Enniskillen 1st XV 19 Dromore 1st XV 5 Enniskillen 1st XV finally returned to winning ways in the league last Saturday as they saw off a physical Dromore side at Mullaghmeen.

A difficult January saw Skins struggle to get results although they suffered a number of very slender defeats, but their form has started to pick up again and they will be hoping to continue this on Saturday when they travel to Ards i the Towns’ Cup.

“It was good to get back to winning in the league,” said Skins coach Willie Gibson. “Dromore were always going to be difficult but we controlled the whole game which was pleasing. They only scored once and they never really looked like scoring any more than that.”

Top four is still possible for Enniskillen but Gibson stresses that they will just continue to take things one game at a time.

“We were unlucky in a lot of the games that we lost as they were very narrow defeats and if we had won those then it could have been a different story. It shows though that we are capable of beating any team. If we are to get into the top four we’ll be delighted but we’ll just take it one game a time and see how we get on,” he added.

There is a break from league action this week with Skins in the Towns’ Cup quarter-final, a competition they went all the way to the final of last season.

“It would be great to get back to a final but that’s a long way away and we are only worrying about Ards. We know that it won’t be easy, especially away from home,”said Gibson.

It was a highly competitive contest that had Skins eventually dominate due to industrious efforts from the pack to gather hard yards, intelligent counter attack and some moments of brilliance from Robert Baloucoune and James Ferguson.

The fixture was an arm wrestle at the start and Dromore carried hard at the Skins line, asking a big defensive effort from the home side. The Dromore out half tested the back three on quite a few occasions with some probing kicks but Ashley Finlay was in fine form, consistently solid under the high ball and proving a threat on every counter attack. The scrum between the usually dominant Skins and Dromore pack were fairly even but Enniskillen got the upper hand on a few occasions with Beatty at tighthead prop proving a handful. One such instance led to the first try as the ball went blind off the back of a scrum and found Robert Baloucoune, running an excellent line in and then cutting out to leave his opposite man for dead to finish under the posts, well slotted by Lendrum to go 7-0 up.

The forwards made some good ground too from open play in the first half. Holden carried well off the scrum and prop Alan Ferguson made great yards while throwing some clinical off loads.

Dromore were not a side to lie down, however, and made good inroads into the Skins half after the try. Setting up a line out just outside the Skins’ 5 metre line Dromore battered the Skins line with short range carries before eventually sneaking over for an unconverted try to leave the score 7-5.

Skins looked calm and controlled coming into the second half despite the small margin and continued to defend well against the visitors; Carleton, Parke and Harte making crucial tackles. Despite the formidable Skins back three, Dromore continued to send kicks in behind the defensive line and this seemed to only hand possession back to the home side. The visitors defended well for a long time as Johnston and Buchanan carried hard at their line, while Law and Keys looked for gaps in the centre, but eventually the stalemate ended off the back of another scrum. Holden picked off the back of a good shove from the pack and somehow wrestled an offload to pacy scrum half James Ferguson who left the defence for dead to score under the posts, converted to go 12-5 up.

Dromore, to their credit, didn’t lie down after the second try and continued to make life difficult for the home side, working hard to disrupt the maul and defending tenaciously near the ruck. The space proved to be out wide once again following a period of pressure from Skins just inside the Dromore half; nice hands across the back line found Baloucoune once again in space and he wove through the Dromore defence for his second try, converted by Lendrum.

Enniskillen regrouped quickly, now seeing an opportunity for the bonus point, however, with only minutes left and Dromore continuing to work hard, a knock on ended the contest at 19-5.