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ANNAN 26 v NEWTON STEWART 28
3RD MAY 2014
NEWTON STEWART JUST PIP ANNAN
Report by Dave Fisher (Match Photos)
In their final league game of the season, Annan welcomed Newton Stewart to Violetbank on a perfect day for rugby.
Annan gave their all but were just denied by tenacious opponents who gave nothing away and took their chances well.
The game started at a frantic pace but with lots of errors punctuating play. Annan were the first to apply any concerted pressure and were rewarded by a penalty converted by Craig McCann (which took him past 1500 career points) after 10 mins. Newton Stewart then came into the game forcing several turnovers and putting the Annan scrum under pressure. They then took the lead with a converted try under the posts after an excellent counterattack.
Annan were putting together some promising moves but these were thwarted by further turnovers at the breakdown with the opposing hooker and number 8 prominent.
Newton Stewart went further ahead on the half hour, when direct from a lineout, their stand off broke through a poor defensive line and ran 30 meters unopposed to score a try under the posts which was again converted. Straight from the kickoff Annan regained possession and after several phases the ball was fed out to winger Andrew Jancey who did well to stretch out and score, the try was well converted by McCann. Annan went straight back on the attack and earned another penalty converted by McCann.
Half time: Annan 13 v Newton Stewart 14
Annan continued to press after the break and 2 McCann penalties in quick succession gave them the lead. Annan were now in the ascendancy but a stray pass led to an interception and only good scramble defence by Annan kept their line intact. Newton Stewart were awarded a penalty at the resultant scrum but the easy kick was missed.
Newton Stewart maintained the field position and after a ruck close to the line the number 8 went over for a converted try to regain the lead. Annan retook the lead when from an attacking scrum Kevin Jones received the ball in space, dummied the full back and accelerated away to score, much to the delight of the crowd. The try was converted by McCann.
Annan were now the dominant side but were kept out by excellent defence and at times poor decision making. They then conceded a breakaway try after a long period of concerted pressure in the opposing 22. The ball went loose, was kicked ahead, and with all the Annan players committed to attack, regathered for an easy converted try.
Annan then threw everything into attack but were unable to pierce the excellent opposition defence and were lucky not to concede another breakaway try at the end.
Final score: Annan 26 v Newton Stewart 28
All in all a thoroughly entertaining game which Annan could (and maybe should) have won.
NS defended well and took their try scoring opportunities. Annan had more possession and pressure but were unable to break down the defence and at times their play became a little too frantic.
However, the side has come along way since the heavy defeats in the first part of the season and now know they can be very competitive in this league.
It was fitting that Kevin Jones should bring the curtain down on a wonderful career with one of his trademark tries. He will be a big miss.
Annan Team: C Warrick, C Bell, C Nicholson, G Hogg, M Thompson, J Nelson, D Barnes, S Haren, M Clark, C McCann, B Jamieson, J Bigham, A Halliday, A Jancey K Jones, Subs Used, A Rae, M Griffin
KILMARNOCK 52 V ANNAN 10
26TH APRIL 2014
THE FIRST GO DOWN HEAVILY
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos)
Annan travelled to Bellsland on Saturday and were well beaten by a well drilled home side by 8 tries to 2. With several players unavailable the Annan line up was a little unfamiliar to the small band of intrepid of travelling Annan supporters. None more so than the return of Andrew Jancey at scrum half who had not played since the beginning of the season.
Annan started quite well and for the first 20 minutes had the balance of possession but were unable to break down the well marshalled home defences. It was Kilmarnock who broke the early deadlock with two well struck penalties by their standoff which was followed by a try by their No 8 to take a 11 point lead after half an hour. Annan struck back when from open play Callum Bell latched on to a loose pass and broke through the home back line to score.
Stand off Craig McCann missed the conversion but Annan were back in the game and it looked as if the score would remain at 11- 5 with half time looming but the home side hit Annan with a double body blow in the last minute of the half scoring two tries in a minute. The first by their scrum half followed by a second for their No 8.
Half time score: Kilmarnock 21 Annan 5.
In the second half Annan were confined, in the most part, to defending their own line as their hosts scored a further five tries at regular intervals throughout the half. Annan did, however, have the final say when Craig McCann, with a beautifully weighted kick placed which landed over the try line which Callum Bell touched down to score.
Final Score: Kilmarnock 52 Annan 10.
Not one of Annanís better displays which exposed what happens without regular match time. Annanís cause was not helped with enforced positional changes due to player unavailability and lack of available replacements.
Special mention must go to scrum half Andrew Jancey who played for the full 80 minutes despite not having played for most of the season.
Annan 1st XV: R Glass, C Warrick, C Nicholson, G Hogg, M Thompson, K Warrick, C Bell, J Nelson, A Jancey, C McCann, G Smith, S Haren, A Halliday, B Jamieson, J Bigham.
Replacement: N Coupland and Ronnie Martin
HAWICK LINDEN SEVENS
5TH APRIL 2014
1STS DO WELL DESPITE LACK OF MATCH PRACTICE
Annan travelled to Hawick on Saturday to take part in the annual Hawick Linden 7ís tournament. Due to league commitments in previous seasons this was Annanís first experience of 7ís for some time. Drawn in a group with St Boswells, Jed Forest and the hosts Annan knew they would have to perform well.
First up were St Boswells and Annan started very well taking the lead through James Bigham. However the lack of 7ís practice and conditioning hit Annan hard. St Boswells scored 4 unanswered tries with Alex Halliday getting one back late on in the tie.
Getting their second wind and despite losing danger man and 7ís whiz Kevin Jones to an ankle injury Annan easily beat Jed Forest 24-12.
The last tie against the hosts was a winner takes all match with the victor moving into the semi finals and the loser heading for an early exit. Annan dominated the first half yet turned round 12-0 behind after two tries against the run of play. The 2nd half was again controlled by Annan however they could only muster one score, a penalty try.
Given the lack of opportunities to play 7ís recently Annan performed pretty well. They competed well against eventual winners St Boswells and really should have beaten Hawick Linden. However the adjustment from playing 15 a side to 7 a side was too large to overcome in one day.
ALLAN GLENS 32 v ANNAN 24
29TH MARCH 2014
1ST GAME IN 6 WEEKS ENDS IN DEFEAT
Report by Alan Robertson
On a bitterly cold afternoon at The Bearyards in Bishopriggs Annan succumbed to a workmanlike Allan Glens outfit by 5 tries to 4. After six weeks without any competitive rugby Annan did look, in the early exchanges, somewhat off the pace and in fact conceded a try in 5 minutes when the home right winger, evaded some hapless attempts at tackling, ran from inside the home 22 to score a converted try and the visitors were 7 points down in as many minutes.
This seemed to spur Annan into action and they fought their way back into the game with some dynamic driving play from their forwards. Their efforts were rewarded after 20 minutes when the ball was whipped across the backline to fullback Kevin Jones, coming into the line to provide the extra man, who outflanked the home sides last man to score in the corner. With standoff Craig McCann adding the extra points Annan were back on even terms.
Allan Glens retook the lead 5 minutes from half time when they were awarded a penalty for a ruck infringement. Annan, however, finished the half with a determined display of driving play, through their forwards, which was rewarded when, from a ruck on the Glenís line, scrum half Mark Clark drove through the centre of the ruck to score. With the conversion missed Annan went into the break with a 2 point lead. Allan Glens 10 Annan 12.
Although the visiting forwards were firing well in the loose they were beginning to struggle in the set piece, with their lightweight scum in particular creaking under the weight of their counterparts and even their lineout normally a rich source of possession was misfiring. It was not long, therefore, before the home side retook the lead when the Annan cover defence were pulled in at a ruck which allowed the ball to be spun out to the Glenís right winger who score in the corner. The conversion was missed.
Annan went further behind 5 minutes later when the visiting scrum was pushed over the line allowing the home hooker to score. The conversion was missed. Annanís misery was further compounded minutes later when Glenís scored again. This time the try was converted.
Spurred into action Annan launched several attacks and score 5 minutes from time when full back Kevin Jones again outflanked the home defences to score in the corner. The conversion hit the upright. Minutes later Glenís scored their final try when their outside centre cleaved his way through Annanís midfield defences to score an unconverted try.
Annan may have been well beaten but they did have the final say of the match when on the 80 minute mark they battled their way to the line with prop Callum Nicholson crashed over to score. Craig McCann added the extras to take the final score to Allan Glens 32 Annan 24.
A disappointing result for Annan but after the long layoff and only travelling with one replacement obviously took its toll. Unfortunately Annan have to wait a further 4 weeks before their next rearranged league match against Kilmarnock on 26th April
Annan 1st XV Squad: R Glass, C Warrick, C Nicholson, G Hogg, J Nelson, M Nicholson, D Barnes, S Haren, M Clark, C McCann, B Jamieson, J Bigham, A Halliday, D Wyllie, K Jones
Replacement: K Warrick
ANNAN 34 v GLASGOW ACCIES 34
15TH FEBRUARY 2014
LAST GASP DRAW FOR ANNAN
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos / Match Highlights)
With the match in doubt, due to the dreadful morning weather, right up to kick off it was testament to the work put in by the volunteers that the match went ahead. The weather gods, obviously impressed with the efforts, relented and the match was played in the dry and sunshine although the conditions underfoot was not conducive to running rugby.
Annan started brightly and right from the start drove lay deep into the visitors half and were immediately rewarded with a penalty award which was converted to 3 points by stand off Craig McCann. However Annanís lead was short lived and following a deft kick through from the visitors standoff and their fullback Cowan won the foot race to touchdown an unconverted try. From the re-start Accies collected the ball and drove down the pitch and after a series of forward drives, the Accies inside centre Bell cleaved through some woeful home defences and off loaded to full back Cowan who was once again on hand to cross the whitewash which with the conversion, the visitors looked in total command at 3 Ė 12 and memories of the 64-14 drubbing in October at New Anniesland were uppermost in the home supporters minds.
However, despite taking a pounding for the next 15 minutes, the Annan defences stood firm and following a loose pass Annan full back Kevin Jones intercepted the pass and set off towards the visitorís line and put in a deft kick through the last line of defence but was beaten to the touchdown by the Accies winger. From the resultant 5 metre scrum Annan secured the ball and No 8 Sean Haren set up a driving maul and when stopped scrum half Mark Clark sent prop Colin Warrick over with a deft inside pass. The try went unconverted but Annan were back in the game at 8-12.
Accies responded with some fine driving play and very nearly scored when their No8 Beattie nearly crossed the line but knocked on. Annan were able to drive play away from the danger area from the ensuing scrum. Accies fought back into the Annan 22 and from a lineout and a series of rucks the Accies scrum half Frame prodded the ball through the home defences and following up his dribble fell on the ball as it bobbled over the line to score. The try was unconverted.
From the restart Annan, fought their way into the Accies 22 and following a lineout play was driven towards the Accies line and following 10 rucks and with the visitors sucked into thinking more was on the way play was swung to the backs and full back Kevin Jones coming into the line strode over to score. McCann added the extra points to take the half time score to Annan 15 Glasgow Accies 17.
The second half was only minutes old when the home backs put some great handling moves together, interspersed with their forwards, and replacement prop Ryan Glass was on hand at the end of the sweeping move to crash over to score and take Annan into the lead for the second time in the match. Annanís lead was short lived however when from a free kick the Accies scrum half reacted quickly and set his backs in motion and the move ended with the Accies lock forward Johnstone beating the cover defence to score in the corner. Again the conversion was missed. Accies again punished their hosts when the ball was turned over by their forwards and the ball found its way to their backs and it was their full back Cowan who majestically strode over to score his hat trick.
Annan were not to be outdone however and drove play once more deep into the Accies 22 and from a scrum 5 metres from the Accies line. The scrum was wheeled and as it disintegrated lock John Nelson was on hand to scoop the ball up and drive over to score. McCann added the extras and the game was once again tied at 27 points all.
And then Accies scored again. From the restart the visitors gained possession of the ball and their alert backline sped up the park and it was that man Cowan again who was there to score his fourth try which was converted by Looms. With 5 minutes to go the Annan supporters probably thought that the game had slipped away from their team although they had gained their first 4 try bonus point of the season. Fortunately the Annan players weren't satisfied with a single point and from a free kick the ball was kept in hand and play swept towards the visitorís line with backs and forwards inter linking. Play was momentarily halted and the ball went loose and centre Alex Halliday was on hand to hack the loose ball towards the line and won the foot race to score. McCann was on target once again to tie the scores at 34 all. The final whistle went minutes later and Annan had secured 3 vital points.
This was as good a match seen at Violetbank for some time especially considering the conditions which had prevailed prior to the match. Whilst not a classic in the rugby purist sense every supporter went away from Violetbank happy that they had seen a full blooded contest.
Annan 1st XV Squad: C Warrick, C Bell, C Nicholson, G Hogg, M Thompson, D Barnes, S Livingstone, S Harren, M Clark, C McCann, A Rae, J Bigham, A Halliday, D Wyllie, K Jones
Replacements: R Glass, J Nelson, K Warrick, B Jamieson (all used)
ANNAN 28 v LENZIE 25
18TH JANUARY 2014
100% RECORD OVER LENZIE INTACT....JUST!
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos / Match Highlights)
This basement battle in West 1 of the RBS Regional Leagues between the two bottom teams proved to be as exciting a game as has been seen at Violetbank this season, albeit littered with errors and penalties by both sides, although the hosts were guilty of the majority of the awards in the latter category.
With the visitors playing in Annanís change strip, having left their playing shirts lanquishing at Viewforth Stadium, the scene was set with most spectators expecting a bottom of the league Ďslugfestí and instead were treated to a rollercoaster of a match.
From the whistle Lenzie drove play deep into the heart of home territory and were immediately awarded a penalty and were 3 points up in as many minutes. Annan fought back and drove play, through forward drives interspersed with some angled runs by the threequarters, into the Lenzie half and were likewise awarded a penalty which standoff Craig McCann duly converted to tie the scores.
Annan continued to concede ground through some needless penalties which provided Lenzie with platforms to launch attacks through their forwards. Whilst the home defences coped well with the attacks in the main the pressure told and from a ruck in the Annan 22 the visiting outside centre split the cover defence to score a converted try.
Annan hit back with some excellent driving play of their own pressurising the visiting defences and were unlucky when full back Kevin Jones broke up the wing only to see his inside pass deliberately knocked on by a defender. From the ensuing penalty and lineout the ball was swiftly swung wide to winger Alex Halliday who ran into score. With McCannís conversion the scores were ties at 10 all. Both side then traded penalties to take the score to 13 all.
In a moment of madness, just prior to half time, an enterprising kick ahead by the visiting winger looked to have been dealt with but the referee had noticed that the kicker had been taken out late and awarded a penalty where the ball had alighted. From the penalty and the following lineout the Lenzie pack drove the ball over the line to score. With the added conversion this took the score to Annan 13 Lenzie 20 at half time.
Annan struck back minutes into the restart when from a quickly taken free kick play was driven into the Lenzie half and from a drive by No 8 Sean Haren to set up a ruck the ball was swung out to the right and full back Jones coming into the line at pace he waltzed over the line to score. The conversion was missed.
Annan then had to survive a concerted attack on their line by the visitors which they coped with well eventually lifting the siege when the visiting forwards were penalised. Annan took the lead minutes later when again following some great driving play by the home forwards the ball again was swung wide with a missed pass to find centre Jonny Callaghan who ran in unopposed to score a converted try to take the score to Annan 25 Lenzie 20.
This game was not finished, however, as the visitors were determined to end their run of defeats by Annan. From a penalty award and ensuing lineout 5 metres from the Annan line and despite some fine defensive work by the home side the Lenzie 13 ran in his second try of the day to tie the scores once again at 25 points all.
The final minutes of the came were frantic as both teams battled for the winning score. Annan had a chance when awarded a penalty which went wide of the posts. McCann however, minutes later was on target and landed the penalty which won Annan the game.
Final Score: Annan 28 v Lenzie 25
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable game of rugby albeit a tense affair in the dying moments for the home support as Lenzie threw everything at the home side.
Annan 1st XV Squad: C Warrick, C Bell, C Nicholson, M Thompson, G Hogg, S Livingstone, M Carpenter, S Haren, A Rae, C McCann, B Jamieson, J Bigham, J Callaghan, A Halliday, K Jones
Replacements: R Glass, K Watret, N Coupland
Match Sponsors: Gary Coupland and Friends and Martin Little and Friends
Match Mascots: Ben Latimer and Liam Burton
EAST KILBRIDE 27 v ANNAN 16
11TH JANUARY 2014
EAST KILBRIDE EDGE OUT ANNAN
Report by Dave Fisher
Annan resumed their RBS West 1 campaign away to old rivals East Kilbride. In a game of contrasting styles they were beaten by three tries to one in an entertaining contest
The game began with East Kilbride taking a grip on proceedings with their big forwards to the fore. A penalty and converted try gave them a 10-0 lead.
Annan were trying to play a faster tempo, wider game and this paid dividends. Eschewing the opportunity of an easy 3 point penalty a quick tap was taken and after several quick rucks an overlap was created for Kevin Jones to score unopposed, the conversion by Craig McCann pegging the score back to 10-7.
Unfortunately scrum half Alan Rae had to be substituted having charged a kick down with his head! This lead to a reshuffle in the backs, with McCann going to scrum half and Alex Halliday making a welcome return to the centre.
Annan then had a spell of control with the set piece going well, particularly the lineout. Excellent passing and a switch of play by the backs then gave Annan a clear overlap but unfortunately the pass went inside rather than out to the wing, and the opposing cover were able to snuff out the danger.
East Kilbride then struck two killer blows - firstly good driving play and offloads by the forwards led to an unconverted try, and almost immediately they scored again when their big 2nd row brushed off several tackles to touch down under the posts. This was converted to leave Annan chasing the game at 22 -7 down.
To their credit Annan stuck to their game plan and got back into the game and were rewarded with 2 successful penalties by McCann to go into half time 22-13.
Half Time Score: East Kilbride 22 v Annan 13
Annan started the second half well and another penalty by McCann reduced the deficit further. EK responded however and after the forwards made the initial breach good passing gave the opposing centre space to outpace the cover for a well worked try which went unconverted.
The game became less structured in the 2nd half with errors on both sides preventing continuity. Annan continued to press in search of a bonus point but a combination of good defence and an element of ďwhite line feverĒ denied them
Final Time Score: East Kilbride 27 v Annan 16
This was a good performance by Annan against a team challenging strongly for promotion. As mentioned the lineout went well with excellent throwing from Calum Bell and Michael Thompson making several good steals. The scrum started to creak in the second half but is much improved from earlier in the season. In the loose the bigger EK forward ball carriers generally had the edge but apart from the tries the defence was generally sound with the back row as usual working overtime.
Craig McCann slotted seamlessly into the role of scrum half and his all round kicking game was excellent. The backs were solid in defence and handling was good in attack. Kevin Jones was, as ever, always dangerous on the counter
Annan 1st XV Squad: C Warrick, C Bell, C Nicholson; G Hogg, M Thompson; S Livingstone, E Braid, S Haren; A Rae, C McCann; S Clarke, J Bigham, D Wyllie, B Jamieson; K Jones;
Replacements: R Glass, K Watret, M Carpenter, A Halliday (all used)
ANNAN 10 v DUMFRIES 27
4TH JANUARY 2014
DUMFRIES RETAIN THE TROPHY
Report by Alan Robertson
Dumfries retained the A. A. MacPherson Memorial Trophy at Violetbank on Saturday. After the relentless battering from the weather that the area had received in the days prior to the match it was testament to the work put in by the Violetbank grounds staff that the matches went ahead.
The underfoot conditions were much better than expected which led to a highly entertaining match. For the first quarter of the match both sides probed each othersí defences trying to find any weaknesses that might exist.
Annanís line was eventually breached, when they were reduced to 14 men with prop Colin Warrick sin binned and the visiting outside centre crashed over to score an unconverted try. Several minutes later, from a turnover in the Dumfries half the visitors launched an attack up the left touchline and it was their loosehead prop who breenged over, leaving a few home defenders in his wake, to score a further unconverted try.
Annan battled their way back into the game and their efforts were eventually rewarded after a series of dynamic rucks drove play towards the visitorís line and finally, from a scum five metres from the line, No 8 Sean Haren drove over to score. The try went unconverted.
In the dying moments of the first half Annan again were reduced to 14 men with a sin binning offence. From a retreating scrum in the 22 Dumfries managed to rescue their ball and their inside centre strode over the line to score an unconverted try.
Half Time Score: Annan 5 v Dumfries 15
Dumfries started the second half strongly and laid siege to the Annan line in the first 10 minutes but the Annan defences stood firm. From a promising threat by the Dumfries back line Annanís full back Kevin Jones intercepted a wayward pass and set off for the Dumfries line. He was hunted down by both opposition wingers and was relieved to find that replacement winger Steven Clark was on hand to take the scoring pass to sprint in to score a further unconverted try.
With Annan again reduced to 14 men for the last quarter of the game the numerical superiority, especially in the forwards, gave the visitors the edge and as Annan visibly tired the visitors scored a further two tries, one of which was converted.
Full Time Score: Annan 10 v Dumfries 27
All in all this was a gritty exciting match with Dumfries fully deserving of their victory. The final score was a little flattering to the visitors as it did not reflect the effort Annan had put into the game especially when you consider that they had played 30 minutes of the match with 14 men.
Annan 1st XV Squad: C Warrick, C Bell, C Nicholson, G Hogg, M Thompson, S Livingston, E Braid, S Haren, M Clark, J Bigham, A Rae, J Callaghan, D Wyllie, B Jamieson, K. Jones
Replacements: R Glass, S Clark, M Carpenter (all used)
IRVINE 36 v ANNAN 7
7TH DECEMBER 2013
IRVINE TOO GOOD FOR ANNAN
Report by Alan Robertson
Annan travelled to Marress to take on promotion hopefuls Irvine determined to improve on their poor performance at Violetbank in September. Although Annan played some fine rugby at times throughout the match they were unable to break down a determined and well organised home defence.
Annan had a chance in the early stages of the game to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty well within the range of standoff Craig McCann but his attempt was well off target. It was the home side who opened the scoring when the home sides No 8 Flander scored from a penalty which Irvine decided to run. The try was converted by the home standoff Hobson.
The visitors had a brief period of pressure but it was Filander again who from a quickly taken penalty crashed over the line for an unconverted try. Filander was instrumental in Irvines next try when he broke from the scrum and fed hooker Jardine who scored under the posts and with standoff Hobson converting the try Annan were 19 points down in as many minutes.
Annan continued to battle away towards the home line but were unable to turn the pressure into points and it was the home side who added to the score line when from a series of scrums close to the Annan line lock Hale touched down in the corner. With the conversion missed Annan were 24 points adrift with half time looming.
Annan were determined to take something for their efforts into half time and served notice with minutes to go. Firstly when hooker Callum Bell made a fine break towards the line he unselfishly passed to lock Michael Thompson who unfortunately knocked the ball on with the line at his mercy.
Annan were not to be denied however when Irvine lost possession of the ball in midfield and full back Kevin Jones hacked the ball on and winger Alan Rae outstripped the home defences and deftly kicked the ball on away from the home fullback and won the race to the line to score. McCann added the extra points to take the half time score to Irvine 24 Annan 7.
Annans hopes were boosted shortly after the restart when the home prop Jaap was yellow carded for a repeated offside offence but the extra man advantage had little impact on Annans attacking performance as it was the home side who added to their score when wing forward Maxwell crashed over to score a converted try.
Annan had their best spell of the game when they laid siege to the home line on more than one occasion but it has to be said that the home defences were well drilled and Annans attacks came to nought. With most of the game played in the gathering gloom Irvine had to turn on their floodlights to ensure the game could continue in the failing light. Irvine turned the screw in the last five minutes of the game with that man Filanders gaining his hat trick with a further try to take the final score Irvine 36 Annan 7.
While Annan battled well in spells throughout the match they gave their opposition a little too much respect, especially in the first twenty minutes, and also stood off tackles allowing the lively home backs a little too much room in which to operate.
Annan 1st XV Squad: C Warrick, C Bell, C Nicholson, M Thomson, J Nelson, S Livingstone, E Braid, S Haren, M Clark, C McCann, A Rae, J Bigham, B Jamieson, D Wylie, K Jones.
Replacements: R Glass, K Warrick, S Clark (all used)
GHK 26 v ANNAN 6
30TH NOVEMBER 2013
ANNAN GO DOWN TO GHK
Report by Niall Smith
On an unseasonably pleasant afternoon in Glasgows west end Annan performed well despite eventually losing to GHK. The hosts gaining a bonus point victory to cement their position on top of West 1. However the 20 point margin does not reflect the closeness of the contest.
Early on GHK were on the offensive and were stretching Annans defense to the limit, however the visitors snuffed out these attacks well. Annan grew into the game with the pack more than matching their counterparts in every facet other than line outs, where GHK were dominant. As they were at VB in September.
After 15 minutes a period of sustained GHK pressure resulted in a fine try by the home centre under the posts, which was converted. This seemed to kick Annan into action and some fine defensive turnovers by Annans back row allowed their team to exert some pressure. This resulted in 2 well struck penalties from McCann in quick succession.
At 7-6 the game was heading to half time and after another tremendous turnover by the back row Annan broke out of their 22 with a great chance of scoring with Jones sprinting clear. However the ref called him back for a debatable forward pass. The resulting scrum led to a period of pressure from GHK which eventually led to a try in the corner.
Had the game had the facility of a TMO the score may not have been given but the attacking side got the benefit of the doubt. An excellent conversion made the half time 14 Ė 6.
Obviously buoyed by the try before half time GHK started the second period very strongly. On the other hand Annan seemed a little deflated. The GHK forwards started dominating scrums as well as line outs and this allowed them to gain territory and possession. After several scrums 5 metres from Annanís line the home centre managed to barge through strongly despite committed midfield defense, the home kicker inexplicably missed the straight forward extras.
Annan replied strongly and kept the ball well with good direct running but didnít manage to break through. On 60 minutes GHK again were awarded a scrum 5 metres out and this time managed to push the creaking Annan scrum back for a push over try, this time converted.
The last 20 minutes belonged to Annan who battered the home line but yet again couldnít get over the line. The difference between the 2 sides was that GHK were more clinical than Annan in the opposition 22.
A much improved away performance from Annan. Very good display from back row Nelson, Haren and Livingstone and McCann and Jancey formed a good halfback partnership. Unlucky with a tough referee decision just before half time which changed the momentum of the match.
Young Kieron Warrick put in a strong 10 minutes and shared the pitch with his dad. The first time a father and son has played together for Annan 1st XV.
Annan 1st XV Squad: C Warrick, C Bell, C. Nicholson, M Thompson, G Hogg, S Haren, S Livingston, J Nelson, A Jancey, C McCann, B Jamieson, J Bigham, D Wyllie, A Rae, K Jones
Replacements: R Glass, K Warrick, S Clark (all used)
ANNAN 18 v HELENSBURGH 13
16TH NOVEMBER 2013
3RD LEAGUE WIN OF THE SEASON
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Highlights)
When does the second bottom team in the league beat the second top in rugby? On Saturday at Violetbank is the answer! Annan were a different team to the one that imploded at Newton Stewart a fortnight earlier and not only in some personnel changes but more importantly in attitude and tactics. Veteran prop Colin Warrick was given the honour of leading out the team in recognition of his 400th 1st XV appearance flanked by team mascots Coll Irving and Harris Main.
Right from the start the home side set about laying siege to their opposition line with some driving play by both the forwards and backs. The backrow were to the forefront of several attacks with wing forward Ewan Braid prominent in the early stages with some darting and incisive bursts until he had to leave the field of play with a recurrence of an ankle injury.
The Annan support did not have long to wait for something to cheer about as after the forwards had driven their way into the visitors' 22 the ball was spun wide to full back Kevin Jones, coming into the live at pace, rounded his opposite number to score behind the posts. Standoff Craig McCann added the extras.
Helenburgh cut Annan's lead to 4 points when Annan were penalised for not releasing the ball in a ruck. The visitors' attacks were well marshalled by the home defenses in the main in the first half. With Annan's set piece play functioning fairly well, with the forwards taking two strikes against the head.
The home side dominated the first half and were unlucky not to score on a couple of occasions, both of which featured Kevin Jones and winger Callum Bell. The first saw Jones make a fine break up the touch line with Bell on his shoulder but he was unable to get the vital pass away to Bell before being trundled into touch.
The second saw Jones coming into the attacking line and setting up centre Andrew Jancey who looked to have provided Bell with a perfectly weighted pass to allow him to score in the corner only for the referee to rule the final pass forward!
Annan were not to be denied however and on the stroke of half time, following a further fine piece of driving play by the forwards from a lineout, winger Bell made further inroads towards the line and when brought to ground the ball was released to stand off McCann who prodded the ball through the advancing Helensburgh defence and full back Jones made the touch down.The conversion was missed
Half time score: Annan 12 v Helensburgh 3
Annan continued where they left off in the first half and continued to drive play into the opposition half but Helensburgh, stung by the home sides first half play, tightened up their play. Annan were first on the scoreboard in the second half when they were awarded a penalty in the first five minutes kicked by McCann to increase their lead by 12 points.
The visitors were next to score when, from a speculative kick out of defence, Annan were unable to deal with gathering the ball and whilst they managed to get the ball into touch the visitors managed to drive the ball from the ensuing lineout and release their replacement centre who drove over to score. With the try converted Annan's lead was reduced to 5 points.
Annan hit back from the restart with some superb continuity play with Haren, Ryan Gracie and Warrick to the fore with some great driving play. Scum half Mark Clark got into the act and with a darting run towards the line and when he was stopped just short of the line the visiting tackler were penalised for not rolling away and McCann restored Annan's lead to 8 points.
The final 10 minutes of the game had both sets of supporters on the edge of their seats as the visitors threw everything into their attack in order to obtain a result. Annans defenses stood firm but the anxiety was heightened for the home support when the Annan lead was reduced to 5 points when Helensburgh were awarded a penalty. Annan however held on to record a memorable victory.
Final Score: Annan 18 v Helensburgh 13
This was a much improved performance by Annan over recent displays aided and abetted by the return of players from injury and unavailability along with a step up in commitment both in defence and attack.
The Annan back row and scrum half Mark Clark deserves special mention as their ability to strike at the source of the Helensburgh attacks laid the foundations for the victory. The match sponsors Cochran's man of the match was scrum half Mark Clark.
Annan 1st XV Squad: C Warrick, P Carruthers, C Nicholson, J Nelson, M Thompson, D Barnes, E Braid, S Harren, M Clark, C McCann, A Rae, J Bigham, A Jancey, C Bell, K Jones.
Replacements: R Gracie, B Jamieson, S Livingstone, K Watret (all used)
NEWTON STEWART 58 v ANNAN 0
2ND NOVEMBER 2013
HEAVY DEFEAT FOR ANNAN
Report by Dave Fisher
Annan suffered another heavy defeat in horrendous conditions of driving wind and rain at Bladnoch on Saturday. While there was plenty of spirit and endeavour they were comprehensively outplayed by a home side that appeared to relish the appalling weather.
Playing against the elements in the first half Annan conceded an early penalty and converted try, the result of good driving play by the home forwards. The Newton Stewart backs were then given too much space in their own half and good handling led to a further unconverted try. Annan then played some decent rugby with good driving play and ball retention, but an overlap on the home 22 was spurned with a wayward pass At this stage it was almost impossible to play against the wind and the Annan forwards were having to work really hard just to maintain possession.
Frequently these passages of play ended with turnovers which placed Annan firmly back on the defensive. Annan survived with stubborn defence, particularly from the back row, until the half hour when a long kick downfield miraculously stopped just short of the line forcing Annan to concede a 5 metre scrum. After several penalty decisions following further scrums, the referee awarded a penalty try to Newton Stewart .Just before half time the home backs again breached the defence and it took a last ditch tackle from Stephen Clarke to prevent a try. Unfortunately from the resultant scrum Annan were pushed off the ball for another converted home try.
Half time: Newton Stewart 29 v Annan 0
The Annan support was hopeful that playing with the wind would result in changed fortunes but this was not to be the case. Firstly, the Newton Stewart forwards played an aggressive driving game, breaking tackles and gaining ground rather too easily .Secondly, handicapped by a man short due to a yellow card the scrum was also under great pressure. As a result Annan could not get sufficient possession to utilise the elements and the home side dominated play. Tries occurred at regular intervals and to make matters worse the wind abated and the sun came out (albeit briefly!)
Annan can have no complaints as they were overpowered by a team that adapted really well to the conditions. Tackling was again too passive and too often players were brushed aside especially in the second half.
For the record Andy Allison made his first team debut and a certain W Henderson added to his impressive tally, both coming on as subs.
Annan Team: R Glass, C Warrick, C Nicholson; K Watret, M Thompson; S Livingston, D Barnes, S Haren; A Rae, C McCann (c); S Clarke, D Wyllie, C Bell, N Coupland; B Jamieson;
Subs used: W Henderson and A Allison.
ANNAN 20 v KILMARNOCK 17
26TH OCTOBER 2013
1ST HOME LEAGUE WIN FOR ANNAN
Report by Ian Gilmour (Match Photos / Match Highlights)
What a difference a week Ė and 40 minutes Ė can make. A week ago Annan slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season at Glasgow Accies. Three weeks ago they had shipped over 40 points at Kilmarnock in the Shield, and at half time in this game they were 14-0 adrift. However Annan took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half to record a great win which sent the crowd home happy after a full-blooded, competitive and enjoyable game of rugby.
Despite the recent wet weather, the pitch was in good condition, and the rain kept off for most of the game making for decent conditions for an open game, with the breeze favouring the team kicking towards the pavilion.
This was a closely contested game from the off, but Kilmarnock, with the benefit of that breeze, had slightly the better of the first half. Two early indiscretions by Annan gave Killie stand off Brown six easy points. Annanís defence, though stretched at times, had clearly learned a lesson from last week, and they were in their opponents faces from the start, which prevented Kilmarnock from building too much pressure. Late in the half Kilmarnock did create the opening try, and a good score it was. Moving the ball quickly into the Annan 22, centre Bradford prodded the ball behind the defence and into the goal area, where right wing Diamond got the touch down. This was not converted, but Brown did knock over another penalty to give the visitors a 14-0 half time lead.
One can only assume that the half time team talk gave Annan confidence that they could take this game, and they were perhaps encouraged in this belief by the late appearance of John Nelson, whose bulk was to prove valuable. Using the elements Annan were able to create much more pressure than they have in recent games, and they were rewarded with two ďpressureĒ tries. First it was John Nelson rounding off pressure on the Killie line as he was driven to the line and stretched an arm out to score near the posts. Then it was Sean Haren, showing great awareness, who pounced on a Killie knock- back from a lineout as the defence stood rooted to the spot. Both these provided Craig McCann with easy conversions, and with 20 minutes to go the game was tied at 14-14.
The closing stages were clearly going to be tense, as both teams strove to get the winning score. Annan edged ahead with a McCann penalty, only for Brown to reply for the visitors. With fortune, and possession, favouring Annan, they received the final penalty award and McCann converted off the inside of the post to put Annan ahead again. The game ended shortly after in midfield to Annanís delight and Killies frustration.
So, a much improved attitude from Annan in this game which they will need to carry into home and away fixtures in the coming weeks if they hope to climb the table. Defence was good, as was Kilmarnockís, though some of Annanís attacking play was loose and lacked patience. The set piece was shared, Annan having the better of the lineout, the visitors the scrums. However in the last analysis it was Annanís determination that brought the win and put the visitors on the back foot in the second half. Man of the match was Sean Haren, while Mark Clark was sharp at scrum half.
Annan Starting Team: K. Jones; B. Jamieson, A. Jancey, J. Bigham, A. Rae; C. McCann, M. Clark; R, Gracie, C. Bell, C. Nicholson, M. Thompson, G. Hogg, D. Barnes, E. Braid, S. Haren.
Replacements: C. Warrick, S. Livingstone, J. Nelson, R. Glass (all used)
Next week Annan travel to Newton Stewart, whose last two home games have been cancelled due to a waterlogged pitch. Check with the club website if planning to travel.
GLASGOW ACCIES 64 v ANNAN 14
19TH OCTOBER 2013
GLASGOW ACCIES TOO STRONG FOR ANNAN
Report by Dave Fisher (Match Photos)
Apart from a damp pitch surface, conditions were perfect on a sunny early autumn afternoon at Old Anniesland on Saturday.
Unfortunately Annan found themselves on the wrong end of a 10 try drubbing by an enterprising Accies XV. It has to be said that Annan were to a large degree creators of their own downfall with a performance that mixed weak tackling with poor handling and decision making.
Accies scored after 5 minutes when from a scrum, a simple backs move outflanked the defence all too easily for an unconverted try in the corner. This was immediately followed by another score as a result of good offloading and interplay between the Accies forwards and backs. Poor tackling then led to another Accies breakaway from their own half but this time a good last ditch tackle from Stephen Clark prevented another try.
On a positive note the scrum (with Paul Carruthers making his first start in a League game since Sept 2009) and lineout were looking solid. After 20 mins a good run by Michael Thompson got Annan into the opposing 22 for the first time. From the lineout Annan drove for the line but knocked on. From the resultant 5 metre scrum the Accies Number 8 broke past weak tackling on the blindside, and when eventually stopped the ball was moved quickly into midfield where further flimsy tackles resulted in the Accies 2nd row having an unopposed run to the posts from halfway.
The next score came from an Annan move that broke down in midfield, the ball was snapped up by the alert Accies back row who offloaded for another canter under the posts.
Annanís ball retention when they did have the ball, was poor as they continued to drop passes and lose the ball in contact; and further poor tackling led to 2 more tries. 0-38 after 30 mins.
To their credit Annan dug deep and with the help of substitutes Sean Haren, Dwayne Barnes and Kieron Watret, stemmed the scoring and after concerted driving play by forwards Colin Warrick barrelled over for a try converted by Craig McCann for a half time score of 7-38.
After what was presumably an interesting team talk from the coaches, Annan started the 2nd half well, with a shift to more pick and drives and a concerted passage of play required committed defence to prevent another score. For the next 15 mins Annan dominated possession in the Accies half but were unable to breach the tenacious Accies tackling.
Accies then scored against the run of play when an Annan move on their own 22 broke down and the loose ball was snapped up by the livewire opposing open side flanker to score.
Annan struck back immediately and after a good driving run off the back of the scrum by John Nelson was carried on by Kieron Watret, a floated miss pass by Craig McCann put Callum Bell, now playing on the wing, in for a nicely worked try converted by McCann.
Unfortunately Accies scored again straight from kick off after a comedy of errors on the Annan line. This rather knocked the stuffing out of the Annan lads and they conceded another 2 tries in the last 10 mins.
All in all this will have been a chastening experience for the Annan team which had grown used to handing out such score lines to opposing sides last season. Most of the Accies tries originated in their own half as a consequence of poor Annan tackling or handling, and until these basic errors are eradicated then West 1 teams will make them suffer
Congratulations to Paul Carruthers who was awarded Annan Man of the Match by the Accies
Annan Team: C Warrick, P Carruthers, C Nicholson; G Hogg, M Thompson; C Bell, S Livingstone J Nelson; A Rae, C McCann (c); S Clarke, J Bigham, D Wyllie, B Jamieson; A Jancey;
Replacements: R Glass, S Haren, D Barnes and K Watret (all Used)
ANNAN 14 v ALLAN GLENS 23
12TH OCTOBER 2013
ALLAN GLENS WIN BUT ONLY JUST
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos / Match Highlights)
Annanís disappointing league form continued on Saturday in RBS West 1 in a game they could have won but wouldnít have deserved to. Their visitors from Bishopbriggs played a simple game with few frills with their forwards dominating for the most part in the set piece and with some powerful counter rucking made it difficult for the home side to establish an attacking platform from which to launch attacks.
With only five minutes played Annan were caught in possession and the ball was turned over in a ruck and the visitors scored a simple try through their wing forward Frame. The try was not converted.
Annan did hit back and from a series of drives by the forwards up the centre of the park they were awarded a penalty when the Glens forwards were caught offside at a ruck. Standoff James Bigham made up for an earlier miss and Annan were on the scoreboard.
Annan continued to show some encouraging signs with some backs moves played off some good driving play by their forwards but there is a lack of incisiveness in Annanís play at the moment and they came to nought. This was probably illustrated best when winger Stephen Clark looked to have a simple run into score, following a lightening break down the left wing, but decided to cut inside into the welcoming arms of the Glens fullback and winger.
It was the visitors, however, who were next to get the scoreboard moving when on the stroke of half time when from a loose ball some slack defensive work allowed the Glens winger Murrell to drive over to score in the corner. The conversion was missed.
Half Time Score: Annan 3 v Allan Glens 10
The second half saw Annan play with a little more purpose and within the opening minutes the hosts scored. From a scrum in the visitorís 22 the ball was quickly transferred along the back line with Stephen Clark coming of his wing along will full back Andrew Jancey coming into the line providing the extra men winger Bruce Jamieson received the ball at pace and he scored in the corner. The conversion was missed and Annan were within 2 points.
Allan Glens, however, maintained their grip on the game and added a further two penalties before Annan fought back to get back into contention when they added a further two penalties of their own to cut Glens lead to two points at 14-16.
Annan were undone, however, when with 5 minutes to go the visiting fullback Hamilton received the ball in his own half of the field and then proceeded to scythe through some hapless home defences to score untouched under the posts. With the conversion added Allan Glens had a 9 point lead.
Annan, to their credit, battled away to try at least gain a bonus point for their efforts but they lacked that cutting edge to open up the visitorsí defense.
Final Score: Annan 14 v Allan Glens 23
All in all another disappointing result for Annan and while the players cannot be faulted for the effort they put into their game there were too many elementary errors in their play. With the scrummage and lineouts operating well below the expected level Annan were always playing their rugby on the back foot. Perhaps it is a reaction to last seasonís success where they played most of their rugby on the front foot and rarely had to defend at the level they are having to this season.
Annan 1st XV Squad: Ryan Glass, Ryan Gracie, Callumn Nicholson, Graeme Hogg, Michael Thompson, John Nelson, Stewart Livingstone, Ewan Braid, Mark Clark, James Bigham, Alan Rae, David Wyllie, Callum Bell, Stephen Clark, Andrew Jancey.
Replacements: Colin Warrick, Kieron Watret, Bruce Jamieson (Used), Neil Coupland
KILMARNOCK 43 v ANNAN 12
5TH OCTOBER 2013
MURRAYFIELD HAS TO WAIT FOR ANOTHER YEAR
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos)
After last weekís moral boosting win away to Lenzie hopes were high that Annan were returning to their winning ways but alas these hopes were short lived on Saturday at Bellsland where a competent home side dismantled the Annan revival in Round 1 of the RBS West Shield competition.
The first quarter of the game was essentially a case of each team probing for weaknesses in the other. The home backs did look to have a cutting edge with some fine angled runs by their centres which took some equally fine defensive work by Annan to quell.
It was the visitors who took an early lead when, on the 20 minute mark, standoff Craig McCann converted a penalty awarded when the home backs were caught offside. Annanís lead was short lived, however, when a couple of minutes later the Kilmarnock inside centre ominously cleaved through the Annan midfield defences with some ease to score beside the posts.
The try was converted by the home standoff. Annan clawed back within a point with another penalty landed by McCann on the half hour mark but again Annanís defensive frailties were once again exposed when the Kilmarnock No 14 outstripped his opposite number to score. With the conversion added Annan were 8 points adrift as the half time whistle went.
Half time score: Kilmarnock 14 v Annan 6.
The second half started well for Annan with McCann again reducing the points deficit by 3 with another well struck penalty but once again the hosts hit back with another try. At this point, despite the visitors adding another penalty, the wheels came off Annanís game plan and Kilmarnock ran in a further four tries, two of which were converted to take the final score to Kilmarnock 43 Annan 12.
Full time score: Kilmarnock 43 v Annan 12.
This was not one of Annanís better days at the office and although the team gave their all over the 80 minutes they were found wanting in several facets of their game. Annan will get their chance to redeem themselves for Saturdayís defeat when they welcome Kilmarnock in their league encounter in three weeks time.
Annan 1st XV Squad: Callum Nicholson, Ryan Gracie, Ryan Glass, Michael Thompson, Graham Hogg, Stewart Livingston, Callum Bell, Ewan Braid, Mark Clark, Craig McCann, Neil Coupland, James Bigham, David Wyllie, Alan Rae, Andrew Jancey.
Replacements: Bruce Jamieson, Steven Clark, Billy Henderson (all used)
LENZIE 17 V v ANNAN 28
28TH SEPTEMBER 2013
FIRST LEAGUE WIN OF THE SEASON
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos)
After the previous Saturdayís much improved display against East Kilbride Annan hoped to build on that momentum when they took on Lenzie, who were promoted along with Annan last season, at Viewforth Stadium on Saturday.
In perfect conditions for running rugby, in striking contrast to last seasonís fixture where snow had to be cleared from the pitch, it was the home side who got off to the better start when from a lost ball at an Annan lineout Lenzie drove the ball towards the Annan line, and aided and abetted by some poor defensive tackling by the visitors, scored a simple try down the blind side with No 6 Telford credited with the touchdown. With the home winger Peters adding the conversion Annan were 7 points down in as many minutes.
Annanís set piece play was misfiring, with both their lineout and scrummage under pressure. It took some fine turnovers by the forwards in open play, with lock John Nelson in particular pilfering a few crucial balls, for Annan to keep themselves in the game.
Both sided traded penalties in the first quarter before Annan started to get back into the game in the second quarter with full back Kevin Jones stretching the Lenzie defences with some of his mazy runs out of defence. Unfortunately his good work was at times undone by some minor errors which spoilt the approach work. Neither team were able to add to the score before the half time whistle.
Half Time score: Lenzie 10 v Annan 3
In the second half Annan with the slope and the slight wind to their advantage started with some purpose and it only took a few minutes for the visitors to score. Replacement winger Stephen Clark received the ball at pace and set off towards the line out pacing and side stepping four defenders to score his first senior try for the club. Stand-off Craig McCann conversion attempt went wide.
The home side immediately launched an attack from the restart when the visitors failed to claim the drop out and the ball was turned over and the Lenzie No 8 Scouller bullocked his way to the line to score between the posts. Peters again added the conversion to increase the home lead to 9 points.
Straight from the restart Annan were awarded a penalty which McCann slotted with some ease. With the home forwards visibly tiring Annan slowly began to gain the upper hand and with the ball being moved wide at every opportunity only some desperate defence by the home side kept winger Clark from adding a further try to his first.
A try, however, did come when centre James Bigham instead of spinning the ball wide drove through two defenders to score between the posts. With the conversion by McCann added this took the visitors into a slender 1 point lead with 20 minutes to go.
Annan increased their lead to 4 points when McCann added a further penalty from 45 metres out when a Lenzie defender failed to roll away after a tackle. Annan continued to drive play through their mobile forwards and from a series of rucks the ball was spun to the wing where Clark found himself clear in space and he romped into score his second try of the match. McCann again added the extras to take the score to Lenzie 17 Annan 28.
Lenzie, in the final minutes of the game, were unlucky not to score as they had three scrums on the Annan line but were thwarted by some impressive Annan defensive work. When the final whistle went there was much joyous celebrations by the Annan contingent as Annan had gained their first win in RBS West 1!
Full Time score: Lenzie 17 v Annan 28
This was a good workmanlike win by Annan especially coming back from 10-3 down at half time. The Annan backrow played themselves to a standstill over the 80 minutes putting in an impressive defensive display but it would be churlish to pick out any single player for special praise as this was a good solid team performance albeit there is still room for improvement especially in their set piece play.
Annan 1st XV Squad: R Gracie, C Bell, C Warrick, M Thompson, J Nelson, D Barnes, S Livingstone, S Haren, M Clark, C McCann, N Coupland, J Bigham, D Wyllie, A Rae, K Jones
Replacements: S Clark, B Jamieson, R Glass (all used)
ANNAN 6 v EAST KILBRIDE 10
21ST SEPTEMBER 2013
ALMOST BUT NOT QUITE
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos / Match Highlights)
Although another defeat in RBS West 1 the Annan players and supporters can take heart from a much improved eighty minute performance from the Annan squad at Violetbank on Saturday.
In the early exchanges the home side had the better of the set piece exchanges with the Annan scrum taking a strike against the head in the very first scrum. Annan looked the livelier side, taking the fight directly into the visitor's half. They were rewarded with an early kickable penalty which was missed.
It was the visitors who were first to get some points on the board on the 20 minute mark when full back Shankie landed a penalty award. In the second quarter Annan had the better of the exchanges as most of the play took place in the visitor's half but they were unable to break down a stubborn East Kilbride defence.
Annan had the opportunity to tie the scores on the stroke of half time when they were awarded a penalty when the visiting backs were caught offside at a ruck but the effort was again missed.
Half time score: Annan 0 v East Kilbride 3
The second half saw Annan, for the most part, on the front foot but stubborn defence by the visitors held the home side at bay. Both side traded penalties in the first ten minutes of the half but both attempts were unsuccessful.
Annan continued to probe the East Kilbride defences and whilst they were unable to breach the line they did tie up the scores when awarded a penalty which stand off Craig McCann slotted between the posts. The visitors replied with a concerted attack on the Annan line which Annan managed to repell and launch an attack of their own which saw a fine break up the centre by centre David Wyllie which hooker Ryan Gracie carried on and drove over the line and looked to have scored.
Everyone thought the try had been scored but the referee who was unsighted deemed the ball held up. Annan, however, were rewarded minutes later when Craig McCann landed a penalty to take Annan into a slender 6-3 lead.
Annan looked to be in control of the game at this point but a mis-directed kick out of defence saw the East Kilbride full back launch a counter attack up the right touch line and it was only a last ditch tackle by full back Andrew Jancey, driving the ball carrier into touch, that saved a certain try. From the lineout the ball was held up in the maul and from the ensuing five metre scrum the recycled ball was driven by the visiting forwards for wing forward Irvine to drive over for the try. Shankieís conversion made it 6-10 for the visitors.
In the final ten minutes Annan continued to attack the East Kilbride line in an attempt to rescue the game but were kept out by a resolute and stalwart defence despite East Kilbride being reduced to 14 men when their flanker Chris OíNeill was yellow carded.
Final Score: Annan 6 v East Kilbride 10.
Annan at least came away from the fixture with a losing bonus point but still are the only team without a win in this league.
The Annan players and coaches will take a lot from this game and what they have learnt from the previous weeks' defeats into the remaining matches not least this Saturday's match against Lenzie who were promoted along with Annan last season.
Annan 1st XV Squad: C Warrick, C Bell, C Nicholson, M Thompson, J Nelson, D Barnes, E Braid, S Harren, M Clark, C McCann, A Rae, J Bingham, D Wyllie, N Coupland, A Jancey,
Replacements: R Glass, S Livingstone (Used), M Carpenter, R Gracie (Not Used)
ANNAN 16 v IRVINE 51
14TH SEPTEMBER 2013
ANNAN'S DISAPPOINTING LEAGUE RUN CONTINUES.
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos)
After two heavy defeats in a row Annan had hoped to put their league campaign back on track when they hosted Irvine at Violetbank on Saturday in RBS West 1 but alas it was not to be! Despite putting in a solid first half performance which saw them still well in contention at the half way break they fell away in the second half with the visitors running in a total of eight tries to Annan's one.
Annan started brightly enough on a perfect day, weatherwise, for rugby but found themselves under when after a series of attacking scrums in the Annan half, the visitors' converted the pressure when, with a well timed offload in the tackle centre Lang scored under the posts which was converted by stand off Hobson. Annan fought back and reduced the deficit when centre James Bigham landed a penalty. The visitors cancelled out Bigham's penalty with one of their own before Bigham was once again on target, just before half time to take the half time score to Annan 6 Irvine 10.
There seemed to be some optimism amongst the home support, at half time, that Annan had a chance to redeem themselves for the previous two weeks' defeats but their optimism was short lived. Down to 14 men, with lock Michael Carpenter yellow carded just before half time, Annan found themselves a further try down, two minutes into the half, when the visitor's centre Lang again scored a try converted by Hobson. James Bigham again reduced the deficit to keep Annan in contention with a well struck penalty to take the score to Annan 9 Irvine 17.
However from the restart the home side failed to claim the kick off and from the ensuing drive by the visitor's pack their wing forward Jardine crashed over to score an unconverted try. Irvine were now very much in command as the home heads began to drop. Even Michael Carpenter returning to the fray having served his ten minutes in the sin bin and on the 55 minute mark the visiting centre Spiers scored a bonus point try in the corner after a series of off loads in the tackle seemed to leave the somewhat hapless Annan midfield defences mesmerised.
Irvine were not finished yet, by a long chalk, as they ran in a further three tries in five minutes as the home defence was shredded by some exhilarating back play by the visitors. Annan did fight back and scored a consolation try, when from a series of rucks in the Irvine 22 Annan's No8 Sean Haren burrowed under the Irvine defences to score. Stand off Bigham added the extra two points. With two minutes to go Irvine substitute Callaghan was sin binned and, as if to rub salt into the Annan wounds, the visitor's winger McMillan ran in the final score to bring up their half century and the final score Annan 16 Irvine 51.
This was one of the worst defeats Annan has endured at Violetbank in league rugby. Annan seemed unable to deal with the off loading game of the visitors where they kept changing the points of attack to probe Annan's defensive soft spots on the day. On the plus side the Annan set piece play held up reasonably well and the Annan backrow worked their socks off with some valiant defensive work.
Annan 1st XV Squad: R Glass, C Warrick, C Nicholson, M Thompson, M Carpenter, D Barnes, S Livingstone, S Harren, M Clark, A Rae, C McCann, J Bingham, C Bell, A Jancey, K Jones.
Replacements: R Gracie, E Braid, N Coupland, B Jamieson (all used)
HELENSBURGH 40 v ANNAN 23
7TH SEPTEMBER 2013
HELENSBURGH TOO STRONG FOR ANNAN
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos)
Annanís disappointing start to the season continued on Saturday with a 4 try to 2 defeat by Helensburgh at Ardencaple in RBS West. This was the first meeting between the teams at first team level and what they produced, in the main, was an entertaining fast flowing game of rugby considering the weather conditions.
The omens were not good for the visitors, who were without one or two regulars due to other commitments, when, with the game only seconds old, full back Kevin Jones running out of defence, found his inside pass intercepted and the Helensburgh hooker romped over to score. The home stand off duly converted to give the home side a 7 point lead with the game less than a minute old.
Annan responded immediately with some fine driving play by the forwards up the middle of the pitch and from a ruck on the 5 metre line No 8 Sean Haren drove over to score and with stand off Craig McCann adding the conversion the scores were tied after 5 minutes of play.
Annan continued to attack through both the forwards and backs and when a high tackle on centre David Wyllie was penalised McCann put Annan into the lead when he landed the kick.
Helensburgh were not behind for long when twice in succession Annan were penalised for ruck offences and the unerring boot of the ĎBurgh standoff found the mark on both occasions to take them into a 3 point lead. The home side eased themselves further ahead when, from a fine sweeping move through their backs, their right winger strode into score behind the posts. Again their stand off added the extras.
The visitors continued to battle for territory and possession and once again reigned back the ĎBurgh lead when McCann added a further two penalties.
Half Time: Helensburgh 20 v Annan 16
The second half started as the heavens opened and the next 40 minutes were played in a constant downpour. The home side extended their lead shortly after the restart. They then added two tries, the second for their right winger who was on the receiving end of a delightful cross kick by their stand off as the Annan defence stood and watched in admiration! Their second scored by their replacement back (No 16) who drove through some woeful defensive tackles to score.
With both tries converted Annan were staring at a 40-16 defeat. However Annanís blushes were somewhat spared when veteran forward Colin Warrick, playing at hooker, burrowed over the line following a lineout on the 5 metre line. McCannís conversion
Final Score: Helensburgh 40 v Annan 23.
All in all a disappointing day at the office for Annan who found their playing squad stretched to the limit and made worse by some worrying injuries to winger Graeme Smith (ankle), winger Willie Gray (ankle) and centre David Wyllie (shoulder) which saw the youthful replacements bench emptied during the game.
The most encouraging part was that the young replacements put their all into the game which bodes well for the future of the club. Helensburgh are to be congratulated on their superb facilities at Ardencaple and on their terrific support which provide their 16th man.
Annan 1st XV Squad: C Nicholson, C Warrick, R Glass, M Thompson, J Nelson, S Livingstone, M Carpenter, S Haren, A Rae, C McCann, W Gray, A Jancey, D Wyllie, G Smith, K Jones
Replacements: A Torbett, T Buckley, N Coupland, S Clark (all used)
ANNAN 24 v GHK 43
31ST AUGUST 2013
WELCOME TO WEST 1!
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos / Match Highlights)
Annan had not lost a league game since 10th March 2012 until Saturday and who was the team that beat them that day Ė yes GHK!
In the first quarter of the game was played between the 22s with both teams testing the defensive qualities of each other. Annan in that period seemed to have the edge and it was the home team who took the lead from a penalty award when GHK transgressed at a ruck. Stand off Craig McCann converted the award.
Annanís lead was short lived, however, as the visitors landed a penalty when the home backs were caught offside. In the second 20 minutes the wheels came off Annanís game plan and in a purple patch of play the visitors ran in 5 unanswered tries leaving Annan somewhat shell shocked at half time with a deficit of 33 points to make up.
Half-time score: Annan 3 v GHK 36
Despite an early setback at the start of the second half, when from a defensive kick out of defence the ball was collected by the visiting No 7 who set on a run out of his half and glided through some poor Annan tackling to set up a score, the second half belonged to the home side.
Annan set about reducing the points deficit with some aggressive driving play which drove play deep into the visitorís 22 and it was not long before their efforts bore fruit. From a quickly taken penalty, awarded when the GHK forwards were caught sealing off at a ruck, No 8 Sean Haren took the direct route to score. Craig McCann added the extra 2 points and Annan were in double figures.
Annan continued to drive play deep into the GHK 22 at every opportunity and were again rewarded by a penalty award which quickly taken by scrum half Mark Clark was quickly recycled from a couple of rucks and floated out through the backs to reach hooker Callum Bell who had a relatively easy run in to score. Again McCann added the extras.
Annanís final try came from, once again some fine driving play following a lineout and from a ruck set up near the line the ever alert scrum half Mark Clark crashed over for a fine converted try to take the final score to a more respectable Annan 24 GHK 43.
Full-time score: Annan 24 v GHK 43
Whilst this was a disappointing start to Annanís campaign in RBS West 1 there were some positives in that, despite the 20 minute period when their focus seemed to be lost, the Annan team refused to capitulate and fought themselves back into the game and whilst their normally rock solid lineout foundered the scrummage stood up well against a heavier GHK pack.
Some of the teamís defensive work was disappointing but it will no doubt be an area that the Annan coaches will be addressing at their coaching sessions in the coming days!
Annan 1st XV: C Nicholson, C Bell, R Glass, M Thompson, J Nelson, S Livingston, S Haren, M Clark, C McCann, G Smith, J Bigham, D Wyllie, W Gray, A Jancey.
Replacements: M Carpenter, K Watret, A Torbett, C Warrick (all used)
ANNAN 87 V WAYSIDERS 8
24TH AUGUST 2013
ANNAN CLEAR FIRST HURDLE IN RBS SHIELD (WEST)
Report by Ian Gilmour (Match Photos / Match Highlights)
After the disappointment of the Tournament on 17th August, followed by a losing trial at Dumfries on the Tuesday, this game proved a tonic for both players and supporters. Annan easily brushed aside their visitors from Coatbridge, scoring thirteen tries to one in reply Ė and all this on a wonderfully warm and sunny day, quite a contrast to the previous week.
Annan elected to kick away from the pavilion in the first half, and began at a cracking pace. Like last season, Annan were keen to run the ball whenever possible, but against the run of play it was Waysiders who took the lead with a successful penalty, after Annan were guilty of a deliberate knock-on.
That lead did not last long, and it was scrum half Andrew Jancey who opened Annanís account with a close range try, picking up from a lineout in the Waysiders 22.
Annan then proceeded to make the game safe with two quick fire scores from fullback Kevin Jones. The first followed fine back play in which the ball was moved across the pitch creating the overlap. For the second he bamboozled the defence on the left. Craig McCann converted both, and on the quarter hour Annan led 19-3.
Annan dominated the rest of the half, with Waysiders not troubling the Annan defence. Left wing Graeme Smith scored two Ė both converted by McCann to give Annan a 33-3 half time lead. Both his scores came on the left.
The second half proved even more productive for Annan, another eight tries being scored. Smith ended with four, two in each half, on a day he will long remember. His fourth score was his best, running through the defence from half way. No 8 Sean Haren got a second half hat-trick, using his strength to drive over. Callum Bell finished off some good approach work.
David Wyllie had a good run from half way for a well deserved score, and Willie Gray completed the scoring when Annan took one against the head in the Waysiders 22, McCann and Carpenter setting up the chance.
A fine kicking display by McCann added seven conversions Ė the other one hitting the post. To their credit Waysiders kept plugging away and got their reward when their stand off was able to pick up and run in a second half score with the Annan defence for once awol.
While this was entertaining stuff from Annan, reminiscent of last season, it was not an ideal preparation for this Saturdayís visit of high flying GHK. Annan were on top in every facet of the game, except perhaps the scrum. They can expect to be tested by a talented back division from Glasgow, but I would be surprised if even they can outdo Annan in the lineout
Annan showed in this game how they hope to play the game this season, so win or lose, there should be some good entertainment at Violetbank. Annan have been drawn away to Kilmarnock in next round of the RBS Shield on 5th October.
The Annan team: R. Glass, C. Bell, C. Nicholson, M. Thompson, J. Nelson, D. Barnes, S. Livingstone, S. Haren; A. Jancey, C. McCann; G. Smith, J. Bigham, D. Wyllie, W. Gray; K. Jones.
Replacements: C. Warrick, M. Carpenter, E. Braid, A. Torbett (all used)
17TH AUGUST 2013
DUMFRIES CLINCH THE TROPHY
Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos)
Annan RFC must be wondering if they have done something to anger the weather gods after last yearís cancellation of the event due to the pitches being waterlogged and previous events similarly affected by inclement weather. Saturday proved to be no exception with the event played in a constant downpour. The organisers also had the added problem of two teams calling off late in the week i.e. Kirby Lonsdale and Whitehaven. This meant that the two leagues of four teams had to be reduced to three with the game time extended from 15 minute halves to 20 minutes. The two leagues comprised of Annan, Aspatria and Newton Stewart in Pool 1 with Dumfries Saints, Hawick Linden and Stewartry in Pool 2.
In Pool 1 Annan won their close game against Aspatria 12-10 with the last kick of the match by stand off Craig McCann and then lost their next game against Newton Stewart 7-0. The final game of the Pool saw Aspatria hold on to win after it looked as if they were running away with the match. Newton Stewart fought back and scored a late try to come within 2 points of Aspatria with the final score Aspatria 21 Newton Stewart 19. That final try by Newton Stewart was enough, on the try count back rules, to see them through to the final.
In Pool 2 Dumfries Saints saw off Hawick Linden 17 -1 and Stewartry 24-0 with Linden beating Stewartry by the same score 24-0. The two wins saw Dumfries Saints comfortably through to the final.
The final was a bit of a one sided affair with Newton Stewartís squad depleted through injuries during the afternoon. Dumfries had too much firepower at their disposal and ran out winners scoring 5 unanswered tries to win 29-0 to lift the Violetbank Shield for the first time.
All in all a thoroughly entertaining tournament despite the dreadful weather and the no show of two of the original teams. The clubs thanks go to the teams, helpers and the referees who made the afternoon enjoyable to the small band of hardy supporters who braved the elements.