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ANNAN 28 V IRVINE 7
SUNDAY 30TH APRIL 2006

Annan Colts travelled to Glasgow last Sunday to contest the final of the Glasgow District Under 18 Bowl. Their opponents were Irvine, and in the two league meetings earlier this season Irvine had won their home fixture, while Annan had easily won their home game.

Annan’s team selection for the final was made more difficult with three of their players taking part in the Glasgow U16 game against Yorkshire at Motherwell at 11am, however it was hoped that the boys would be able to make it for the second half.

The game proved to be very interesting, but not the free flowing spectacle which neutrals might have wanted. This was largely due to the contrasting game plans of the two sides. Annan looked to move the ball wide, whereas Irvine, whose strength lay in their pack, were determined to keep the game tight. The first half saw the Irvine strategy dominant. Annan struggled to get their hands on the ball, and too often when they did it was either kicked to the opposition or possession broke down due to infringement. Irvine knew that their best chance of scoring would come from the drive off the lineout, and it was such a drive which opened the scoring, a good conversion from wide making it 7-0. Annan had to contend with several more such drives, and were rarely a force in the Irvine half. Only twice in the first period did they mount any real pressure. Once they were rewarded with a penalty, slotted by stand off Andrew White, and on the second occasion, almost on half time, moved the ball quickly wide on the left , and a strong run in from winger Chris Waddell saw him touch down in the corner. So after having been under the cosh for spells, Annan led 8-7 at half time.

Annan’s U16 recruits were able to take their places for the second half, but it took some time for Annan to be able to play their game. A further spell of pressure on the Annan line was repulsed only by grit and determination, but slowly Annan began to gain the upper hand. Andrew White extended Annan’s lead to 11-7 with a penalty, and in the final stages of the game Annan sealed things with two fine tries. First Michael Scott burst from a scrum on the Irvine 22 to score unopposed, goaled by White, and almost from the restart, centre Alex Dunbar ran three quarters of the field, past tackles and over opponents to score in the corner. White made the touchline conversion look easy.

This was a great way for the Colts to end their season, and thanks go not only to the boys who played on Sunday, but to all those who have contributed to a successful season. One disappointment – there was no actual Bowl to bring back.

Annan Colts - Bowl Winners 2006

ANNAN 20 V STEWARTRY 10
SATURDAY 11TH FEBRUARY 2006

A much older Stewartry visited Annan in this ‘friendly’ match and contributed to what was a really good game. Stewartry threw everything they had at Annan in the first 20 minutes and scored but the young Annan forwards did more than cope with the pressure while Michael Scott was simply superb. The second half of the first half saw Annan take control and the result was never in doubt. Alex Halliday scored two tries, his first a great finish after an even greater passage of play by Annan. Alex Dunbar got one try and the ever improving Mark Clark got the other. Sam Rogers starting at No. 6 this week was impressive before retiring hurt. Johnnie Crombie is back to his best and Ross Gracie was excellent at No 3. The pick of the back has to be Andrew Jancey not only is he a real players’ player he is a coaches dream.

This week saw the return of Michael Carpenter after 3 agonising years of injury. He came on at half time and played brilliantly in the second row with a huge smile on his face. Mark Clark was really impressed by him - Michael has a new fan!

Congratulations to Roy Thorburn who passed his test to enter the Parachute Regiment and join his big brothers in the army. Roy has been a great asset to the team. Coaches Kenny Hogg, Neil Chalmers and Ian Black have enjoyed his presence this year and Roy has been a credit to himself, his family and his club. He will be missed but hopefully not until after the Glasgow Cup.

ANNAN 56 V KILMARNOCK 10
SATURDAY 26TH NOVEMBER 2005

It was a completely different Annan side which took to the park in the second half as their performance in the first is not worth mentioning.

This team had promised to be honest and hardworking since they got together in August and to the coaches pleasure they dug themselves out of a nightmare to produce a second half performance which would rank as the best Violetbank has seen is a very long time.

The continuity of play was impressive, the tackling superb. Personally I would have happily paid to watch the ever improving, skilful, powerful display of Alex Dunbar. Young Ryan Gracie was the main man in the front row. Euan Braid continues to impress at No 6, Dwayne Barnes was superb at No 7. The backs did fine - Conor Trant had a good game at No10 and Alex Halliday added excitement on the wing this week but the man of the match was Alex Dunbar. He was well just special.

Points came in tries by Alex Halliday, Alex Dunbar and Dwayne Barnes – 2 each. Michael Scott and Conor Trant got one each along with Big Bruce Blower (fae the toon) who ran the full length to get his first for the club.

ANNAN 41 V LENZIE 0
SATURDAY 12TH NOVEMBER 2005

As the Lenzie bus rolled into the Violetbank car park Annan Colts Coach Kenny Hogg had his side already on the park DEMANDING that they follow his game plan without even thinking about deviation. To the boys credit they concentrated wonderfully for the 70 minutes and the result as they say is now history.

The Annan try scorers were Roberto Nicholson (2), Alex Dunbar (2), Michael Scott, Conor Trant and Dwayne Barnes got one each. Andrew White converted 4. The forwards dominated Michael Scott and his back row partners of Euan Braid and Dwayne Barnes were everywhere. Bruce Blower and Sam Roberts were hardworking in the middle row. Young Ryan Gracie was the pick of the front row. In the backs Andrew Jancey had a great game at no. 9 but the man or the match a pleasure to watch was the dynamic and ever improving and maturing Andrew White.

Team performance and the ability to stick to the game plan with no shortage of skill was the key. Lenzie were simply blown away.

ANNAN 39 V IRVINE 17
SATURDAY 22ND OCTOBER 2005

The final score did not really reflect the game. Annan did not perform to the standard they have set in recent weeks but did enough within good spells towards the end to win. They have momentum now with four league games to go to push Dumfries all the way to the title. Tries came from Andrew White, Alex Dunbar (2), Neal Coupland and Alex Halliday. Andrew White added 5 conversions and 3 penalties.

ANNAN 27 V DUMFRIES 14
SATURDAY 15TH OCTOBER 2005

Annan had to beat the league leaders to give themselves a chance of being champions. They won the game comfortably really, it has to be said that Dumfries’ style of play is difficult to play against and not easy to beat.

Annan started well Neil Copeland scores 2 tries early on converted by Andrew White who added a penalty to make it 17 – 0 before Dumfries got into any sort of game. Andrew White scored Annan’s 3rd try the 4th was scored near the end after a superb break by Mark Clark.

This game is on video and the boys will learn much from the viewing. A good victory against our nearest rivals was important earned by the hard working second row of Sam Rogers and Alex Halliday, Dwayne Barnes did well in the back row as did Bruce Blower and Michael Scott. Andrew White was excellent at number 10 and again the very very young Mark Clark was superb.

KILMARNOCK 15 V ANNAN 22
SATURDAY 8TH OCTOBER 2005

Every week is a new challenge as they say. This weeks challenge was to travel to Kilmarnock without 6 players who normally start for the Colts, and win!

Great credit must go to the seventeen who went to Kilmarnock and ground out a very, very satisfying victory. Annan’s points came from tries by Alex Halliday (1) and two by young Mark Clark whose second came when the score was 15 – 15 deep in the second half when he scampered in to win the game for Annan. He grows in stature each week and is a wonderful talent. Conor Trant scored a penalty and two conversions.

Sean Woodhouse made his debut at this level and did very well. Alex Dunbar had a super second half providing some great breaks with the help of Evan Black again at No 10 for Andrew White, who had been called up to the 1st XV, causing Killie all sorts of trouble.

ANNAN 35 V STEWARTRY 12
SATURDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2005

Local derby matches always have an edge and this was no exception. Stewartry came as league leaders and went home a well beaten team by a very young Annan team.

The colts squad bolstered by 6 of the u16 team started really well and it was not long before Paul Anderson finished off a really good passage of play to score Annan’s first try. Stewartry replied quickly but it was Annan’s game from there on. Annan’s points came from tries from Michael Scott (3) Andrew Jancey, Paul Anderson and Mark Clark . Evan Black added a conversion and a penalty. The attitude was excellent and was matched by the work rate. Ross Gracie had a big game at No 3 Sam Rogers and Alex Halliday were superb in the second row. Young Ewan Braid played well at no 6.

Michael Scott and Bruce were both outstanding at no 8 and 7. Mark Clark at scrum half again played way beyond his years and was a pleasure to watch. Young Evan Black had a fine game at no 10 stepping in to Andrew White’s shoes who was on first team duties.

LENZIE 7 v ANNAN 8
SATURDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER 2005

Annan should have been raring to take on bottom of the table Lenzie but started the game quietly.

Early on control of the game came from good lineout ball, mainly from Alex Halliday, good use of the boot from stand off Andrew White and occasional good running from Alex Dunbar and Neal Coupland. Scott Goodwin, playing out of position at fullback, also ran back some well fielded kicks from the Lenzie stand off.

Despite these efforts, due to a lack of cohesion, giving away possession through daft penal¬ties and lack of physical aggres¬sion only three scoring chances came Annan's way. Lenzie, who had only one scoring chance, were kept in the game by hard work and physicality which negated Annan's efforts despite playing the first 15 minutes with only 14 men. Annan changed ends 3-0 up thanks to a penalty from Andrew White. The start of the second period saw Lenzie start with added vigour and Annan contin¬ue in the same lethargic vein. The game was much more even, with Lenzie looking as though they thought they could take the game. Things were made worse for Annan when the Lenzie left wing, normally a No 8, went on a powerful run which was to leave the Annan number one and two as casualties. Both players had to leave the field injured, leav¬ing Annan with 13 men, no replacements being present. The game resumed with uncontested scrums. It was now the turn of Lenzie to put Annan under real pressure. Only some spirited and dogged defence from the Annan 13 kept Lenzie from scoring.

Having relieved the Lenzie pressure Annan produced some interplay between forwards and backs which was exceptional in its quality. Finally Annan were rewarded by a fine try from captain Sam Rogers. Annan's number six Bruce Blower had previously crossed the line but was judged not to have grounded the ball. The Annan try was not converted and the score stood at 8-0 for Annan. Again Lenzie came back strongly and Annan's margin was quickly reduced when Lenzie, using good aggressive running and support play, pulled back with a seven pointer.

All the players would do well to recognise and emulate the attitude of Andrew White and Michael Scott, both of whom not only worked hard to ensure the result went Annan's way, but also show this commitment every week both at training and during games.

Annan team: J. Garner, E. Smith, J. Crombie, A. Halliday, S. Rogers, B. Blower, D. Barnes, M. Scott, P. Anderson, A. White, C. Nlcholson, A. Dunbar, N. Coupland, G. Wllliamson, S. Goodwin.

IRVINE 17 v ANNAN 10
SATURDAY 3RD SEPTEMBER 2005

Annan have now played two league games and should have been sitting on top of the league. The reason they are not is because despite beating Dumfries they had to forfeit the points because they were unable to field a front row and at the weekend against Irvine they could only muster 15 players with some not yet ready for Colts rugby with two 15 year olds having to fill in for the absentees.

There are plenty of players out there but a bit more commitment from some is needed and some sacrifices made for the sake of the boys who work hard and put their bodies on the line every week at training and on Saturdays.

For the record Annan’s points were scored by Alex Dunbar (try) and Andrew White who slotted a conversion and a penalty. Irvine were beatable and if Annan had had a couple more players available a win would have been achievable.

DUMFRIES 7 v ANNAN 12
SATURDAY 27TH AUGUST 2005

This first league fixture was always going to be a tough game for Annan and so it proved. It was the first time for a couple of seasons that Annan have been able to play a league game at Colts level and with Dumfries just back from their tour to Australia a lot of commitment was going to be required to get a result.

Annan had the advantage of the wind in the first half but for the first 10 minutes it was the home side who got into their stride quicker and with their mauling game they were able to keep Annan on the back foot. However stand off Andrew White’s excellent kicks drove Annan deep into the Dumfries 22 and from one sortie Captain Sam Rogers was able to force his way over the line to score the first try which Andrew White converted.

Annan kept Dumfries pinned back in their half for the rest of the half but were unable to add to their score before half time. In the second half the game was much more even with Michael Scott scoring a try in the corner and Dumfries replying with a fine converted try of their own.

The dying seconds of the game saw the ball just beat a Dumfries player over Annan’s dead ball line much to the relief of the Annan team. Thanks are due to Jonathan Callaghan for filling in at hooker at the last minute.

HAWICK WANDERERS TOURNEY
SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST 2005

Annan Colts in their first outing beat Carlisle Colts 14 – 7 where all the points were score in the first half. The forwards played well with numerous scoring chances scorned by both teams. Annan’s points came from tries by Jason Callaghan and Andrew White with Andrew adding two conversions.

In their second game Annan came up against last season’s Border League winners Hawick Wanderers and were well beaten by this quality team. They allowed Hawing too muck room in both the forwards and the backs but competed well in parts of the game. Hopefully this young Annan squad will learn from the experience.