1st XV Enniskillen Away
Lisburn Travel To Enniskillen In Vain
Enniskillen 19 – Lisburn 10
The Smiley Monroe sponsored Lisburn travelled to Enniskillen in vain last Saturday when they came a cropper against a committed home XV in the Qualifying League. In the home fixture back in October Lisburn had run out comfortably against an injury ravaged ‘Skins’ but on this occasion it was the reverse as Lisburn had to travel without the injured or unavailable Mark Hill, Mark Crowe, Paul Melville, Wayne Hughes, Adam Melville, Chris Knox, Mark Uprichard, Mark Gilkinson and Aaron Gilkinson. The loss of nine players from a first XV squad was a tad too much and while their replacements played their hearts out, it was a step too far.
Lisburn faced the hill in the first half and Enniskillen, who know their patch better than any visiting team, put them under immediate pressure. Kicking into the corner they regained possession and following a Lisburn transgression, kicked a good penalty to take a 3-0 lead. Lisburn then started to play better and there were a number of line to line runs from both teams. On one of these Lisburn broke up-field on the twenty minute mark, kicked ahead over the backline only to see the Enniskillen fullback gather the ball, evade the Lisburn follow up and then dash down the field where he himself kicked ahead to the visitor’s line. The visitor’s forwards were unable to kill the ball and Enniskillen again got possession to put their onrushing second row over in the corner. Enniskillen 8 – Lisburn 0.
Lisburn then rolled up their sleeves and set about closing the gap and were rewarded ten minutes later when a great maul on the home line took them over for a fine forward’s score. 8-5. With just five minutes left to the interval, disaster struck for Lisburn. Their very influential back rower Stuart Evans was sin binned and the offence also warranted a penalty which Enniskillen converted to lead 11-5. Two minutes later Enniskillen again got possession running strongly down the incline and were able to split the home backline in the centre of the field amid grasping tackles. There was no conversion but just on the whistle they got another penalty which put the ‘Skins’ into an almost impregnable lead of 19 points to 5.
After the interval, Lisburn had the use of the hill in their favour and set about trying to reduce the deficit. Some strong carrying by centres David Gilkinson and David Scott started to make some inroads into the Enniskillen defence but it was twenty minutes before they racked up their next score. David Scott gathered the ball on the home 22 metre line and he ran through a bedraggled defence to score. 19-10. With twenty minutes remaining and the pitch conditions in their favour, there was every possibility of a comeback but Enniskillen, to their credit, kept Lisburn scoreless for the rest of the game and the visitors ran out worthy winners by 19-10.
Next Saturday Lisburn will be at home to Omagh who will be very hard to beat and hopefully some of Lisburn’s walking wounded will have recovered in time to add their weight to the effort. The occasion will also be the Club’s annual Christmas Lunch and with the 2nd XV also at home against Dungannon 3s in the Crawford Cup, a good days rugby is in store.