Match reports for the 2nd XV
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CREIGHTON v ANNAN 2ND XV
FRIENDLY
16TH APRIL 2016

Report by Chris Lake

Annan 2nd XV travelled to Sycamore Lane for this friendly fixture with Creighton 1st XV.

The going was very heavy and this had some bearing on the way the game developed. Annanís usual free-flow, athletic style was interrupted by frequent breakdowns and untidy restarts.

The referee applied the laws in a scrupulous manner but also tried to keep the game going whenever it was fair to do so. As a result this was a gritty closely-contested match. The difference at the conclusion may have been down to a couple of fine individual scores. However, these were based on the teamsí commitment to win and supply safe ball in what were far from ideal conditions.

Coach Ryan in his mild, softly spoken and typically paternal manner did indicate his frustration at his sidesí occasional lapses of concentration. However, Annansí eventual victory was also down to their more positive attitude and focus on the task in hand.

Annansí triumph was well deserved and could easily have been by a greater margin. Importantly, the game was played in a wonderful spirit. As we often say in these reports, this was a team effort and it would be wrong to mention individual performances. Therefore, I wonít. Suffice to say that as a mere observer of the Annan Rugby fraternity this game will have provided some encouragement for the future of the player group.

The results of player development are evident and the competition for first team places is real.

Also looking to the future, Andyís travelling nursery was in attendance and supervision was cheerfully supplied by Tracey and Gillian. Great to see in our family-oriented Club.

Post-match the team were well catered for in Creightonís sumptuous sports club. A return fixture has been arranged at Violetbank for 7th May.

The Squad:R Hetherinton, L Ogilvie, C Warrick, L Trussler, J Graham, W Gray, C Smith, M Carpenter, S Muir (C), A Alison, S Clark, D Ferguson, R MacGregor, M Thorburn, C Taylor, I Thorburn, B White


ANNAN 2ND XV v GREENOCK WANDERERS
BT RESERVE LEAGUE WEST 2A
27TH FEBRUARY 2016

Report by Alan Robertson (Match Highlights)

The fireworks expected at this top of the table clash with 1st playing 2nd in West 2A of the BT Reserve leagues turned into a bit of a damp squib from the Annan perspective with the visitors running in 8 tries to the hosts 2. Annan looked distinctly lacking in match practice and in truth had not played a competitive league game since 21st November albeit they had a friendly in January away to Cumnock 2nds.

Annan lost a try in the first 5 minutes of the game and conceded a further two before half time. Annanís only response was a penalty converted by standoff Andy Alison. Annan defences continued to leak in the second half with the visitors scoring a further 5 tries.

Annan seemed unable to keep possession and in fact when they had it seemed to prefer to squander it with some hapless decisions which included several erratic passages of play which gifted at least three interception tries.

Annanís defensive work was poor with players falling off tackles and were turned over with ease by the opposition which ensured they were playing rugby on the back foot for most of the game.

Some blushes were spared in the last quarter of the game with two well worked tries. Firstly winger Steven Clark added to his seasonís total when after a penalty award on the visitorís 5 metre line the ball was worked out of the ensuing rucks and spun to Clark who sidestepped his way to the line.

Clark was also involved in setting up Annanís second try when, after some powerful runs by No 8 Michael Carpenter and hooker Liam Ogilvie, he again sidestepped his way through the visitorís defences and when stopped set up the ball for his forwards and Liam Trussler crashed over to score.

The second try was converted by scrum half Scott Muir.

Final Score: Annan 2nds 15 v Greenock Wanderers 50

All in all a disappointing display by Annanís second string with the score, it must be said flattering the visitors somewhat with several tries gifted to the opposition. There is little doubt that the missing ingredient is game time and it is hoped with the weather, hopefully, getting better that Annan will be able to enjoy some continuity of fixtures until the end of the season.


CUMNOCK v ANNAN 2ND XV
FRIENDLY
23RD JANUARY 2016

Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos)

Having not played a competitive game in BT Reserve League West 2A since mid-November and currently holding top spot Annanís 2nd XV accepted an invitation from Cumnock to get some Ēgame timeĒ prior to their return to league action.

The seconds only managing to muster a bare 15, travelled with the first team who had a league fixture against Cumnock 1s. Having arrived in good time the 2nd team kick off was put back some 20 minutes as the referee was delayed.

14:25 saw the start of the game and for the first 20 minutes both teams were dusting off the cobwebs with dropped ball and penalties shared. It was not until Annanís forwards made several crash ball drives at the home team defence that prop Ryan Hetherington went over for the opening try which was dually converted by stand off Andy Allison.

Although Cumnock fought back with some drives of their own, their failure to put men in at the breakdown led to several turn overs one being passed across the width of the pitch allowing Andy Allison to go over in the corner for the second try of the game which again he converted. Again Cumnock came back at Annan mainly through their forwards but the defence held strong.

The next score came from winger Steven Clark virtually slicing through the tackles from the opposing players and touching down under the posts with Andy Allison adding with a conversion and into half time Cumnock 0 Ė 21 Annan.

With their tails up the Annan team started the second half as they finished the first, scoring their fourth try within 5 minutes courtesy of scrum half Scott Muir(C) with the 2 points added by Andy Allison.

With the score now Cumnock 0 Ė 28 Annan, the game plateaued with play both sides of the half way line. It was not until Annan went down to 14 players due to one of the Ward boys being a bit groggy after a dubious tackle from the Cumnock hooker that life came back into the game.

Being a man down seemed to spur the team on and with some great break through play on Cumnockís ball at line out by hooker Matty Crombie and some good handling the score was ticking over again with a try from Declan Ferguson, not converted.

Shortly after the restart, Cumnockís winger was released, covering half of the pitch to touch down for their only score of the game.

After the home team try play was one way with a further try from Scott Muir and three more from Steven Clark all converted by Andy Allison.

Final Score: Cumnock 5 v 61 Annan.


PAISLEY v ANNAN 2ND XV
BT RESERVE LEAGUE WEST 2A
21ST NOVEMBER 2015

LOSS AT THE DEATH FOR ANNAN

Report by Neil 'Santa' Wallace

Annan 2nds travelled to Paisley on Saturday with a reduced number compared with recent weeks nut still with more than the required 15

Annan arrived 45minutes before the scheduled ko time to find a soft but otherwise good conditions at Anchor playing fields.

The home team started with good intent pounding at the Annan defensive line but after some solid defence Annan stole the ball and from an Allison kick-through The whippet that is Max Thorburn got to the ball first and in a single movement picked the ball up and dove over the line to score an unconverted try .

Following more of the same the home team continued to pound at Annan who held firm and launched a flowing counter attack with ended in a high tackle on fullback Kirby, Allison taking the opportunity to extend Annanís lead to 8 points .

The home team did get some reward for the first half endeavours with some lazy tackling permitting the home no 8 to make more ground than he should of before another large back to thunder over out wide from close range giving the home team 5 points back before half time.

Half Time: Paisley 5 v Annan 8

The second period saw a little improvement in the visiting attack with Kirby again catching the eye (as well as repeated high tackles) giving Allison repeated penalty attempts over the course of the stanza giving Annan an increased lead before being pinned back when the home centre crashed over to make it Paisley 10 v Annan 11

Annan extended their lead when Kirby, following a speculative kick through, was rewarded with the touchdown.

Alas Annan found themselves unable to clear their lines and the home No 8 squirmed over being rewarded with the try.

With only 2 minutes left Annan were awarded a penalty out wide, Allison held his nerve to convert, giving Annan a 17-19 lead and with only the restart left Annan were confident of another hard fought victory.

Alas an error strewn last 30 seconds in which Annan managed to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory by upgrading a knock on into a full penalty in front if the posts Ė duly converted.

Full Time: Paisley 20 v Annan 19

Next up for Annan is a home tie v Stewartry

Annan 2nd XV Squad: R. Hetherinton, L. Ogilvie, J. Graham, L. Trussler, I. Thorburn, C. Smith, M. Carpenter, S. Muir (C), A. Allison, M. Thorburn, A. Yates, D. Ferguson, J Kirby, G. Williams, C. Wilson, Z. Lockerbie.


ANNAN 2ND XV v WHITECRAIGS
BT RESERVE LEAGUE WEST 2A
14TH NOVEMBER 2015

BACK TO WINNING WAYS FOR THE TWOS

Report by Gary 'Taggart' Coupland (Match Highlights)

On Saturday 14th November, with the whole surrounding area being subjected to torrential rain, a small window off dry weather remained over Annan to allow the 2nd XV league match against Whitecraigs to go ahead on a very soft Violetbank pitch.

Such are the numbers currently wanting to play at Senior level that Annan 2nd XV took to the field with a full compliment of 15 , the maximum 7 substitutes and another 3 or 4 unlucky boys in the wings hoping that prior to the match someone would have called off to allow them into the Squad.

In the first 20 minutes the Annan team seemed very slow and unresponsive and the game at times resembled a junior game with the home team not having much shape or cohesion. This allowed Whitecraigs two easy scores, one converted, to allow them to go into an early lead with the only bright spot from a home team perspective being a solitary Andy Allison penalty.

Eventually the Annan team upped a gear and after a piece of sustained pressure, a quick tap penalty led to Colin Warrick scoring a trademark try from 10 metres out with a a run, that to the casual observer could have passed for a migrating wildabeast on the charge.

Not to be outdone though Whitecraigs then scored a further unconverted try to leave the half time score at 17 - 10.

At the start of the 2nd half whether as a result of some stern words from team manager Dennis at half time or the home team realising that the pitch was actually quite wide, Annan started with a more expansive game and the enigma that is Steven Clark decided to take centre stage scoring three excellent tries one of which was a kick through and a nutmeg that would have probably been featured on Soccer AM had the ball been of the round variety. All three being converted by Andy Allison who also added a further penalty.

To their credit Whitecraigs stuck in and hit back in between some of the Clark tries to leave the score at 34 -31 and for the last 10 minutes they pounded the Annan line which was heroically defended by the home team, who had been reduced to 14 men after Steven Clark was yellow carded for preventing Whitecraigs taking a quick tap penalty.

In the last play of the game a Whitecraigs player managed to cross the line and when a score looked certain he dropped the ball over the line and knocked it on.

Another good result for this primarily young Annan 2nd team, especially taking into account they were up against a National Division 2 side's 2nd XV, which puts us back on top of the League at the time of writing. Well done lads.

There were some bright performances on the day, the pick of the bunch being Steven Clark's tries and 2nd half performance ( apart from that yellow card), Andy Allisons 100% scoring rate from the boot, but the most impressive of all was from young James Kirby who tackled like a demon and had several good runs with the ball in hand, certainly one to watch for the future on this display. Not surprisingly he was awarded man of the match.

Special mention to Liam Jamieson, who after another prominent display, took a head knock at the start of the 2nd half, which resulted in his being admitted to DGRI suffering from concussion. Hope you get better soon Liam.


CLYDEBANK v ANNAN 2ND XV
BT RESERVE LEAGUE WEST 2A
31ST OCTOBER 2015

CLYDEBANK JUST TOO STRONG

Report by TBC

Annan travelled the 100 miles to Clydebank with the full complement of players permitted by the league and with a narrow loss last week Annan were confident (perhaps overly?) that the win was in the bag as the league status shows Clydebank at the opposite end of the table to Annan.

With the rain and fog of Dumfriesshire behind them Annan were pleased to find Clydebank dry and although not bathed in sunshine it was as good a day as can be expected for the last day of October.

Annan were again slow out of the blocks and found themselves having to defend against the heavier home team from wave after wave of attacks in the first 5 minutes. When an attempted clearance kick was charged down Annan were simply unable to get out of their 22 and the home team scored an early (unconverted) try.

From the restart Annan were subjected to more of the same and the result was sadly the same where the home team bullishly crossed the white wash to give them a 10-0 lead.

Annan did well not to concede too many penalties during this period and when given a penalty quick thinking by scrum half Scott Muir saw him create and score an individual try (no player can claim an assist as they were all still in their own half!) Converted by Cairn Wallace, turning around at half time 10 points to 7 down was a fair reflection of how the first half had been.

Hopes were high for the usual second half storming performance but alas the expected demise in Clydebank fitness did not materialise (partially due to the late arrival of some replacements ) and the second half saw Annan again under pressure with the home team scoring their 3rd try (converted),

Annan wing Robert MacGregor almost got on the end of a speculative kick through but the defender beat him by a nose to touch down, the deficit should have been reduced but a penalty in front of the posts was spurned by a wayward kick before scrum half Muir again made excellent distance on the following penalty being stopped 5 meters out.

Annan did manage the next score with Ryan Hetherington going over out wide (unconverted). Annan almost took the lead when yet another quick penalty saw Muir and Michael Carpenter link well to put Muir clean through before the referee judged the final pass to be forward.

A rare moment of lost concentration was to prove to be Annanís downfall when the home team sneaked in over the top of a ruck 5 meters out giving the home team a 10 point advantage going into the last 5 minutes.

The final word did go to Annan with Steven Clark producing another individual try straight out of the top drawer scoring under the posts. Without a recognised kicker on the field a discussion took place over who would take the conversion attempt and the unlucky Jamieson saw his effort rebound from the post to end the game with a losing bonus point and nothing else to show for their efforts.

Annan have plenty of work to do on the defensive line and on following a game plan, but there were also many good positives to take from the game and it is good to see the return from injury of players and so many young faces enjoying rugby. Next up GHA Sharks at Violetbank.

Annan Squad: J Graham, L Ogilvie, R Hetherington, I Thorburn, M Carpenter, C Taylor, C Smith, K Watret, S Muir(C), C.Wallace, L Johnstone, S Clark, C Wilson, J Park, J Kirby, C Park, D Ferguson, R MacGregor, L Stannus, B White, G Williamson, L Jamieson


MARR v ANNAN 2ND XV
BT RESERVE LEAGUE WEST 2A
17TH OCTOBER 2015

JUST PIPPED BUT STILL TOP OF THE LEAGUE

Report by Neil Wallace

Annan made the long journey to Troon on Saturday to be Marrs second competitive game of the season, with the sun breaking through & drying the early morning dew from the ground, the early KO meant the visitors had left Annan at 10am for the trip & arriving 60 minutes before KO should have given the team time to shake off the journey.

Alas this was not the case, the home team not only scored first but by the time 10 minutes had elapsed the visitors were as many points down & only managed to stem the flow in the first half ending the first stanza 17-0 down.

Following a raft of changes at half time , with the visitors tiring slightly less than the home team Annan managed to get a foot hold in the game & with prop Park crashing over from close range.

The challenge for Annan now was to try to win some first phase ball & with a switch around in the front row this looked like they may be able to achieve some attacking possession , but again this was not consistent enough to supply the lively back line with the possession required to dominate the game so for 15 minutes it was a forward arm wrestle until Clark found space to push the gas pedal to score Annanís second of the day.

With Annan now firmly in the ascendancy , Man of the Match Johnstone was next over the whitewash . However Marr were not done yet & following a fine backs move the winger scored out wide giving them an 8 point lead with only 5 minutes remaining.

This however was the spur Annan needed & Max Thorburn bust a lacklustre midfield tackle to score under the posts which Muir converted for the 3rd time bringing Annan within a point & believing they had time for a final flurry but the ref had other ideas & the game ended with the conversion.

Some good points from the day showing good spirit to fight back from so far behind but also plenty to focus on improvements

Annan Squad: J Graham, L Ogilvie, C Park, L Trussler, L Stannus, B White, I Thorburn, K Watret, L Johnstone, S Muir (C), A Ryan, S Clark, J Park, M Thorburn, J Kirby, C Smith, C Wilson, R Macgregor, Z Lockerbie, R Hetherington


ANNAN 2ND XV v ARDROSSAN
BT RESERVE LEAGUE WEST 2A
10TH OCTOBER 2015

GREAT START TO LEAGUE

Report by Alan Robertson (Match Photos / Match Highlights)

With Annan 2nds league game in BT Reserve League Division West 2A the only rugby game in town at the weekend a healthy home support witnessed a pulsating encounter at a sunny Violetbank on Saturday afternoon.

Annan started brightly with a series of driving plays deep into the Ardrossan 22 and from a ruck 5 metres from the visitorís line hooker Liam Ogilvie drove over to score an unconverted try.

Annanís lead was short lived however as Ardrossan hit back immediately with a finely worked backs move to level the score with an unconverted try of their own.

Annanís scrum was working well managing to take a couple of strikes against the head but it was the visitors who added to their try tally with two well taken tries both scored from backs moves. With one of the tries converted this Ardrossan Accies took a healthy 12 point lead.

Their lead was short lived , however, as from a ruck following the restart the ball found its way to centre Seven Clark who cut inside his opposite number and leaving the rest of the visiting defenders in his wake he scored behind the posts. Standoff Andy Allison added the conversion to reduce Annanís point deficit to 5.

The home forwards were now in control and from a forwards drive to the line prop Colin Warrick drove over to score. The conversion was missed which left the score tied at 17 all at halftime.

In the second half Annan continued to exert pressure through their forwards and from a quickly taken penalty standoff Allison got his backline moving and once again centre Clark burst through the visiting mid field defences to score between the posts. Allison again added the extras.

Ardrossan hit back against the run of play when breaking out of defence their No 7 found himself on the wing with a clear run into score to reduce Annanís lead to 2 points.

The hosts continued to press and from a ruck just inside the visitorís half standoff Allison put in a deft kick which was kicked up by centre Clark who caught the ball and sprinted in for his hat trick of tries. Standoff Allison added the extra 2 points to take the final score to Annan 2nd XV 31 Ardrossan 2nd XV 22.

This was a fine win for Annanís second string especially when one considers that their visitors are the second string of a BT National League Division 2 side and this win takes them into second place in the BT Reserve League West 2A on the same number of points as the leaders Greenock Wanderers.

Annan 2nd XV Squad: C Warrick, L Ogilvie, J Graham, I Thorburn, L Trussler, C Taylor, C Smith, S Livingstone, S Muir, A Allison, L Johnstone, S Clark, M Thorburn,J Kirby, J Kirby

Replacements: R Martin, N Wallace, C Wallace, L Stannus, A Copeland, C Wilson, J Wyllie (all used).


STEWARTRY v ANNAN 2ND XV
BT RESERVE LEAGUE WEST 2A
19TH SEPTEMBER 2015

FINALLY A LEAGUE GAME....

Report by Ed Woodman

Last Saturday Annan 2nd 15 travelled to the Greenlaw to take on Stewartry.

The home side started strongly, putting pressure on Annan in the scrums and at the breakdowns, forcing the visitors to commit a string of penalties.

Fortunately the referee was in a benevolent mood and no one was ordered to take a ten minute visit to the sin bin. During this period of ascendancy Stewartry scored an unconverted try and a penalty, scant reward for their efforts, at that point.

Annan did eventually gain parity in the forward encounters, allowing quicker ball out to their young back division, whose good handling and direct running eventually bagged four tries, three of which were converted.

Final Score: Stewartry 8 - Annan 2nd XV 26

It would be unfair to single out any individual as this was very much a squad effort, the experienced old heads giving the pacey youngsters a good platform to perform on.

Try scorers were: Calum Smith, James Wylie and Liam Jamieson with 2 Tries.

Andy Allison kicked three conversions


BANNOCKBURN 10s
8TH AUGUST 2015

GREAT START TO THE SEASON FROM THE LADS

Report by Neil 'Santa' Wallace (Match Photos)

The Annan 2nd team headed north last Saturday morning to make their first pre-season encounter and were blessed with a sunny day.

With only 1 player older than 23 this was most definitely a young team & with the manager looking to try several players in new positions meant this could only have been expected to be a learning exercise with no-one expecting too much, however the players did not receive that memo & took to the pitch at 11:00am for the first of 4 pool matches against Clydesdale.

Almost from the first whistle Annan appeared to be a cohesive unit & kept the ball well and with Jack Graham on hand to career over from 10 meters the writing was on the wall.

However it was not only in attack that Annan had the upper hand, in defence Annan managed to burgle the ball from an unsuspecting opposition, with Matty Crombie showing up well in this regard.

Making his Annan debut Daniel Nordon also made his presence felt in defence stopping promising looking moves with great aplomb. For this game however Annanís attack was dominant, with A. Allison finding a gap that wasn't there & scoring in the corner.

J. Kirby was denied a debut score by a "not 10 metreĒ call after the ref had appeared to award the try.

Wallace & Gray combined well at the restart & reclaimed the kick before being penalised for offside but this only temporarily halted the tide & further scores from Wallace, Prop, Allison & Gray put the first game to an entertaining end.

Final Score: Annan 36 v Clydesdale 0

Following a short break (20 minutes) Annan took to the field against Bowness & although it was a tighter game, Annan continued the same strong defence & a darting run from converted scrum half Gray saw him open the scoring out wide.

Just before half time, following a lapse in concentration, Annan found themselves a point behind.

The second half saw Annan dig deep & produce another exciting display & J. Kirby got his score, quickly followed by M. Thorburn before Captain toothless S. Muir was on hand to score the final points.

Final Score: Annan 24 v Bowness 7

Next up was Alloa but not for 2 hours Ė the players enjoyed the sunshine between games & some of the refreshments on offer.

This did not dampen the enthusiasm for the game & Wallace converted his own break away try for an early lead. Not to be outdone Allison scores in the corner & narrowly misses the conversion (off the crossbar & out)

Alloa then turned up the pressure & used their much larger bulk to good effect but again manful defence kept them out until almost the end but a last minute try gave them some reward.

Final Score: Annan 12 v Alloa 7

Last pool game was a further hour delay against the hosts Bannockburn (who had lost their opening 2 matches) who had a point to prove to the home support & hit Annan hard from the KO & with some continuity managed to find a gap in what had been a firm defensive line all day.

Things got temporarily worse for Annan when their line was crossed for a second time. However A. Allison had the last word of the half converting Props try to cut it to 7-10 at halftime.

From the restart Matty Crombie found himself out wide in support of the winger & took a scoring pass to somehow get the ball down in the field of play Ė converted by Wallace & then with the most outrageous show & go the scoring was completed by a rejuvenated Allison.

Final Score: Bannockburn 10 v Annan 17

That result meant Annan were pool 1 winners & were due to face pool 2 runners up (Marr) however a mixture of injuries & bad luck meant Marr were unable to field a team so Annan were first through to the final & another 45 min wait for their opponents Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy who had a quick turnaround between games were better prepared for the final but it was a nervous start by both teams who made uncharacteristic errors, with Annanís wing dropping the ball while clean through (Twice Ė meriting him to be nominated for the mistake of the day badge)

The first half ended scoreless, the Annan manager urged the players for one big push however it was not to be & from the start of the final period Annan line was pierced twice in quick succession before clawing 1 back to end the day as runners up to a well drilled Aberfeldy team losing 12-7 .

Final Score: Annan 7 v Aberfeldy 12

Annans 10 received the player of the tournament from the officials & C. Wallace received the Man of the Match award from his team mates (after a tiebreaker) with Maximus T receiving the fancy dress .

Next game is the Moffat 10 tournament lets keep the momentum going!

Annan Squad: S. Muir, A. Prop, M. Crombie, J. Graham, C. Smith, D. Nordon, R. Brown, W. Gray, A. Allison, C. Allison, J. Kirby, M.Thorburn, A.Ryan and C.Wallace