Match reports for the 1st XV

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ANNAN v IRVINE
BT WEST DIVISION 1
16TH SEPTEMBER 2017

THE 1ST XV FIRST LEAGUE WIN OF THE SEASON

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 defense 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)


ALLAN GLENS v ANNAN
BT WEST DIVISION 1
9TH SEPTEMBER 2017

GLENS TOO STRONG FOR ANNAN

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)


ANNAN v KILMARNOCK
BT WEST DIVISION 1
2ND SEPTEMBER 2017

THE 1ST XV GO DOWN TO KILMARNOCK

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.


ANNAN v IRVINE
BT WEST REGIONAL SHIELD - ROUND 1
26TH AUGUST 2017

THE 1ST XV MARCH ON!

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 defense.

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)


VIOLETBANK TOURNAMENT
12TH AUGUST 2017

COUPLAND SHIELD WIN FOR THE LADS!

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.