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ANNAN AT THE MOFFAT TENS
28TH JULY 2018
SEMI FINAL FOR THE LADS
Report by Gary Coupland (Match Photos (opens in a new tab))
On Saturday 28th July, a 14 man squad of Annan senior players travelled to Holm Park, Moffat to take part in Moffat Rugby Clubs Annual 10 a side tournament in their first outing of the 2018/19 season.
The competition was run in two Group stages, with Annan’s group (A) consisting of Walkerburn, Oban Lorne and Stewartry and Group B comprising Biggar, Dalkeith, Dumfries and Wigtownshire
Annan’s first pool game was against Walkerburn and from the outset Annan were very competitive and aggressive running in a couple of early scores against the Borders outfit through Captain Sean Haren and Tom ‘the machine’ Sloan. Harry Houldey adding one conversion.
Annan continued to dominate and Tom Sloan added his second a couple of minutes later followed by an excellent individual try from Andrew Jancey., both of which were converted by Harry Houldey, who was beginning to get his range with his nice new pink designed boots.
Next up was Oban Lorne and the Annan boys upped there game again against a similarly aggressive hard running team, Annan eventually dominating the breakdown area which resulted in scores by Tom Sloan, Alex Halliday and Andrew Jancey with ‘ new boots’ Houldey converting all three.
In the final group game Annan came up against local rivals Stewartry and lost their no points against status midway through the match when Stewartry scored a converted try nearto the posts following some poor attempts at tackling by Annan in the midfield area.
Annan then upped their work rate and were subsequently rewarded when 2nd row Neal Coupland burst through the centre of the Stewartry defence, with a couple of defenders hanging onto him to score between the posts. New boots Houldey adding the conversion to even the game up at 7 a piece where it remained until the final whistle.
This result meant Annan were the winners of group A and progressed to the semi final stage of the main competition where they were drawn against local rivals Dumfries who finished as runners up to Biggar in the group B section of the draw.
In the semi final, Annan seemed to take a bit longer to get fully up to match speed which, combined with some poor tackling and support at the breakdown resulted in Dumfries getting a couple of early converted tries.
Captain Haren then took centre stage and through some good individual skill scored between the posts, converting his own try to reduce the deficit to 7-14.
Further poor communication and tired legs allowed the Dumfries wing to run almost the length of the pitch to score a third try for Dumfries which was again converted to reinstate the their 14 point cushion. Stung by this Annan upped their game and pulled a further two unconverted tries back through prop Ryan Glass and Scrum half Andrew Jancey to reduce the deficit to 4 points.
As it looked like Annan may be gaining the upper hand, they were the architects of their own demise when an opportunistic Dumfries player pounced on some poor communication and support at the breakdown area, to pick up an unprotected ball and run in for a very soft try which was duly converted and secured Dumfries a place in the final against Biggar.
All in all a reasonable day at the office for the majority of the Annan lads who at times played some impressive aggressive running rugby in their first outing of the season.
If they can sustain the pace and momentum shown in some of these games for a full 80 minutes then they will be a handful for anyone in the forthcoming league campaign.
Thanks to hosts Moffat Rugby Club for an excellent tournament and great hospitality and see you all again next year.
Annan Squad – Sean Haren, Neal Coupland, Tom Sloan, Ryan Glass, Jack Ogilvie, Max Thorburn, Craig Wilson, James Bingham, Dave Wylie, Alex Halliday, Daniel Robson, Callum Bell, Harry Houldey, Kieron Warrick.
Team Manager - Andy Copland.