Match reports for the 2nd XV

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ANNAN 24 V HULL IONIANS 7
12TH APRIL 2014

TOURING TEAM COME TO VB

Report by: Neil 'Santa' Wallace

Annan welcomed the tourists from Hull to a sunny if somewhat cold Violetbank on Saturday. In a match which was played in the usual friendly manner of touring games Annan came out four tries to one winners against their visitors.

Annan’s win came basically from the work put into the game from their forwards where their set piece play laid the foundation of the win.

Annan tries in the first half came from two breakaway tries by winger Steven Clark and hooker Callum Bell. Standoff James Bigham added one conversion to take the half time score to Annan XV 12 Hull Ionians 0.

The second half saw more of the same albeit the visiting forwards upped their game and drove over with a rolling maul to score their only try of the game.

Annan added a further two tries with hooker Bell adding a further breakaway try following a deft kick out of defence by Bigham and lock Michael Thompson galloping in from the half way line to score. Bigham added one conversion to take the final score to Annan XV 24 Hull Ionians 7.

Although this was in no way a classic as it developed into a very scrappy affair it was played in the true spirit of touring rugby.

What made the game unique however was that the Annan XV featured four father and son combinations which is certainly a record for the Annan club. They were Neil Halliday and son Alex, Gary Coupland and son Neil, Ian Thorburn and son Max and Colin Warrick and son Kieron.

After the match at Violetbank the players and supporters carried their après match festivities to the Bank Street Clubhouse until late into the night.


ANNAN 19 V MOFFAT 12
8TH FEBRUARY 2014

2NDS WIN AGAIN

Report by: Neil 'Santa' Wallace

Friday evening saw Violetbank as the setting for a 2nd team fixture under floodlights against local rivals Moffat. The weather played an unseasonable part by having a clear dry evening following a windy day ensuring the pitch was in excellent condition. Thanks to all those who helped in the summer with the work to ensure drainage improved on previous seasons!

Both teams fielded a mixture of youth and experience and it was good to see so many players “Up” for an evening game.

Moffat won the toss and elected to kick, Annan took the slight incline & wind and the following 80 minutes saw and exciting well contested game between two teams of a similar level trying hard to cancel each other out.

Moffat for their part, stuck mainly to the large battering ram up the middle (this was good tacking practice for all on the field and ensured there would be a few sore bodies watching the next day’s Calcutta Cup)

Moffat were first to score when after 20 minutes of pay, during an extended period of possession the home defence was unable to keep out the visitors and the hooker crossed (unconverted).

This was to give the visitors some more encouragement to continue to pound the Annan defence. The home scrum was under pressure but held well during the first half with veteran No 8 Halliday doing well to control the ball when the pack were failing to hold their ground, picking and offloading to the scrum half to begin an attack, but the pressure on line out and in the loose again paid off when Moffat snatched a second try (converted).

Annan were able to get onto the scoreboard prior to half time to reduce the deficit to 7-12.

The second half started with both teams making changes & Annan's line out in particular started to tick supplying the backs with quality ball. This increase in possession started to take its toll on the visitors who tired in defence, giving Annan some holes to exploit and following some good pick and go work and strength under the highball Annan ran in 2 unanswered tries to ensure a fine home victory of 19-12.

All in all it was a great evening of rugby with the food being served at Violetbank rather than Bank Street, well received by the players and the sizable support that both teams had for this type of game, with the only downside being the injury to Carpenter.

Annan Squad: B White, C Trussler, W Harrison, R Martin, J Graham, G Williamson, M Thorburn, A Carlyle, J Bigham, I Thorburn, G Hogg, M Clark, D McLatchie, A Cook, S Clark, J Harrison, K Warrick C Warrick, Carpenter and N Halliday.


ANNAN 21 V CARRICK 5
18TH JANUARY 2014

GREAT WIN FOR THE LADS!

Report by: Neil 'Santa' Wallace (Match Photos / Match Highlights)

Violetbank was the setting for the return fixture with Annan looking to avenge the earlier defeat on the road at Maybole.

With the flag at half-mast player from both teams observed a minute's silence in tribute to Sarah Bell (Bella) prior to the slightly later than scheduled KO time of 2:30 to enable the visitors to pick up some players on route .

Having passed a pitch inspection at 9:30am when the sky was clear and no surface water was present,the weather once again did its best to thwart flowing rugby with constant rain unto KO, when the rain stopped for a short while, perhaps Bella had some influence?, putting some very wet patches onto the playing surface ensuring that handling would be a challenge.

Annan started well with some flowing moves moving the ball out to give both wingers, only to be denied by some first class defence. Annan also managed to reverse the fate of recent weeks of being vulnerable to counterattack each time the ball was lost when on the front foot.

The small group of hardy souls who braved the elements were treated to some fine rugby (considering the conditions) and it was a surprise to find the game was 25 minutes old before the first clear scoring opportunity was given to the home team , when the visitors transgressed & the referee awarded a penalty within range of A. Allison - who slotted the first points.

Carrick then mounted some sustained pressure to which Annan responded & held resolute, before punting the ball into the elements to gain some relief out of the red zone, again the visitors conceded a soft penalty which was converted by A.Allison giving a 6-0 lead approaching half time, however the first try was to follow when some communication error in the slip slide defence permitted the visitor to score almost under the post (unconverted).

The halftime score was 6-5 , with the wind at their backs Annan again started well and following some bullocking running from mid field Glass found himself in possession of the ball 100mm from the line & managed to force his way over (unconverted).

Annan then went from strength to strength with rolling substitutions to give rest to the weary, meaning all players on the pitch were fit & ready (a noticeable change from only having the bare 15!) and began to dominate scrums and in the loose . The only area where domination was not complete was the line out & with the conditions this was not unexpected.

Next over the whitewash was Lynch who sold an outrageous dummy to imaginary support to extend the lead (unconverted) Annan were now at 16-5, with their tails up and only very cold hands stopped the other backs (Coupland in particular) from being able to add to the score, which was completed fittingly by the impressive Martin who capped off another fine display with a 1 meter drive & 3 meter slide to take Annan to an unassailable lead (unconverted), with the temperature plummeting the visitors had enough & the game was stopped at 73 mins.

All in all a good display on the field and a credit to all who played

Annan Team: B White, C Trussler, J Harrison, N Coupland, W Gray, W Harrison, S Muir, A Carlyle, J Graham, R Martin, A Torbett, A Allison, I Thorburn, M Thorburn, S Clark, N Halliday, S McTurk, B Jamieson, B Glass and G Lynch


ANNAN 7 V DUMFRIES 62
4TH JANUARY 2014

DUMFRIES 1ST FOOTERS

Report by: Neil 'Santa' Wallace

Violetbank was the very pleasant setting for this New Year friendly fixture to welcome in 2014 and Annan proved to be the perfect hosts by gifting the first points moments after the kick off when a stray pass was gratefully accepted by the visiting centre.

Although the score line would suggest a one sided affair nothing could have been further from the truth in the 1st half at least!

Dumfries elected to kick and Martin gathered well to set up pressure on the visitors with several phases of play pushing into the red zone before the previously mentioned goodwill put Annan behind.

Undeterred Annan continued to put pressure & spent 75% of the 1st half camped in the red zone but unable to penetrate the tight Dumfries back line. Time and time again Annan were frustrated & punished by the speedy young Dumfries team, running in 5 unanswered tries from deep within their own territory.

The 2nd half kicked off with a change round in personnel & it was unfortunate that the changes left a large hole in midfield which was quickly filled by a smiling kiwi who grabbed his third of the day.

Even the introduction of a visiting former local, turned antipodean, could not prevent the home team falling further behind. To their credit Annan kept on plugging away before the spritely Allison jinked his way over to get Annan’s first points before converting to claim all of Annan’s points for the day.

Looking back on the game it is almost incomprehensible that Annan did not score more points due to the penetrating runs by captain for the day N. Coupland who perhaps was isolated a little too much to claim man of the match but as well Martin, Ogilvie and Graham catching the eye the stand out performance was from Dario Pagani who threw himself into the role of hooker with gusto.

Final comment must go to the age of the back line when Blair joined Graham and even the youthfulness of Yates still gave a total of almost 150 not bad for 3 players!!

Annan 2nd XV Squad: A.Yates, K.Warrick, A.Thomson, L.Ogilvie, N.Coupland, G.Coupland, G.Beamish, S.Muir, M.Thorburn, T,Thorburn, W.Gray, J.Graham, A.W.Graham (yes it’s true Babe) B.White, D.Pagani, R.Martin, J.Harrison, A.Allison A.Blair


ANNAN 47 v MARR 17
7TH DECEMBER 2013

FAMILY AFFAIR AT VIOLETBANK

Report by: Neil 'Santa' Wallace

Annan welcomed Marr back to Violetbank after a two season gap due to league restructuring. With Annan earlier in the season having travelled to Marr and coming away with a hard earned draw, expectations were high for another close encounter. Due to traffic coming down, Marr were slightly delayed and kick off was put back to 14:10 to allow the visitors a warm up session.

From the kick off Marr starting with 14 players went on the attack and held the home team inside their 22 for nearly 10 minutes. Despite the constant pressure the visitors failed to score and from a fumbled ball and subsequent scrum the home team broke out of their half and with some slick passing went all the way allowing Ali Cook to score on his debut for Annan. Andy Allison stepped up but failed to convert.

At the restart the visitors again applied the pressure and were only halted by some gutsy tackling from the Annan defence but yet again Annan were held in their own half until the ball was stripped from the visitors and passed through three Annan backs for Gregory Robinson to score. This time Andy slotted the ball over to add 2 points giving Annan a 12-0 lead.

Fifteen minutes into the game a late comer from Marr arrived bringing them up to 15. Fully manned they set about applying more pressure on the Annan defence. The home team stayed strong and thwarted the visitors attack dislodging the ball with some heavy tackles. Against play Annan again broke out resulting in a try for George Beamish which was converted by Andy Allison.

With Annan looking in control the visitors hit back from the restart creating an overlap which allowed their No 13 to cruise through for a try which was converted. The game then ebbed and flowed until just before half time when Andy Allison scored Annan’s fourth try which he converted. Almost immediately from the kick off and the last play of the half Marr hit back with a well-constructed attack scoring their second try but unable to convert. The half time whistle blew with the score at 26-12.

The start of the second half was almost a carbon copy of the first with the visitors on the front foot and planted in the Annan half of the pitch but yet again territory and possession were not turned into points and Annan broke away with Neil Coupland scoring and Andy Allison converting.

From the restart the visitors attacked with more resolve which ended with their No 13 scoring his second try which was unconverted. This was quickly answered with a score from Mathew Robinson before the game settled into a bit of stale mate when Annan lost a player to the sin bin and Marr failed to capitalise with the extra man.

With Annan back to 15 this time they went on the attack, sustained for some time until Mathew went over for his second try, again converted by Andy Allison.

The game was as it was at Marr played in the true spirit of rugby and enjoyed by all. During the game there were father and son from three families; Halliday, Thorburn & Harrison. If Coupland senior was not child minding there would have been four.


ANNAN 53 v CREIGHTON 7
16TH NOVEMBER 2013

ANNAN TOO GOOD FOR OLD RIVALS CREIGHTON

Report by Neil 'Santa' Wallace

Violetbank was the setting for this friendly arranged after the league opposition called off on Tuesday, with Creighton 2nds stepping into the void, the weather held and the stage was set for a well matched game of rugby.

Winning the Toss Creighton elected to kick off and put the home team under pressure for the first 7 minutes before against the run of play Annan were fortunate to be awarded a penalty within range of the stand-off Allison who slotted the first points of the day taking a 3-0 lead.

This was like an elixir to the Annan team , who to a man, lifted their game and with “man of the match” Martin gathering the restart kick and beginning a thundering run which was ended several phases later when Halliday was send over to score in the corner (unconverted).

With their tails well and truly up Annan back then saw Allison “sell” an outrageous dummy (I’m sure Smi still has the copy-write on this particular one) before touching down under the posts which he then inexplicably didn’t convert.

Not to be out done next over the white wash was suitably a forward with the might of Glass from 1 meter would not be denied - Allison converted. With the Score at 22-0 Creighton then mounted their own pressure and for the 2nd time in the match put Annan into the home 22 and kept them there until the early call for half-time following the injury to the veteran Hooker Barry Scott.

With a suspected neck injury the game was halted for approx 30 minutes until the ambulance could get the player treatment & removed from the field .

With both teams keen to continue the second half started with the addition of the Annan 1st team as support (their game had finished during the break for the injury)

Continuing in the same vein as the 1st half ended Creighton pushed for some reward but were to be denied by some fine tackling & counter rucking , with Gregory (reporter need to get the surname of all players before starting to write!) topped a fine performance with another tackle bursting run to start the scoring off – Allison converted.

Following a spell on the touchline Halliday return to add his second again through good support running followed the unlucky Coupland who, although making 30 meters (mainly over the top of the smaller backs, it has to be said) was stopped 2 meters short and unloaded to the grateful Halliday – unconverted.

Creighton were to get some reward for their continued pushing and were next over - converted , the revolution was short lived when following more impressive forward play Halliday completed his hat trick – not a bad attempt for approx 15 minutes of play, Allison converted.

The final score of the day went to the maisy running of fullback Clark who scored under the post after recovering from a high tackle and having enough determination to stand up and complete the run – converted by the new convert to the oval game Tussler.

Final score: Annan 2nd XV 53 v Creighton 7

All in all a good performance for the young Annan team with the only sour point being the Injury to the travelling hooker, our thoughts and best wishes go to Barry Scott and his family and wish him a speedy recovery.

Annan Team: A.Allison, B. White, M. Thorburn, G. Beamish, C. Tussler, R. Martin, S. Muir S, N. Coupland, W. Harrison, I. Thorburn, W. Gray, S. Clark, R. Glass, LJ. Harrison, S. McTurk, K. Warrick, Greg, A. Halliday


ANNAN 10 v GREENOCK WANDERERS 29
2ND NOVEMBER 2013

GREENOCK TOO STRONG FOR ANNAN

Report by Neil 'Santa' Wallace

Annan welcomed the travelling Greenock team to an overcast Violetbank after the scheduled kick off time and with the fear of fading light decided that a 14.20 ko would enable the full playing time of eighty minutes to be achieved. With a prolonged warm up Annan lost Thorburn senior to a recurring groin injury bringing the available playing pool down to 14 and after some late call ups not yet arrived, Annan started with a man less. The home team started brightly enough with Lynch’s spreading play, the signs were looking promising for a good start. With some positive play in midfield Annan began to work against the wind and to make some inroads into the visitors territory, following some fine continuity and repeated phase play Annan were first to open the scoring with new recruit G. Robinson and J. Gellatelis on debut combining well for Robinson to determinedly crash over in the corner despite the attentions of 4 defenders. Lynch was unable to compensate for the wind with the kick so it stayed at 5-0 .

Shortly after the restart Annan were unlucky not to stop the Greenock winger who’s speed and ability took him clear to score in the corner, but after scoring saw yellow for throwing the ball at the Annan defenders in an scene more suited to the round ball version of the game, again no kick .

Greenock got their noses in front just before halftime when a loose pass from scrum half Muir was intercepted & scored under the posts – converted. Annan numbers were made to the full 15 with the arrival of the full back just before half time & the numbers were balanced shortly after with the sin bin served the winger returned to taunt the Annan team at every opportunity, but the first half ended without further score.

The 2nd period started in much the same vain as the first with Annan sticking to the task & attempting to use the wind , but after misjudging the strength of the breeze found themselves under pressure with a scrum on half way with a number of players in different positions, Coupland senior found himself in the front row (Im sure he is regretting it now) the ball was unable to get past the number 8 before the Annan pack were pushed back past it!

Without the usual weapon of a dominant scrum Annan were starved of possession but did well to turn the ball over in the tackle with “Bogg”showing up well in the loose and with some further training will develop into a fine open side wing forward, also catching the eye for the right reasons were Warrick and Thompson , who were dominant in the ruck situation, Gualt and Thorburn making good breaks and making yards from space that did not always appear to be present.

However the most impressive player on the pitch was the travelling winger who managed to bag a total of 4 trys – no mean feet with 10 minutes in the “bin “ and the game cut to due to the late start and deteriorating light!

Final Score: Annan 10 v Greenock 29

Final thought from this reporter is how well would the Annan team play if we could manage to field 18 player each week and they were the same 18?

Annan Team: S.McTurk, A.Thompson, S,Muir, G.Coupland, G.Beamish, G.Robinson, M.Thorburn, K.Warrick, I.Thorburn, J.Gellatelis, A.Yates, M.Carpenter, C.Hay, C.Tussler, G.Lynch and R.Gault


ANNAN 14 v IRVINE 66
14TH SEPTEMBER 2013

2ND XV GO DOWN FIGHTING

Report by Neil 'Santa' Wallace

Annan welcomed both Irvine 1st and 2nds to a sunny Violetbank on Saturday with the playing surfaces in excellent condition (the heavy rain on Friday had softened the ground sufficiently to ensure a pleasant afternoon of rugby could follow)

With Irvine managing to bring 12 players Annan provided 3 players to ensure both teams were evenly matched in numbers , but this removed the pre-match plan of giving recovery time on the sidelines to those that required it.

Annan started brightly with some fine attacking play and solid defence but as the manager foretold after 20mins Annan began to tire and with no replacements the even match team numbers were swung against Annan being down to 13 at some time.

With half time approaching the Annan defence was breached twice in quick succession before Clark returned a loose kick following a mazy run to score under the posts–Allison converted.

A further score for the visitors showed a 3 try deficit to recover & with the on loan Annan players swapping shirts back to the Black & Gold hopes were high for a quick recovery & scores to follow however the lack of match practice,physical nature of the opposition & gap in fitness levels mean that rather than pushing on, reducing the deficit Annan conceded 3 more tries and were starting to lose heart when a move from the training paddock saw M. Thorburn score without a hand being laid upon him, again Allison converted.

Annan continued to play and never gave up despite the continuing pressure on the tryline and increasing score.

With several Annan players taking a “break” some more literally than others –Moffat required several short gaps in play to be able to continue while W. Harrison finished the game to discover he had broken a bone in his hand, it was apparent that even though the team had a youthful look for an Annan team the fitness level individually and as a team has to improve.

With the league starting with an away trip to Marr 3rds on the 21st Annan need to field as many of the allowed 22 players as possible, confirm availability to Dennis as soon as possible

Annan Team: W.Harrison, S.McTurk, R.Martin, B.White, J.McMonies, J.Craw , C.Moffat, A.Thompson, S.Muir, R.Allison , C.Wilson, G.Beamish, J.Harrison,M.Thorburn, S.Clark, S.Broach, K.Warrick and I.Thorburn.


BANNOCKBURN 10 v ANNAN 44
10TH AUGUST 2013

2ND XV GET OFF TO A FLIER

Report by Dennis Ryan

Annan 2nd team having lost 3 players between Thursday and Saturday morning, eventually left the club down another man short. They headed up the M74 with a depleted squad of 17 for their 2013/14 season opening friendly against Bannockburn.

After receiving the kick Annan were soon overrun by Bannockburn forwards losing the ball at the breakdown. This led to Bannockburn being camped in the Annan half of the pitch for most of the next 15 minutes, stopped short of scoring by some aggressive tackling from Annan forwards and backs alike.

Having weathered the opening onslaught, Annan secured the ball from a scrum and with some precision ball handling, broke out of their half of the pitch all the way to the try line scoring through Mark Clark and converted by Andy Allison.

At the restart a fumbled ball by Annan gave Bannockburn field position in the Annan half. The resulting scrum won by Bannockburn lead to some excellent ball handling from their backs leading to an unconverted try and it was game on. For the rest of the first half Annan launched attack after attack leading to a try from Jordan Glendinning, converted by Andy Allison and a second try from Mark Clark again converted by Andy Allison. The half time whistle blew with the score at 5-21 as Annan were again on the attack.

Annan having put their 2 substitutes on took the kick to start the second half and Bannockburn having made multiple changes started the second half as they did the first, in an all-out attack into the Annan half. Again this was thwarted by some full blooded tackles especially from fullback George Forrest. As Annan got back into their stride, their constant attacks forced Bannockburn into giving away several penalties eventually leading to Annans fourth try scored by Neil Coupland and converted by Andy Allison.

With unusually good ball handling for the start of the season Annan pressed home their advantage scoring 2 more tries through hat trick man Mark Clark and old faithful Callum (fudgy) Nicholson, both converted by Andy Allison. This seemed to spur Bannockburn on to have one last go and they came away with a second try with the whistle blowing time as they failed to convert and the final score 10-42.

The score in the end did not do justice to the strength of the Bannockburn side or the fact that this was a hard fought and contested match with exchanges that could have gone either way, fortunately favouring the visiting team.

Annan looks forward to welcoming Bannockburn to Violetbank later in the season. Next week sees the second team again on the road but this time a little closer to home for the Moffat Tens tournament.