Match reports for the 1st XV


All previous match reports etc can be found at the Archive page.

Carrick RFC
East Kilbride RFC
Greenock Wanderers RFC
Irvine RFC
Kilmarnock RFC
Stewartry RFC
Allan Glens RFC
Greenock Wanderers RFC
Irvine RFC
Oban Lorne RFC
Stewartry RFC
Carrick RFC
Garnock RFC
Irvine RFC
Violetbank Tournament

17TH MARCH 2018


Report by Alan Robertson (Match Highlights / Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

With the weather fluctuating between spring sunshine and blizzard conditions only the hardiest of rugby supporters ventured to Violetbank on Saturday, many deciding to watch Irelandís Grand Slam exploits on Super Saturday. Carrick are currently sitting top of West 1 of the BT Regional leagues having won all but one of their fourteen games to date with the hosts currently sitting sixth.

The first quarter of the game found both teams trying to probe the othersí weaknesses and with the benefit of the wind the visitors had the better of the territorial advantage. This advantage was converted into points when they were awarded a penalty when the Annan forwards were caught offside at a ruck and the visiting standoff landed the penalty award.

Annan had their moments with some surging forward runs but were unable to break down the well organised and stubborn visiting defences. The home defences were breached in the second quarter when from a fine run by the Carrick standoff his inside pass bounced off an Annan player and over the line with the Carrick outside centre winning the race to touch it down. With the conversion successful this took the score to Annan 0 Carrick 10.

Annan hit back from the restart and with some fine driving play by the forwards laid siege to the visitorís line but were unable to breach the whitewash but were awarded a penalty for interference on the ground and standoff Craig McCann was successful with his kick to take the half time score to Annan 3 Carrick 10.

Carrick increased their lead 5 minutes after the restart when their left winger burst clear to score in the corner. The conversion was missed. The visitors added another score when their forwards, from a lineout on the 5 metre line drove over to score to extend their lead to 20 points to 3.

Annan continued to drive play deep into the visiting 22 and were rewarded when scrum half Andrew Jancey intercepted a pass, as Carrick tried to break out, to score a converted try between the posts.

The visitors added a bonus point try, following a period of sustained pressure by their forwards on the Annan line, the ball was floated out to their backs with their winger scoring his second try in the corner.

Annan still refused to lie down and following the restart drove play up to the visiting 22 and following a penalty and ensuing lineout the home forwards drove over in the corner. Prop Ryan Glass credited with the touchdown.

The final word went to Carrick when they added a penalty to take the final score to Annan 15 Carrick 28.

Although a defeat Annan can take a lot from the game, especially considering they have not played in 4 weeks. With the number of games cancelled throughout the season Annan has now played 11 games with 11 to play.

Annan 1st XV: R Glass, R Hetherington, T Sloan, N Coupland, D Nordon, A Clark, D Barnes, S Haren, A Jancey, C McCann (C), J Kirby, J Callaghan, A Halliday, J Whiteside, C Wallace

Replacements: K Warrick, C White, A Torbett (all used)



Report by Alan Robertson (Match Highlights / Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

After a 3 week break, the 1st XV took to the Violetbank pitch knowing a win, or even a point, would take them into the top half of the BT West 1 league.

On a fine day, weather-wise, the Violetbank pitch, declared playable after an early morning pitch inspection, was still however less than perfect.

One would have thought that running rugby, given the muddy conditions, would have been impossible but both teams proved that hypothesis wrong.

After their previous weeks heavy defeat at East Kilbride the visitors came out all guns blazing and for the first quarter of the game had the home side pinned in their own 22 and it was Greenock who drew first blood on the 10th minute mark when Annan indiscipline meant a successful penalty took the score to 3-0 to the Renfrewshire team.

Annan hit back and on the 20th minute, after some sustained pressure, centre Jonny Callaghan broke through the Wanderers mid field defences to score a cracking try. His 3rd of the season.

Then just a few minutes later, the unstoppable lock Neal Coupland barged through to take it to 10-3. With Captain Craig McCann successful with the conversion it then became 12-3.

This was Neal's 3rd try in 4 games. That seemed to be how the half would finish, but with about 5 to go, No 8 Sean Haren popped up for his 6th try of the campaign after another period of sustained pressure in the visitors 22.

This try takes Sean to the top of the 1st XV try scoring table for the season. With McCann again successful with the conversion it was 19-3 to Annan and a few minutes later it was half time.

The second half kicked off and it was that man Coupland who crashed over to score again. Bonus try and bonus point earned. With the conversion kicked it was 26-3 and game over? It certainly was when with about 15 minutes to go, centre Alex 'Willix" Halliday scored his 7th try of the season to take it to 33-3. Captain McCann again with the conversion. So Alex and Sean now both on 7 for the season so far!

Then almost from the kick off, following some great driving play by the forwards prop Ryan Hetherington, scored his 2nd try of the season. McCann again with the conversion and 40-3!

Obviously Sean Haren, unhappy that Alex Halliday had equalled his try scoring feats, scored again. When the ball went loose Sean hacked the ball on and won the race to ground the ball. Conversion good. 47-3.

The last word went to scrumhalf Andrew Jancey who intercepted a loose pass, as the visitors tried to break out of their half, to sprint over for a try. Craig kicked the conversion and it was 54-3. And not long after the ref blew for full time.

Final Score: Annan 54 Greenock Wanderers 3

All in all a satisfying performance from the Annan team despite their 3 week layoff and given the heavy conditions at Violetbank. So the Annan move into 6th, 4 points ahead of Stewartry in 7th (with 5 games in hand) and 7 points behind Kilmarnock in 5th (but with 5 games in hand!) in BT West 1 league.

Annan 1st XV Squad: R Glass, R Hetherington, R Gracie, N Coupland, D Norden, A Clark, C Bell, S Haren, J Bigham, C McCann(C), J Whiteside, J Callaghan, A Halliday, J Kirby, C Wallace

Replacements: C White, T Sloan, A Jancey (all used)



Report by Alan Robertson Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

The teams took to the Greenlaw pitch for the 2nd leg of the (almost) annual Chisholm cup clash between Annan and Stewartry (plus it was a league game or something). The Cup has been played for 15 times since the first game in 1998 with Annan being the current holder and holding a 8-7 lead. The first leg had been played earlier this season at Violetbank and Annan had won that encounter 24-14.

This was the first time the Chisholm Cup had been played over 2 legs, so all manner of results were possible; Annan win and retain the Cup, Annan lose but retain the Cup, Stewartry win but lose the Cup, Stewartry win and regain the Cup!

In the league, an Annan win could move them above Stewartry while a win for Stewartry would extend the gap over Annan to at least 8 points (albeit Annan would still have 6 games in hand). So the Chisholm Cup, bragging rights, league position and points were up for grabs in this BT West 1 Regional League encounter.

And as always seems to be the case in matches at the Greenlaw, it was Stewartry who came out all guns blazing and they were 8 nil up after just 14 minutes. First with a try on the 7th minute which was followed up with a penalty shortly afterwards.

Annan looked not only were they still on the bus but more that they were still waiting on it to arrive in Bank Street such was their calamitous start to the game with their defences pierced again and again in the first quarter of the game as first up tackles were missed!

Annanís cause was not helped by lock Tam Sloan having to leave the field of play with a head knock after 10 minutes. This gave Gus Clark, who just arrived back from the Land of Oz on Monday, a chance to get some game time- perhaps a bit more than he anticipated what with jetlag kicking in.

For the rest of the first half, both teams had chances and it looked like it was going to end 8 zip to Stewartry but on the stroke of half time, the Aussie rugby guru that is Gus Clark, in his first game for Annan for almost 2 years, following a magnificent chip over the advancing home defences by standoff Craig McCann, Gus capitalised on a defensive mistake to pounce on the loose ball to score to take it to 8-7. Captain McCann with the conversion.

8-7 at half time and game on!

The second half started at a hectic pace but there was no further scoring until the 65th minute, and it was the Coupland by the name of Neal that crashed over to take it to 12-8.

Stewartry hit back almost straight away though as some Annan indiscipline meant a successful penalty took it to 11-12 with 10 minutes to go. With 5 minutes to go, Annan were reduced to 14 as Gus Clark was yellow carded for some southern hemisphere interpretation of the rules.

Could Annan hang on? A Craig McCann penalty shortly afterwards took it to 15-11 and Annan hung on for the win and Annan retain the Chisholm Cup. For Stewartry, their losing bonus point was enough to keep them above Annan for now.

The 1st XV now take a break for a week and continue their league campaign with a home game v Carrick on the 10th Feb at Violetbank.

Annan 1st XV Squad: R Glass, R Hetherington, R Gracie, N Coupland, T Sloan, D Barnes, C Bell, S Haren, J Bigham, C McCann (C), J Whiteside, J Callaghan, A Halliday, A Jancey, C Wallace

Replacements: D Wyllie, D Nordon, A Clark. (all used)



Report by Alan Robertson (Match Highlights / Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

With the weather wiping out most of the BT West Division games, the Annan v East Kilbride match was 1 of only 2 games (from a possible 17) that went ahead on Saturday afternoon. In fact only eleven league game s were played throughout Scotland on Saturday. The weather though had caused the fixture to be played at the Everholm instead of Violetbank. The pitches at Violetbank being still waterlogged after the recent snow and rain.

This was the 7th league game that had been played on the Everholm pitch by the 1st XV since the opening of Violetbank in 1999, and the first for almost 8 years. So the teams took to a heavy pitch each knowing that a win would improve their respective positions in the West 1 league table. Up to 4th (from 5th) for East Kilbride and potentially up to 6th (from 8th) for Annan. Only potentially as it would require a bonus point win.

It was Annan that had the better start as they went 3-0 up in as many minutes thanks to the boot of Captain McCann and some East Kilbride indiscipline and then the same again on the 18th minute to take a 6-0 lead. In-between there had been chances for both teams but none were taken. The 2nd twenty of the first half was again a series of missed chances and the half ended 6-0 to Annan.

The 2nd half started and this time is was East Kilbride who got off to a flyer and a well worked try and successful conversion right at the start took the score to 7-6 to East Kilbride. From the restart Annan drove play to within inches of the visitorís line but were unable to breach the whitewash.

The way the scoring was going in this game, it was once again the old cliche of the next score was going to be all important and on the 65th minute, up stepped that man again Captain Craig McCann, on his first start since being injured back in the Stewartry game on the 7th October, to slot over another penalty to take it to 9-7 to Annan.

Could Annan hold on?...


With a few minutes to go a penalty from East Kilbride gave them a 10-9 lead which was how the game ended.

All in all this was not the most inspiring game by either team although it must be said that the visitors had the bulk of possession provided by their well drilled pack of forwards. Annanís problems lay in the fact that on too many occasions the ball carrier ended up isolated and either coughed up possession or a penalty! Congratulations to East Kilbride who move up to 4th in the table.

For Annan, they have to regroup for one of the biggest games of the season next week when they take on Stewartry at the Greenlaw with the Chisholm cup, league points and league position all up for grabs!

Annan 1st XV Squad: R Glass, R Hetherington, R Gracie, T Sloan, N Coupland, D Barnes, C Bell, S Haren, J Whiteside, C McCann (C), J Kirby, J Callaghan, A Halliday, D Wyllie, A Jancey

Replacements: C White, (used) C Smith, G Lynch (used)



Report by Gary Coupland

On the evening of Friday 12th January, 2018, Annan 1st XV Squad travelled the 180 miles up to Oban in preparation for their BT West League Division 1 clash against Oban Lorne RFC.

After a hearty breakfast the Squad took part in the now annual pre match walk up to McCaigs Tower for a squad photo, which affords panoramic views of the town, harbour area and the islands of Kerrera and Mull.

Prior to the game kicking off, both teams and spectators held a minutes silence for former Oban Lorne Club Captain Euan Wilson who sadly passed away recently.

From the kick off Annan quickly took the upper hand, pressurising their opponents in most areas. They were further assisted when Oban were temporarily reduced to 14 after a sin binning for a high tackle.

The break through came during this period when from an excellent move from an Annan lineout, centre Johnny Callaghan was put through at pace from about 30 metres out to split the Oban defence and score under the posts. Unfortunately Cairn Wallace slipped as he was about to kick the conversion resulting in his kick thundering off the underside of the crossbar.

From the early dominance and after gaining the crucial first score it was hoped that Annan would go on to exert more control over the game push further ahead. However this proved not to be the case and they instead appeared to lose confidence, committing multiple errors at critical stages, frequently choosing the wrong option and at times trying to play barbarian -esque rugby from close to their own line, when they were clearly not equipped to do so. As a result Oban capitalised on one of these errors and levelled the score up at 5 points apiece.

This gave the Oban boys a boost and they scored a few minutes later, which was converted to make the score 12-5. This was where it remained until half time despite some more urgency and dominance from the Annan team.

Half time: Oban Lorne 12 Annan 1st XV 5

After the break Annan began to exert a bit more of the control they had shown in the initial stages of the match. This was further improved by the inclusion of Club Captain Craig McCann, from the bench, who started to use his experience and nous to give the Annan offensive line more options and zing about it. They were rewarded a few minutes later when second row Neal Coupland burst through three Oban players to score under the posts, with McCann levelling the scores with the conversion.

After another Annan handling error, Oban were able to push into the Annan half and were awarded a penalty following an Annan high tackle which they converted to retake the lead 15-12.

After a few injury stoppages and with some of the Oban team tiring, Annan began to exert a lot of control over the latter stages of the game with Oban rarely getting out of their own half. From a lineout and a resultant forward drive on the Oban line, the ball was zipped along the backline for Alex Halliday to score out wide on the left, to make the score 15-17 in Annanís favour.

Annan continued to dominate the final few minutes and again after repeated forward pressure on the Oban line in almost a carbon copy of the previous try Alex Halliday was again set free to score on the left hand side to put the game beyond doubt and give Annan the bonus point win. Craig McCann converting with the last kick of the game to make the final score 15-24.

On the final whistle one of the Oban players was red carded, having been adjudged by the referee to kick the head of Annan wing forward Calum Bell in the lead up to the final try.

This was another good result for Annan, especially with the four try bonus point against a dogged and abrasive Oban Lorne team who always give there all to the final whistle. If the boys can maintain their concentration, energy levels and reduce the error count over the full 80 minutes then they should continue with their excellent start to the new year in the games ahead.

Best for Annan on the day was the ever improving Tom Sloan at 2nd row, the hard tackling back row, Dwayne Barnes in the in the forwards and the centre partnership of Johnny Callaghan and Alex Halliday in the backs.

Annan Team: Ryan Gracie, Ryan Hetherington, Ryan Glass, Tom Sloan, Neal Coupland, Calum Bell, Dwayne Barnes, Sean Haren, Josh Whiteside. James Bingham, James Kirby, Johnny Callaghan, Alex Halliday, Andrew Jancey, Cairn Wallace.

Subs: Craig McCann and Calum Smith (both used)



Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

After an enforced 12 week layoff Annan resumed league rugby with an away game at Maress against 2nd bottom Irvine. With such a long break it must have felt like the start of the season for Annan and so it appeared in the first half with numerous handling errors. However, Annan opened the scoring with only five minutes on the clock when from a well organised drive by the visiting forwards prop Ryan Hetherington drove over to score between the posts with full back Cairn Wallace adding the extra 2 points.

It was a further 20 minutes before another score was registered when from a defensive mistake in the Annan midfield the home inside centre broke through and ran half the length of the pitch to score which with conversion successful levelled the score at 7 all. Five minutes from half time Annan retook the lead when Cairn Wallace landed a penalty from in front of the posts.

The visitors increased their lead minutes from the halt time whistle when centre Alex Halliday in a great run up the wing, following some enterprising interplay between the backs and forwards, saw him hand off several despairing tackles from the home backs to score in the corner to take the half time score to Irvine 7 Annan 15.

After a half finding their feet and getting back up to speed in West 1 of the BT Regional Leagues Annan put in 40 minutes of exiting free flowing rugby which the home side found difficulty in coping with. The visitors ran in 5 tries over the half to the hostís one.

First on the scoreboard was No 8 Sean Haren who powered over at the side of the posts. Next up was left winger James Kirby who found himself in acres of space and outran the home cover defences to score in the corner.

Not to be outdone right winger Andrew Jancey scored in the opposite corner after being set on his way following some enterprising play by Annanís back line. That man Sean Haren doubled his try scoring exploits when he burst through the Irvine fringe defences from a No 8 pick up at a scrum and bulldozed his way to the line to score.

The final try of the game fell to prop Tam Sloan who, from a driving maul just inside the hostís 22, broke free and with a lot to do to breach the line powered his way past and through the last vestiges of the Irvine defences to crash over the whitewash to score. With Cairn Wallace adding two conversions that took the final score to Irvine 12 Annan 44 which for the records is Annanís biggest away score in the league this season.

So all in all this was a fine performance from Annan considering the length of their layoff. Players that caught the eye of this correspondent was centre Alex Halliday whose attacking play in concert with centre Jonny Callaghan had the home midfield defences in disarray. In the forwards No 8 Sean Haren put in his usual rumbustious performance with the returning wing forward Dwayne Barnes and wing forward Callum Bell providing the perfect balance in defence and attack. However, the Man of the Match in this correspondentís opinion was the ever improving prop/second row Tam Sloan who put in one of his best performances in an Annan shirt to date.

Annan 1st XV Squad: R Glass, R Hetherington, R Gracie, C White, T Sloan, D Barnes, C Bell, S Haren (C), J Whiteside, J Bigham, J Kirby, J Callaghan, A Halliday, A Jancey, C Wallace.

Replacements: Coupland, D Nordon, K Warrick, C McCann (all used)



Report by Alan Robertson (Match Highlights / Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

The two teams took to the Violetbank pitch knowing the winners would be going into the BT West Regional Final and just two more wins from a Murrayfield final! It was also both teams first game in a few weeks, due to call offs and waterlogged pitches and the start was a bit rusty from both teams.

So it was not surprise that it wasn't until the 12 minute that someone scored. Alas it was Carrick with the converted try to take it to 7-0. Annan hit back though not long after with a Cairn Wallace penalty to take it to 7-3. Start of some Annan pressure and points? Alas no, as 5 minutes later another converted Carrick try took it to 14-3 and Annan needed to score to next to keep in touch.

Again, it was a no but it was only a 3 point increase for Carrick due to some Annan indiscipline. A 14 point lead for Carrick and not looking great for Annan. And it got worse as just before the break Carrick got their 3rd and then 4th converted tries as Annan collapsed and Carrick took a 31-3 lead into half time.

Annan were now just playing for pride in the second half. And it wasnít long before the Annan support had a little something to cheer about when Captain Sean Haren drove over in the 47 minute to take it to 31-8. Sean's first of the season.

A Carrick penalty took it to 34-8 not long after. Some great chances from both sides was now the order of the day and it wasn't until the 65 minute and then 67th minute that the next scores occurred...

....and it was that man Captain Haren again for his brace and then hat-trick tries! Cairn with 1 conversion. 34-20 and 15 to go. Could this be one of the greatest ever Annan comebacks?

Alas no - but not a bad 2nd half performance from the home side! Carrick had the last say though with 2 quick tries in the final few minutes.

Final score 44-20 to Carrick.

Great 2nd half comeback though from Annan but alas the 1st half performance of Carrick or Annan (take your pick!) was Annan's downfall in this match. So a BT West Regional Shield final again for Carrick and best of luck to them as they attempt to retain the BT Shield trophy.

For the 1st XV, they return to Violetbank next week when they take on Helensburgh in a league game.

Annan Squad: R Glass, C Bell, R Gracie, T Sloan, D Nordon, E Braid, G Graham, S Haren (C), J Whiteside, J Bigham, J Kirby, J Callaghan, A Jancey, A Torbett, C Wallace

Replacements: D Wyllie, W Gray, C Park (all used)



Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

After the two hour bus ride, the 1st XV took to the Fort Matilda pitch in West 1 of the BT Divisional Leagues knowing that a win could get them into 5th spot with a game in hand on most of the division.

The initial start to the game was a scrappy affair but with Greenock initially on top Annan found themselves 6-0 down after just 12 minute after conceding 2 kickable penalties.

As has been the way all season, the 1st XV tried to run the ball as often as they could but a loose pass as they were closing in on the Greenock line was intercepted and the Wandererís full back ran the length of the pitch to score under the posts and Annan were 13-0 down with just 20 mins on the clock.

Annan re-grouped and launched several attacks into the home 22 in the realization that the next score would probably be crucial! As it turned out, there was no further score in the half so it ended 13-0 to the Wanderers and Annan realised that much work was needed if Annan wanted to get something from this match.

The 2nd half kicked off and the same requirement needed: Annan to score next to keep themselves in the game and thankfully on the 45th minute, a successful penalty from Carin Wallace made it a 10 point game. 13-3.

Alas for Annan, the score just seemed to inspire Greenock and 10 minutes later after some fine pressure, Greenock score another converted try to take it to 20-3. Game over? Not yet, as Annan hit straight back through Wallace again. The ball was driven in to the home half by the visiting forwards and then spun out to the backs with fullback Wallace coming into the attacking line at pace he broke through several tackles to score. A great try, which he also converted. 20-10.

Annan continued to take the game to the home side and another fine backs handling move saw winger James Kirby kick the ball through the advancing Wanderers back line but was impeded as he was about to win the race to ground the ball and the referee awarded a penalty try for Annan and it was a 3 point game with about 20 minutes to go.

Despite, despite some great pressure from Annan, the Greenock defence held firm to take the win. Annan did however gain a losing bonus point. Annan can take great credit from the fact that with no replacements available all the players had to play the full 80 minutes.

Annan 1st XV Squad: R Glass, K Warrick, R Gracie, N Coupland, C White, D Nordon, C Bell, S Haren, J Whiteside, J Bigham, J Kirby, J Callaghan, A Halliday, D Wyllie, C Wallace

The first XV now have a home tie at Violetbank on Saturday where Annan have won 3 from 4 so hopefully they can extend that but it will be a tough old game against an always tough Cambuslang team.



Report by Gus Robertson (Match Highlights / Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

On Saturday, at a fairly sunny Violetbank, the Annan players took to the pitch hoping to add to their 2 game winning streak. Facing them where local friends and rugby rivals Stewartry Rugby.

This BT West 1 league match was also doubling as game 1 (of 2) for the annual Chisholm Cup. The 2nd leg being the away fixture next January.

The game kicked off with Stewartry playing towards the Violetbank Pavilion end. And it was Stewartry who had the early pressure and who struck first.

After numerous phases of play in the Annan half, the Stewartry stand off put in a deft kick that bounced awkwardly in front of the Annan posts, and despite a despairing grab by Annan full back Cairn Wallace, the Stewartry number 12 nicked the ball to score under the posts. The try was converted to give Stewartry a 7-0 lead in as many minutes.

Straight from the restart, it was Annan's turn to apply the pressure and with 2 periods of play lasting 6 minutes in total, the Annan pack in particular managed to get the ball to a few feet from under the Stewartry posts. Lock Christian White was in the right place at the right time and picked up the ball to crash over the try line. His first of the season. Craig McCann with the conversion. 7-7 after 12 minutes.

As it turned out that was the last of the scoring in the first half and not for the lack of chances!

Annan were on top for the remainder of the half and were rarely out of the Stewartry half, but on numerous occasions were guilty of wasting good opportunities with mistimed passes or taking the wrong option. Coupled with some good strong Stewartry defence!

The second half started off with a bang as Stewartry, trying to move the ball out of their half, were penalised for holding on after a good 10 phases and quick thinking by Callum Bell who took the tap penalty, fed Sean Haren who in turn with quick hands passed to Craig McCann who fed a pop pass eventual try scorer Cairn Wallace, who sprinted 30 yards to score under the posts. Craig again with the conversion. 14-7 to Annan.

The game started to open up a bit after that and for the next 15 minutes both teams tried to run the ball but good defence and the odd knock on curtailed the scoring. Annan's Adam Torbett had the best chance as he crashed over after some fine running play from both the Annan backs and forwards but alas a foot in touch prevented Annan from adding to their tally.

However, on the 56th minute, Adam Torbett got his try after some great rugby from Annan. From a scrum on the half way line, some silky running and passing from the Annan backs and the odd forward allowed the ball to be whipped out to the winger who crashed over for his well deserved try. The conversion was missed by Cairn Wallace who had replaced Craig McCann with the kicking duties as Craig had to go off with a leg injury,

This try seemed to spark something in Stewartry however as they processed to dominate the next 10 minutes through some powerful forwards rugby. Annan's cause was not helped when Christian White was yellow carded as the referee got tired of the numerous penalties Annan were conceding in defence of their try line.

And from a resulting scrum just 30 seconds later, Stewartry pushed over to take it to 19-14 with 15 to go. Annan with 14 men for 10 of that!

However, thankfully for the Annan support, it was Annan who struck next a mere 5 minutes later as Alex Halliday finished off a jinky run for his second try of the season. It was a great finish as it looked as if Annan had wasted the possession as they had been pushed back thanks to some fine defence and some mistimed passes. 24-14 to Annan. The try also gave Annan the try bonus point.

The last 10 minutes or so were dominated by Annan who again were camped in the Stewartry half but could not find that killer finish and were unlucky on a number of decent chances.

So a final score 24-14 to Annan. Not a vintage performance from an Annan team who could have scored a few more tries if they has just kept their composure a bit. But it was a fairly heavy Violetbank pitch that can sometimes hinder Annans fast running game.

Anyway at the end of the day, Annan take the 5 league points and a 10 point lead into the 2nd leg of the Chisholm Cup. You cant really grumble too much re that! Well played lads!

And you know there is going to be a game very soon when the team take all their chances and a big victory is going to be on the cards.

The 1st XV now travel to Greenock Wanderers next Saturday for their next BT West Division 1 game.

For the record, the 2nd leg of the Chisholm Cup/BT West 1 match is on the 27th January at the Greenlaw.

Annan 1st XV Squad: R Glass, C Bell, T Sloan, C White, D Nordon, R Dunlop, E Braid, S Haren, J Whiteside, C McCann, A Jancey, J Bigham, A Halliday, A Torbett, C Wallace

Replacements: C Park, D Wyllie, A Rae, S Wyllie



Report by Niall 'Baz' Smith

Annan travelled to North Ayrshire knowing that to get to the semi-finals of the West Regional Shield they had to overcome a Garnock side that had started the season well, winning their first four West Division 1 league matches. Annan played Garnock twice last season, losing narrowly away 7-5 but winning 3-0 at home. So the prospects were for another low scoring, tight affair.

Nevertheless the first 15 minutes of the match produced more points than both of last yearís matches combined. Annan started brightly using attacking kicks to turn the large Garnock forwards and check their blitz defence. It was from one of these kicks that the ball was turned over and moved quickly to Alex Halliday who expertly run through a gap to score between the posts, Craig McCann converted, 0-7.

Only two minutes later Garnock burst through the defence themselves through their excellent outside centre. A 40m run concluded with a well taken try in the corner, this was converted, 7-7.

On 20 minutes Annan again found joy through their kick chase and managed to win a penalty 10 metres from the line, this was quickly taken in an attempt to score 5 points rather than 3. The Garnock defence held firm leading Craig McCann to sensibly opt for a well struck Drop Goal, 7-10.

Despite some excellent attacking play the lead could not be extended or held onto as Garnock won a penalty just before half time which they converted to make the half time score 10-10.

The second half started in a similar vein as the first with Annan looking threatening. After a period of pressure the Garnock fly half attempted a very daring clearance kick, this backfired badly as his opposite number McCann charged down to score a gift of a try, Craig also converted to put Annan 7 points ahead.

Annan stretched further ahead after a pinpoint box kick from James Bigham bounced favourably into the hands of Cairn Wallace who scampered under the posts for another converted score, 10-24.

Shortly after stretching their lead to fourteen points Annan were further boosted as Garnock were reduced to 14 men after their second row took exception to Ross Dunlopís ferocious tackling. However this galvanised the home side who turned out to be the dominant force for the remainder of the game. Only excellent Annan defence restricted Garnock to one converted try, despite concerted pressure.

So Annan hung on to win 24-17, an excellent result which brings about a home semi-final against another in form team Carrick on 28th October. If Annan can maintain their levels in defence whilst continuing to take their chances they will be optimistic of progressing to the final. However, they must work on maintaining discipline whilst under pressure. Several unnecessary penalties in the last quarter made the afternoon a bit more uncomfortable than it needed to be.

Annan 1st XV Team: C Park, K Warrick, R Glass, C White, D Nordon, R Dunlop, E Braid, S Haren, J Bigham, C McCann, A Jancey, J Callaghan, A Halliday, H Houldey, C Wallace.

Replacements: T Sloan, J Whiteside (both used)



Report by Gus Robertson (Match Highlights / Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

The 1st XV took to the Violetbank pitch hoping for their 1st league win of the season against Irvine.

First though, there was a minutes silence for Annan rugby stalwart Alex McEwen who died last week. RIP Eck.

The 1st XV had only one win so far this season in the BT Shield and that was against Saturdays opponents Irvine.

Irvine are having a tough time in West 1 this season and like Annan had lost their first 2 opening games so like Annan Irvine were wanting to kick start their league season.

However it was Annan who got off to the best possible start thanks to a Cairn Wallace penalty after just 5 minutes due to the Irvine player not releasing the ball in from of the posts. Cairn taking the kicks with usual kicker Captain Craig McCann out through injury. Cairn repeated the success just 7 minutes later to take the score to 6-0. A Irvine player kicking the ball from an offside position.

Annan, as usual, were trying to play their fast running game but it seemed to be that the last try scoring pass was over thrown, missed, forward, stopped by a great Irvine defence or knocked on!

The 1st XV could have been 2 tries up before Cairn hit his second penalty through mazy runs from Jonny Callaghan and Alex Halliday but the aforementioned last pass problem curtailed the scores from increasing further. The Annan forwards were also rampaging well, with Callum Bell and Ross Dunlop the pick of the 1st half.

Irvine were also trying to play the running game but had the same problems as Annan but unluckily for them it was happening inside their own 22 which allowed Annan to get the territorial advantage.

Irvine hit back though through a penalty of their own (Annan hands in the ruck) on the 17 minutes after a good bit of decent possession.

It was a scrappy game with the rain starting, which was not helping the handling but both teams were still trying to play running rugby but errors from both sides again cut down the scoring.

Annan thought they has scored late on in the half, when a great piece of play from the forwards and backs combined to put Andrew Jancey over in the corner but the last pass from Alex Halliday was deemed forward. Looking back at the video, Andrew can count himself very unlucky!

Thankfully Annan scored a great try 5 minutes from half time. After a great dummy from a gathered ball on the half way line, Cairn Wallace, with a one two pass to/from Andrew Jancey (who took some hit as he passed!) and quick pass from Cairn, put Centre Jonny Callaghan crashing over for a great try to give Annan a 13-3 lead. Was a mighty fine hand off from Jonny as well to put the Irvine number 5 on his back. Cairn was succesful with the conversion.

But just like the Shield game, just when you thought Annan might start to build a lead, Irvine hit back and on the stroke of half time, Irvine kicked a second penalty to take the half time score to Annan 13 v Irvine 6. The penalty was given for not releasing after Annan has tried to run the ball from their own 22 but getting caught out.

The 2nd half started with both teams again trying to run the ball in the wet conditions. Like the 1st half Annan had numerous chances to extend their lead but good Irvine defence put a stop to that.

As the half went on, Irvine started to exert a bit of pressure and it was no surprise when they scored with a penalty try on the 55th minute to take it to 13-13. The referee not happy with Christian Whites attempt to help Irvine with the touch down as Annan tried to defend the push over.

The game was getting a bit towsy with both sets of players knowing it was anyones game and all knew that one piece of brilliance or stupidity could win the match for either team.

Luckily for Annan it was the prop-genius that is Ryan Glass who popped up to cross the whitewash on the 70th minute to take the score to 20-13. Cairn again with the conversion.

The try was a result of a good line out take and some fines drives to allow Andrew Jancey to almost dive over. He was tackled just short but Ryan was there to get the score.

So a nervy last 10 minutes and with 5 mins to go, Cairn made the game safe with his 3rd penalty of the day, given after Jonny Callaghan was tacked in the air after a mis-kicked clearance from Irvine.

It could have been a bit better as just before the penalty, Sean Haren had the try line at his mercy but somehow the ball escaped his grasp in the act of scoring to deny Seanís his first try of the season.

The last 5 minutes was all Irvine who despite being 10 points down were going for the win rather than collect a losing bonus point and kicked for the possible 7 points rather then take a safe 3.

But thankfully great Annan defence kept Irvine out and the lads got their 1st league win of the season.

Not the greatest game but a win is a win and the lads can take that winning feeling into next weeks game v Oban Lorne at Violetbank.

Plus point were the Annan scrum did look a lot better than it had done over the past few weeks but they were still getting shunted on occasion. The Annan defence and running off the ball was also excellent.

Minus points was the lack of clinical finishing that could, had perhaps should, have given Annan a slightly bigger win.

Credit to Irvine though who fought to the end and never stopped trying to run the ball from anywhere on the pitch and if they had nicked something from the game you couldnít have felt that hard done by!

Good luck to them for the rest of the season and we will meet again on 6th January when we first foot the boys from Marress.

And also thanks to the many Ex-Players who turned up for their annual day out and supported the lads plus to all the regular supporters, volunteers and mascots!

Annan 1st Team: R Glass, K Warrick, M Crombie, D Nordon, R Dunlop, E Braid, C Bell, S Haren, J Whiteside, J Bigham, H Houldey, J Callaghan, A Halliday, A Jancey, C Wallace† †

Replacements: T Sloan, A Allison, C White, A Torbett†(all used)



Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

Annan travelled to the Bearyards on Saturday to take on Allan Glens in BT West League Division 1. The Bearyards has never been a happy hunting ground for Annan over the years, having only won there once, and this visit proved to be no exception.

Annan started well and were 6 points to the good in as many minutes when the home backs were penalised for offside on consecutive Annan attacks. Basically this was as good as it got for the visitors in the first half as the hostís backs ran in four unanswered tries, gaining their bonus point, before half time.

Half time score: Allan Glens 26 v Annan 6.

The healthy travelling Annan support hoped that their team would make inroads into the deficit as they had done last season. Unfortunately, there was no repeat and Annan leaked a further four tries. Annan did score a consolation try during the half when the forwards and back combined to drive play deep into the Glennís 22 and wing forward Dwayne Barnes was on hand to drive the ball over the line.

Final score Allan Glens 52 v Annan 11.

All in all this was a disappointing day at the office for Annan, with the 2nd XV playing Glenís 2nd XV losing 78 Ė 3. Allan Glens are benefiting from the fruits of their Youth Academy this season with ten players featuring in their 1st XV squad.

Annan did not play that badly during this fixture but they were unable to control their possession and by virtue of the fact that they were chasing the game for the majority of the game they made numerous errors which enabled the opposition to capitalise on these mistakes with half the home teams tries coming from turned over possession.

Annan had several attacks where it looked as if they were certain to score but managed to butcher the attempts.

On the plus side Annan scrummage had improved for the most part but the lineout is still a cause for concern.

Annan 1st XV Squad: R Gracie, K Warrick, R Glass, R Dunlop, D Nordon, D Barnes, E Braid, C Bell, J Whiteside, C McCann, H Houldey, J Callaghan, A Halliday, J Kirby, A Jancey,

Replacements: C Warrick, T Sloan, Calum Grant (all used)



Report by Alan Robertson (Match Highlights / Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

With Kilmarnock saved from relegation last season from BT West 1 by virtue of league restructuring from 10 teams to 12, they have obviously recruited well over the summer and it was a much changed team that took the field from last seasonís visit to Violetbank.

The visitors started the brighter of the two teams and straight from the KO drove play deep into the Annan 22 and only desperate defence kept the visitorís speedy backs at bay. Annan managed to clear their lines and a managed to take play into the Kilmarnock half.

However it was the visitors who had first blood when the visiting backs opened up the home defences sending their centre Andrews through to score an unconverted try-the conversion attempt being charged down!

Annan struck back from the restart and a combined attack by the forwards and backs saw wing forward Callum Bell coming into the line to crash over to score a converted try to take the hosts into a 2 point lead which lasted for all of 4 minutes as from the restart Kilmarnock drove play deep into the Annan 22 and from a scrum on the 5 metre line, occasioned by an Annan knock on, the visiting No 8 picked up from the base of the scrum and crashed over to score a converted try.

Annan rallied and fought back and after some enterprising play from both sets of combatants it was the home team who were next to score when, following a penalty award, the home forwards battled towards the line and when stopped the ball was spun out to the wing where full back Cairn Wallace coming into the line at pace scored in the corner. The try was unconverted and the score after half an hour was tied at 12 all.

Annan had their chances to retake the lead when awarded two penalties which unfortunately were missed. During this time Annan also had two tries disallowed, firstly No 8 Sean Haren had seemed to have driven over but the referee, who was unsighted, deemed the ball was held up. Similarly lock Ross Dunlop appeared to have scored in the corner but the try was disallowed again as the referee was unsighted.

Just before half time Kilmarnock retook the lead following a fine backs move which saw their fullback glide into score a converted try.

Half time score: Annan 12 v Kilmarnock 19.

Minutes after the restart Annan reduced the deficit to 4 points with a well struck penalty by standoff Craig McCann. Despite some excellent play by both sides Annan from a lineout set up a flowing movement through their forwards and backs only to have the ball knocked down and intercepted by the visiting centre who galloped 70 metres to score under the posts. With the try converted Kilmarnock were 15-26 in the lead after 15 minutes of the second half. The visitors extended their lead when their No 8 used his bulk to crash over for his second and Kilmarnockís 5th try which went unconverted.

Annan seemed to be galvanised by this score and set about laying siege to the visitors line and despite butchering several moves their efforts were rewarded when winger Harry Houdney sprinted through the visitorís defences and when it looked as if he would score he presented a fine inside pass to lock Ross Dunlop who score behind the posts. The try was converted an Annan had reduced the deficit to 9 points.

Annan reduced the deficit to 6 points when awarded a penalty and also a potential bonus point. With the game finely balanced at 25-31 Annan threw everything into attack and looked as if they might just do it when, in a flowing backs move, the ball was floated out to the wing in a long looping pass but the ball was knocked on and the game was over.

Final Score: Annan 25 v Kilmarnock 31.

All in all this was an exciting game of rugby with the visitors worthy winners. Annanís scrummage was at times better than of late but still suffered from a loss against the head. The lineout also has improved. Once agin the back-row of Bell, Barnes and Haren were outstanding. Special mention must be given to young scrum half Josh Whiteside who had his first start in the 1st XV and played for the full game and showed great promise.

Annan 1st XV Squad: M Crombie, K Warrick, R Glass, R Dunlop, D Nordon, D Barnes, C Bell, S Haren, J Whiteside, C McCann, A Torbett, J Callaghan, D Wyllie, H Houldey, C Wallace.

Replacements: C Park, S Wyllie.

26TH AUGUST 2017


Report by Alan Robertson (Match Highlights / Match Photos (opens in a new tab))

The season started in earnest for the 1st XV on Saturday as they hosted Irvine RFC in the first round of the BT West Regional Shield at Violetbank. Irvine have a great record at Violetbank, winning 4 from 4 over the years! The only Annan win at Annan being at the Everholm in 1996! Saturdayís game was a chance for both team to get to the quarter finals of the BT West Regional Shield.

In the first half it was a tight affair, with both teams getting to grips that the season had started again! However it was Annan who had the better of the half, and various Irvine infringements allowed Annan to take a 12-0 lead thanks to Captain McCann penalties by the 30th minute.

Irvine finally got onto the score sheet with 5 minutes to go in the half after some Annan indiscipline but right on the stroke of half time after a great move from the Annan backs put winger Andrew Jancey through for a try. Captain McCannís conversion took the half time score to 19-3 to Annan.

The 2nd half started and for 15 minutes there was no scoring. If Annan thought they were going cruise to victory, Irvine put paid to that as they scored a great unconverted try to take it to 19-8 and game on again. Five minutes later it was an 8 point game, 19-11 when the visitorís standoff landed a penalty. Fortunately the safe boot of McCann just seconds later took the score to 22-11 and the Annan supporters took a breath again!

With 10 minutes to go, the Annan supporters were able to relax a little as winger Adam Torbett crossed the whitewash after another great move to take it to 27-11. But then with 5 minutes to go, the lads from Marress were not for giving up and another great converted try took it to 27-18!

But just like that the game as a contest was over as Adam Torbett crossed the whitewash again to take the score to 32-18 and the countdown to the final whistle was on!

Andrew Jancey then got his 2nd try and the final whistle blew a few minutes later and Annan were into the quarter final draw.

Final Score: 37-18

All in all this was a typical first game of the season with both teams exhibiting rustiness which manifested itself into numerous errors, dropped passes and wrong options.

Annan struggled in their set piece play, particularly in the scrummage where they were up against a much larger and heavier pack. The home back row of Dwayne Barnes, Callum Bell and Sean Haren however were outstanding throughout the game in both attack and defence.

Annan did have some injury concerns with both props Callum Nicholson and Ryan Hetherington having to leave the field of play with injuries.

Annan 1st XV Squad: R Glass, K Warrick, R Hetherington, D Nordon, N Coupland, D Barnes, C Bell, S Haren, J Bigham, C McCann, H Houldey, J Callaghan, D Wyllie, A Jancey, C Wallace

Replacements: C Nicholson, A Torbett, J Whiteside, M Crombie (all used)

12TH AUGUST 2017


Report by Gary 'Taggart' Coupland

On Saturday 12th August, Annan Rugby held their annual 15 a side tournament at Violetbank, Annan with teams from Wigton, Creighton, Hawick Harlequins, Newton Stewart, Moffat and Stewartry taking part.

The event took the form of two groups of pool matches with Annan, Hawick Harlequins, Moffat and Creighton being in pool one, with games being 30 minutes in duration.

Pool two comprised Newton Stewart, the current holders of the Violetbank Shield, Stewartry and Wigton with these games being 44 minutes in duration so all the teams had a similar amount of game time.

During the afternoon the crowd were entertained with some fine running rugby from all the teams who participated.

Results were:

Pool 1

  • Annan 13 - Hawick Harlequins 17 - C. McCann (2P, 1C), A. Halliday (T)
  • Moffat 26 - Creighton 0
  • Hawick Harlequins 37 - Moffat 0
  • Annan 22 - Creighton 5 - R. Dunlop (T), D. Barnes (T), A. Allison (1T, 1C), J. Callaghan (T)
  • Hawick Harlequins 38 Creighton 0
  • Annan 36 - Moffat 0 - A. Rae (T), G. Lynch (T), S. Haren (T), J. Callaghan (T), D. Wyllie (T), C. Bell (T), C. McCann (3C)

    Pool 2

  • Newton Stewart 52 - Stewartry 0
  • Newton Stewart 13 - Wigton 8
  • Wigton 25 - Stewartry 24

    The competition then concluded with Annan taking on Wigton for the Coupland Shield ( 3rd/ 4th play off) which the home side edged 10 - 8. Annan points from: S. Haren( (T), C. McCann (1P, 1C)

    The current holders Newton Stewart then took on Hawick Harlequins and retained there grip on the Violetbank Shield with a hard fought 7-3 win over the men from the Borders.

    The tournament sponsor Linda Jardine from LJ Residential then presented the trophies to Newton Stewart and Annan to bring the afternoon to a close.

    Thanks to:

    Linda Jardine and LJ Residential for her continued sponsorship of the event.

    The four referees Robert Mchenry, Stephen Kingston, Scott Livingston and Graeme Fisher for their efforts throughout the afternoon.

    To all the many volunteers who assisted during the preceding week in preparing Violetbank and to those who assisted at the event on the day.