The fixtures are now mirrored and Skins head to Dromore next Saturday. (Kick-off: 2.30pm.)