Match reports for the 1st XV
All previous match reports etc can be found at the Archive page.



This was a competitive game, despite the muddy conditions and strong wind, with the visitors just about deserving their victory for the better balance of their side and their greater cohesion. Despite that Annan 2rds showed that they can compete strongly, and with some six replacements on hand there is same competition for places.

Annan had the wind in the first half, and began strongly, but their early pressure brought no reward. The game became a very even contest, with the boot of stand off Craig Johnstone ensuring that Penrith were often forced to defend. During one spell of pressure on the Penrith line, Annan were awarded a penalty try after a Penrith player deliberately knocked the ball on before it could reach Ian Thorburn -- though he would have been far from certain to score! Craig Johnstone made no mistake with the easy conversion to give Annan a 7-0 lead.

Despite Annan’ a territorial advantage, Penrith locked a well balanced side and it was no surprise when they rounded off pressure on the Annan line with a score of their own, which was not converted · Annan completed the scoring with a Johnstone penalty to leave then l0- 5 ahead at half time, an advantage which was to prove too slender.

The second half saw Annan mainly on the defensive, as the Penrith stand off used his boot to good effect. Annan break-outs usually ending with possession lost or a penalty conceded, and back everyone trooped into the Annan half. Penrith pressure eventually yielded a try near the posts, the conversion putting them 12-10 ahead, and then their left wing got in at the corner for an unconverted score. With two penalties in addition, Penrith looked home and dry at 23-10, but Annan were not finished. Bringing on old heads Neil Latimer and Alistair Graham for the final minutes, it was fine play from the forwards which gave Annan a glimmer of hope. Driving and rucking the ball upfield, prop James Gilmore drove over for a try which Johnstone did well to convert, and Annan were back within range at 17-23. That was to be it however, time was up.

The Annan forwards battled throughout, doing well in the lineout and sharing the scrums. Possibly some attention at training is required for rucks and mauls. The backs defended well, but depended on the boot of Craig Johnstone to put Penrith under pressure, the midfield defense of the visitors being especially strong.

The 2nds will need to carry forward their recent improved form this week, when Strathendrick are the visitors to Violetbank. There is a need to avenge a heavy defeat in Fintry earlier this season.

Finally, one moment to savour. Picture a maul on the Annan 22. Out of this, ball in hand, emerges Murray Forbes. With no one in front to tackle him, he is forced to run to the half way line, where he puts a delicate chip over a defender into the Penrith 22, but is just beaten to it. Thankfully for Murray the ball ended up in touch, and there was time to administer oxygen


Annan avenged their heavy away defeat at Marress earlier in the season in a close encounter by two well-matched sides at Violetbank in this Division 5 encounter in the Scottish 2nd XV leagues. Annan’s pack was bolstered by the return of some experienced players in the shape of Ian Thorburn, John Carlyle and Rod Ker. There were some good surging runs in the first half with prop James Gilmour prominent in several moves. In the first half the game ebbed and flowed but neither side could get the upper hand, which was reflected, in the half time score of 0-0.

All of Annan’s points were scored in the second half by stand off Craig Johnstone. He scored a fine individual try when he scythed through the Irvine back line to score between the posts. He converted his own try to give the home side a 7-point lead before adding a penalty to take the lead to 10-0. In the final quarter of the game the visitors began to gain the bulk of possession and they scored a try in the corner to take the score top 10-5. They then added a penalty to take the score to 10-8 with 10 minutes to go. Annan’s defences held out for a valuable victory.

Annan Team: J. Gilmour, A. Carlyle, J. Carlyle, G. Hogg, G. Coupland, S. Vivers, R. Ker, I. Thorburn, D. Muir, C. Johnstone, C. Hay, A. O’Donnell, A. Little, P. Bertram, S. Tinning, Replacements used: R. Copland, R. Johnstone, C. Byres, P. O’Donnell.


Although the visitors were slow to get into the game, and in fact went behind in the opening minutes to a converted try by their hosts, in the second and third quarters of the game Annan played their best rugby for some time with some fine continuity rugby by both the forwards and backs and scoring 9 tries in the process. Veteran wing forward Ian Thorburn, in his first match for some time due to injury, scored first. He unfortunately had to leave the field of play minutes later with a tweaked hamstring. Lock Neil MacGregor also making a welcome return to rugby duty after a long term injury and was unlucky to have a try disallowed after some fine rampaging play in the second half.

Annan's try scorers were full back Steve Tinning (2), prop Jack Tinning (2), stand Craig McCann, winger Caird Hay, scrum half David Muir and wing forward Ian Thorburn. Craig McCann converted 5 of the tries. All in all this was a much improved performance from Annan's second string with the colts who played showing up well in the senior ranks.


On the back of there improving performances this weeks game at Violetbank showed that the improvement was not a flash in the pan as Annan’s second string won their second game in Division 2 of the Scottish Rugby 2nd XV Leagues.

Annan started the game with some purpose and through their forwards had some excellent drives into their visitor’s half with No 8 Rod Ker prominent in the attacks. From a ruck in front of the posts prop Jack Tinning drove over to score. The try was converted by stand off Neil Latimer. The pressure exerted by the home forwards paid dividends twice more in the first half when from a series of rucks and drives lock Michael Newton drove over to score. Neil Latimer’s conversion attempt struck the upright. The final try came from a good lineout take and drive again by the forwards with wing forward Craig Johnstone on hand to ground the ball. The conversion was missed. Greenock hit back before half time with a penalty and try which came from a penalty award with the ball being driven over. Half time score Annan 17 Greenock Wanderers 8.

With the exertions of the first half taking its toll the Annan pack’s work rate fell away in the second half and the visitors began to exert some pressure on the Annan line. They were rewarded with a penalty and a further try, which was a carbon copy of their first, from a tap penalty and drive over the line. With the Annan lead cut to two points this set up a tense final ten minutes. Annan increased their lead to five points when replacement Ross Johnstone landed a penalty from far out on the left which was cancelled out after a similar award to Greenock was slotted through the posts. Annan held out to the final whistle for a fine victory against one of the stronger teams in the league.


Annan’s second string welcomed Garnock 2nd XV to Violetbank in this fixture in Division 5 of the Scottish 2nd XV leagues on Saturday. Without a win in three league outings Annan were hopeful of improving their fortunes with the return from injury of some players and the first outing for a couple of seasons of first team coach Kenny Hogg at scrum half. Kenny having volunteered to play in an attempt to bolster the team’s performances with his vast experience.

From the start this was always going to be a close affair with both sides looking of equal ability and standard. Annan, however, seemed to have the edge in the loose and won the game with a try by winger Euan Hay and three penalties and a conversion by stand off Craig Johnstone and looked to have gained their first win of their league campaign. Doubt has been raised as to the validity of the result as the appointed referee did not turn up and Club referee Chris Lake refereed the match. More news on the outcome later


Annan’s second string travelled to Marress with 15 men, played 70 minutes with 14 and finished up with 13 with Peter Armstrong injured in the opening minutes and Craig Byres injured in the later stages of the game. Generally the Annan team never gave up but poor defensive work all round meant that the team were playing the game on the back foot for most of the eighty minutes. Irving were there for the taking but with the Annan squad decimated with seven call offs from the team selected they were always going to find the going tough. Praise, however, must be given to those players who made the effort but more effort and commitment is needed from all the players if Annan are to improve and remain in Division 5 of the Inter City leagues.

For the record Annan’s points came from a try by prop Ally Carlisle and a penalty try with full back Ross Johnstone adding the two conversions


Annan 2nds recorded a convincing win to gain revenge for an earlier defeat by Wigton. This was a fine win by a young Annan side who are now beginning to play as a team rather than 15 strangers. The game saw the debut in Annan colours of Chris Inglis from South Africa who normally fills the hooker or flanker positions but was prevailed upon to play scrum half on Saturday and also saw an almost immaculate kicking display by fullback Ross Johnstone.

Annan lead 21-0 at half time and proceeded to score tries at will in the second half - the highlight being a hat-trick by replacement David Muir. All in all this was a rewarding victory with the main plus point being the ever improving defensive display which will need to be in evidence in this coming Saturday’s game against Jed Forest 2nds in Division 5 of the Inter-City leagues.

Annan scorers were David Muir (3), James Gilmour (2), Craig Byres (2), Euan Hay, Ross Johnstone, and Neil Latimer with Ross Johnstone landing 9 out of 10 conversion attempts


With Langholm calling off mid-week Annan’s fixture secretary managed to arrange an alternative fixture against Wigton 2nds away. Annan could only manage the bare 15 players but went into the game with a positive attitude. Despite some good driving play the visitors lost three converted tries in the first 25 minutes. The last two being break away tries against the run of play. Annan had the better of the last 15 minutes of the half, spending most of it camped on the Wigton line but could not convert the pressure into points. Half time score 21-0.

Having lost a rather soft try in the opening minutes of the second half Annan then took control and through some excellent driving and set piece play scored three tries. They were scored by No 8 Craig Byres, veteran Gary’Tag’ Coupland and prop James Gilmour with centre Euan Hay adding two conversions to take the final score to Wigton 28 Annan 19.

This performance had more pros than cons and was the last ‘friendly’ before next weeks’ first league game against Trinity Accies. In the forwards Craig Byers, James Gilmour and N. Moffat shone in the loose and centres E. Hay and A. Graham always looked dangerous in attack and effective in defence.

Annan Team: J. Gilmour, N. Moffat, A. Carlyle, G. Coupland, G. Hogg, S. Wyllie, C. Hay, C. Byres, D. Muir, N. Latimer, P. Bertram, E. Hay, A. Murray, P. Armstrong, I. Hamilton.


A young Annan XV (with the exception of veteran Ally Murray) were no match for the experienced and well drilled Carlisle side at Warwick Road. Annan made a slow start and were two tries down before they buckled down to make a game of it but they were always vulnerable to the strong running home backs and conceded a further two tries by half time. Scrum half Steve Danczak had to retire injured earl in the game and was replaced by Ally Murray. Prop Jack Tinning also had to go off in the first half with a cut to his head but returned for the second half. Half time score 27-0.

The visitors performed better in the second half as the home side ran out of steam. Annan put in more effort and began to exert some pressure on the home line with some good tactical kicking. After an early Carlisle try Annan began to dominate but were only able had an Ally Murray try and Euan Hay conversion to show for all their pressure. Carlisle finished off the game with two further breakaway tries to complete the scoring.

Annan Team: A. Carlyle, N. Moffat, J. Tinning, G. Coupland, G. Hogg, P. Quinn, S. Wyllie, C. Johnstone, S. Danzcak, E. Hay, D. Muir, A. Little, C. Hay, R. Copland, M. Friend, A. Hiddleston, S. Barclay, C. Byres, C. Shannon, P. Bertram, P. Armstrong, A. Murray


Annan’s 2nd XV squad travelled to the Moffat annual 10’s tournament on Saturday and due to injuries, prior engagements, work commitments and ‘defections’ the line up of the team only became clear 10 minutes before the kick off against Stewartry. Annan played this tie to their strengths and sucked in Stewartry in the rucks and mauls running in three converted tries with no reply. The try scorers were David Muir, Steven Earl and Gavin Lynch with Gavin converting all three tries.

The one and a half hour wait for the second tie was too much for Annan who never got out of first gear in the tie against Dalkeith. The well-organised Dalkeith squad ran in 5 tries to nil with 3 converted.

All in all Annan played some good rugby in the first tie but failed to get started in the second. It was encouraging to see another 3 players being available to play in their first outing of the season and the coach looks forward to seeing them and the others all at training on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Annan Squad: J. Carlyle, C. Byres, J. Tinning, G. Coupland, S. Buckley, D. Muir, G. Lynch, S. Earl, R. Copeland, P. Bertram, S. Wyllie, G. Hogg, S. Danczak, A. Murray


It had been hoped that this would be a useful pre-season outing for the seconds, but this proved not to be the case. Whereas Annan had difficulty in finding enough available and fit players, Wigtownshire were able to bring a mostly 1st XV squad, which had beaten Stewartry earlier in the week. Given these things, the result should really have been no surprise.

‘Shire dominated the first half, scoring early, and running in a total of five first half tries, which with one conversion gave them a 27-3 lead. Annan’s sole reward was a well struck penalty by scrum half Gavin Lynch, fortunately home on holiday from the RAF. Annan made a number of changes in the second half to ensure that all those who had responded to the call got a game, and although the trend of the game remained in ‘Shire’s favour, Annan did manage to run in two tries, both scored and converted by fullback Calum Heughan, who, at full time, moved over to the 1st XV game to play there in the final section of the game.

For Annan it was evident that few players had been regularly training, so while their were some good individual performances, there was a lack of fitness and team work, which ‘Shire gladly exploited with their stronger running and better support play. Annan were in serious difficulty in the scrums, making possession slow and difficult, though they did better at the lineout. At the ruck and maul the advantage again lay with ‘Shire.

For Annan individual performances of note came from Captain Ally Carlyle, backed up by forwards Gary Copeland, evergreen Craig Johnstone and an energetic debut by former youth player Stuart Wyllie, while the pick of the backs were stand off Neil Latimer, centre Steven Earl and full back Calum Heughan. With a further four weeks before the 2nds first league game, away to Trinity, it is very much hoped that some players recover from injury and that others find their way to the training ground.

Thanks are due to Colin McCann for stepping in at late notice to referee, a task which he carried out with his usual skill, and an appropriate choice as the Annan teacher began his rugby career at ‘Shire.

Annan squad:

C. Heughan, P. Bertram, S. Earl, B. Hay, R. Copeland, N. Latimer, G. Lynch, A. Carlyle, S. Wyllie, G. Brown, G. Coupland, J. Tweedie, C. Hay, C. Byers, C. Johnstone, Replacements (All used) I. Blair, A. Murray, P. Armstrong, S. Tinning, K. Carter, M. Forbes, N. Chalmers.