Match reports for the 2nd XV

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ANNAN 18 V MARR 12
SATURDAY 8TH APRIL 2006

In their penultimate fixture in Division 5 (West) of the Scottish 2nd XV leagues Annan managed to secure a vital victory against a well organised Marr side. The victory was based on their first half performance as the second half display degenerated into a litany of fundamental errors.

On an afternoon which saw four seasons in microcosm at Violetbank the home side started brightly and took an early lead when full back Connor Trant kicked a penalty awarded when the visiting backs were caught offside at a ruck. Marr however struck back with a well worked try in the corner which was aided and abetted by some woeful Annan defensive work. With Annanís kicker Connor Trant having to leave the field with an ankle injury half way through the half the kicking duties were taken over by veteran No 8 Neil Halliday who restored Annanís lead with a penalty. In the second quarter of the match Annan played their best rugby and extended their lead by 13 points. The home sideís first try came when centre Andrew Jancey intercepted the ball when Marr were on the attack and out sprinted the visiting full back to score. This score was followed minutes later by Annanís best move of the game when, following a turnover of possession the ball was swept out to winger Alex Halliday who scored between the posts with father Neil adding the conversion to take the home side into a healthy 18 points to 5 lead at half time.

In the second half Annanís performance was one of their poorest of the season which at time seemed to lapse into elements of a Whitehall farce as the ball was dropped, knocked on, passed forward, and turned over with ease. Marr realising that the game was theirs to win threw everything at Annan and were rewarded with a fine try which was converted to take the score to 18 Ė 12. With Marr on the ascendancy Annan had to defend for long spells and to their credit the defensive line held out until the final whistle.

All in all not a performance that Annanís second string will want to remember. Annan now have one remaining game to play away to Strathclyde University which if they win will mean Annan will be promoted to Division 4 (West) for next season.

Annan Team: S Kelly (M Johnstone), C Warrick, A Graham (G Brown), G Hogg, M Carpenter, I Thorburn, N Bell, N Halliday, B Graham, S Wyllie, B Copland, E Hay, A Jancey, A Halliday, C Trant ( W Harrison) Replacement not used K Watret.

SHAWLANDS 10 V ANNAN 69
SATURDAY 25TH MARCH 2006

With Shawlands now being an Ďassociatedí club with Cartha Queens Park this Division 5 (West) fixture in the Scottish 2nd XV leagues was played at Dumbreck. On a fine sunny spring afternoon Annan, whilst a little lackluster in the first half, where they looked a little ring rusty with numerous handling errors, the visitors still had too much firepower for their hosts and ran in four tries and two conversions to Shawlandís two tries before the half time whistle. Although leading 24 Ė 10 at the break Annanís half time team talk highlighted the teamsí shortcomings and this had the desired effect in the second half.

Initially in the opening minutes of the half Shawlands laid siege to the visitorís line. But when they were repulsed and when Annan winger Bob Copland scored a fine try, turning defence into attack, this ended their hosts resistance and for the next 30 minutes it was one way traffic as Annan racked up a further six tries without reply as Shawlands ran out of steam. Several of the tries were the result of some fine interplay between forwards and backs none better than a fine try scored by standoff Stuart Wyllie following some excellent driving play from the forwards, orchestrated by Annan veteran warhorses Tam Thorburn and Neil Halliday which enabled Wyllie to sprint over the line leaving several Shawlands players in his wake.

The home forwards, whilst perhaps having the edge in age and experience, were a spent force half way through the half and with Annanís lineout secure and the Annan back row proving effective at winning most of the loose ball the visiting backs had plenty of quality ball.

Annanís points came from tries by Alex Halliday (2), Bob Copland (2), Stuart Wyllie (2), Neil Halliday, Euan Currie, Conor Trant, Caird Hay, and Michael Carpenter. Connor Trant added five conversion and Neil Halliday two to take the final score to Shawlands 10 Annan 69. All in all this was a good win for Annan who if they win their remaining two outstanding game against Marr at home and Strathclyde University away will end up in the runner up spot in the league and will be promoted to Division 4(East) next season. The club wishes Dougie McKay, who played his last game before leaving to take up a new job down south, all the best in his new post.

Annan 2nd XV squad: A Graham, M Johnstone, A Gunning, J Crombie, D McKay, M Carpenter, G Smith, I Thorburn, N Bell, N Halliday, R Copland, C Hay, E Currie, A Halliday, C Trant, T Hodgson.

NEWTON STEWART 0 V ANNAN 32
SATURDAY 18TH FEBRUARY 2006

This game marked a return to league action for the 2nds, and a welcome win in Division 5 (West) of the Scottish 2nd XV leagues. The win was assured from the start, Newton Stewart beginning with only twelve men, but borrowing Annanís three replacements. On setting off for the west it had not looked as though Annan would have any replacements Ė with the bare fifteen setting out, but a phone call secured Billy Henderson and his workmate of the day Mike Rennie, and by kick off Annan had eighteen. The three to play for Newton Stewart were Gordon Brown and Angus Burnell (both of whom played at wing forward) and Mike Rennie (stand off).

The scoreline seems to indicate a comfortable passage for Annan, but in fact this was for the most part a very competitive game, especially in the first half, and Annanís scores did not come from prolonged siege of the line, but from a distance. Annan got off to a good start, and from an early scrum, scrum half Keith Hogg took the ball blind, and fed Billy Henderson to run in unopposed. Neil Halliday converted. The game then settled into a midfield scrap, with defences on top. The home side showed themselves useful at the pick and drive, and this, allied to Annanís usual generosity with penalties, meant that they were unable to mount any concerted pressure in the home 22. Near the end of the half Newton Stewart came in from the wrong side of a ruck, giving Halliday the chance to put three more points on the board for a 10-0 half time lead.

The home side were fired up for the start of the second half, but a series of breaks by Annan was to expose weakness in their midfield defence, allowing Annan to add four further tries. Lock Dougie McKay got the first appearing on the blind side of a ruck inside the home 22. Then a good break involving the Wyllie brothers from half way was taken on by young Conor Trant , who got near the line, and Neil Halliday was up with play to pick up a dive over. Stewart Wyllie made a good job of the conversion. Trant then had the satisfaction of beating two men to score in the right corner, before the final score by Dougie McKay. This was the best of the afternoon, after the ball was moved across the field from a ruck on the right.

Annan could feel satisfied with this result, getting back to winning ways in the league, and it was a good team performance. Keith Hogg at scrum half was sharp for this level, stand off Ross Johnstone kicked and ran his line well, and the backs defended well to keep their line intact. The pack had decent opposition to contend with, but matched their younger opponents for stamina. Annanís three Newton Stewart players of the day also put in good shifts. Young Conor Trant got his first senior try, and visibly improved in confidence as the game progressed.

Annan team: C. Trant; R. Graham, J. Crowther, D. Wyllie, A. Halliday; R. Johnstone, K. Hogg; g. Wylie, S. Wyllie, A. Graham, D. McKay, N. Bell, W. Henderson, I. Thorburn, N. Halliday. Loaned players G. Brown, A. Burnell, M. Rennie.

CREIGTON 19 V ANNAN 78
SATURDAY 11TH FEBRUARY 2006

This was farewell to Carr's Field, a ground familiar to many Annan rugby players over the years. The last games are due to be played there this week before Creighton move to Garlands. Annan's final visit to Carr's Field was a triumphant one, but in truth the game was something of a travesty.

Annan arrived with fourteen men to Creighton's ten, but the loan of Andy Copland and Caird Hay evened things up at twelve a side. With six forwards and six backs per side the play resembled 'Rugby Tens' with much more space for those who wished to run. It was Annan who capitalized on this, running in twelve tries, mostly from the backs, and with most being scored under the posts nine conversions were successful.

The Annan forwards were generally on top, providing the platform for the big score, but the first half was reasonably competitive, with Annan scoring five tries to Creighton's three. In the second half the Creighton forwards ran out of steam, and Annan added a further seven tries in a curtailed match. If only league games could be this easy.

For Annan there were good performances all round, but Alan Rae, Bruce Hay, Dougie McKay and Neil Halliday were clearly above this most basic level, lan Blair was able to get on the scoresheet to add another to his long store of memories.

Annan try scorers were Bruce Hay (4), Alan Rae (3), Dougie McKay (2), Alistair Graham, Willie Harrison and lan Blair. Neil Halliday had seven conversions, Willie Harrison and Bruce Hay one each.

Annan team: M. Johnstone, A. Graham, L Vevers, D. McKay, I. Blair, N. Halliday, A. Rae, E. Currie, A. Graham, B. Hay, W. Harrison, R. Graham, A. Copland, C. Hay.

ANNAN 12 V CARLISLE 26
SATURDAY 4TH FEBRUARY 2006

Last Saturday, thanks to a late call off by Newton Stewart, Annan's second fifteen took on their old cross border rivals Carlisle. The visitors having arrived without a full complement of players were, nevertheless, undaunted and bolstered by the loan of some home players, began in a bullish fashion. The initial encounters were evenly balanced with the play ebbing and flowing, both sides attacking and then having to defend in equal measure, due in some part, to the ball being lost in contact or final passes being thrown out in a somewhat cavalier fashion.

This more or less summed up the game to an extent, there was some good driving play from the Annan forwards but was, ultimately, nullified somewhat by possession given away too cheaply.

Carlisle were the first to benefit from this unintentional largesse. As Annan attacked, deep within the visitors 22, a loose floated pass in midfield was gleefully intercepted by an opposing centre who charged through the Annan attacking line and, unimpeded, scampered the length of the field to score under the posts, the try being converted.

Annan were stung into action by this and worked some space up the right wing from where Andy Copeland scored a good try out wide. This try was duly converted by Stuart Wylie, who later scored a second try for Annan. Although this was a defeat the scoreline flattered the visitors somewhat, their final try being scored from an outrageously forward pass, nevertheless there was, occasionally, some good play and no small amount of graft shown by the home side. Some crisper passing, direct running and better ball retention would have saw a different result posted.

ANNAN 0 V LENZIE 23
SATURDAY 28TH JANUARY 2006

Annan 2nds had hoped to reignite their season with this fixture against Lenzie, having narrowly won the away game. Defeat was therefore disappointing, and this fourth reverse in a row means that Annanís bid for promotion is at an end. It also suggests either that the 2nds have declined as a force since the early part of the season, or that others have improved considerably. The truth is probably a bit of both.

Certainly Lenzie were a competent team, but the margin of their win was largely down to the excellent place kicking of their stand off Ferguson, who notched six penalties Ė at least one from inside his own half. Otherwise the only scoring was a try from Lenzie which came from a dropped Annan pass outside their 22. The ball was kicked through and Lenzie won the race for the touchdown.

Otherwise the game was a fairly even one. Annan had plenty of possession, but were not able to make this count. Lenzie defended well around the fringes, and Annan had a tendency to give the ball away when mounting attacks, either through turnover or penalties. The Annan backs were a bit pedestrian, and failed to breach the Lenzie defence, but it has to be said that the sharper looking visiting backs also failed in this respect, their first half try apart. Probably Annanís biggest weakness was in giving away penalties from which Lenzie gradually extended their score. At this level you might not expect to get punished if a penalty was awarded against you well outside your 22, but this was a day when the opposition had a genuine kicker.

Bright spots for Annan were the return, albeit for only the final stages, of Neil MacGregor, a first appearance, also late on, for Connor Trant, and a gutsy display by Andrew Jancey at scrum half. Dougie McKay took good lineout ball, and Neil Halliday put in his usual shift, while Neil Latimer answered the call at stand off.

Annan team: A. Burnell, G. Brown, G. Wylie (J. Crombie) D. McKay, K. Watret (K Nelson), (N. MacGregor), N. Bell, C. Moffat, N. Halliday, A. Jancey, N. Latimer, W. Harrison, J. Lake, M. Pattinson, A. Halliday, R. Graham, (C. Trant).

Thanks to the referee, from Lenzie, who traveled down with the team so that the game could go ahead.

STRATHENDRICK 28 V ANNAN 17
SATURDAY 21ST JANUARY 2006

Annanís second string traveled to Fintry to take on Strathendrick 2nds in Division 5 (West) of the Scottish 2nd XV Leagues. Annan were hopeful of reversing their recent defeats, especially after their previous weeks good display against league leaders Garnock but unfortunately they put in one of their poorer displays of the season against an average home side. Annanís Captain Alistair Graham was most unhappy with his teamís performance especially in the knowledge that they were capable of a much better performance.

Annan found themselves 5 point down in the opening minutes of the game when a loose ball was gathered by the home backs who sliced through the Annan defences with ease. 10 minutes later Annan found themselves 10 points adrift when from a wayward kick out of defence the home fullback bust clear on the right touchline and with three Annan players bearing down on him outfoxed them with an outrageous side step to score.

Annan began to claw their way back into the game when after a missed penalty by standoff Rob Graham the kicking duties were taken over by No 8 Neil Halliday who slotted three penalty awards to reduce the points deficit to one. Strathendrick restored a 4 point deficit just prior to half time with a penalty of their own. Half Time Score Strathendrick 13 Annan 9.

Following a penalty miss by Halliday at the beginning of the half Annan launched an attack in to the home half only for an interception converted try to put them once again on the back foot. Once again Annan clawed their way back into contention with a further Halliday penalty but when the home side powered over for a further try and a penalty to take a 14 point lead the game was slipping away from the visitors. Annan did score a consolation try when from short range stand off Rob Graham powered over the line. Final Score Strathendrick 28 Annan 17.

As previously said this was one of Annanís second strings poorer performances of the season and with results elsewhere not doing Annan any favours they now find themselves falling from second place to fourth in the league. The players who worked hardest were from the opposite ends of the age range playing with veterans No 8 Neil Halliday and lock Ian Thorburn leading from the front in the forwards with lock Dougie McKay and wing forward Colt Michael Scott showing up well. In the backs it was youth who showed the way with Colt scrum half Andrew Jancey Ė nominated as Annanís Man of the Match by their hosts and Colt winger Alex Halliday (son of Neil) catching the eye.

Annan Team: A Graham, G Brown, M Johnstone, D McKay, I Thorburn, C Moffat, M Scott, N Halliday, A Jancey, R Graham, A Halliday, C Hay, J Lake, W Harrison, A Graham (Capt). Replacements: A Gunning, K Nelson, G Wylie.

GARNOCK 17 V ANNAN 6
SATURDAY 14TH JANUARY 2006

With Garnock having won all 11 of their league matches, this fixture in North Ayrshire was always going to be a formidable challenge. However, Annan produced a gutsy, battling performance and came close to causing an upset. From the first whistle, Annan showed that they meant business and took the game to their opponents. After only 8 minutes, Garnock conceded a penalty and Scott McCann thumped over a marvelous kick and with 22 minutes on the clock, the stand off repeated his feat with an even longer effort. With Annan 6-0 up, Garnock were rattled as the Annan pack took control. The forwards play was excellent throughout, with the line-out functioning as well as it has all season. As half time approached, Garnock applied pressure on the Annan line and their forwards drove over for a well-worked try. Half time score: Garnock 7 Annan 6.

The second half was every bit as tight as the first and the Annan forwards continued to dominate, but gave away too many penalties, thus allowing Garnock to spend lengthy periods in the Annan half. A penalty by the excellent Garnock stand-off Kirk Glen stretched the Garnock lead to 4 points but Annan fought all the way, just a bit unlucky on occasions not to be able to breech the Garnock defence. In the very last minute, Garnock had the final word when a speculative up-and-under bounced kindly to allow the Garnock centre to score under the posts.

This was a good, all-round performance by Annan and every player deserves credit for this fine, collective effort. The entire pack was inspired on the day, with Stewart Wyllie and young Michael Scott in particular having excellent games. The half-back partnership of Andrew Jancey and Scott McCann was also very impressive and a pleasing aspect of this match was how the young players in particular performed in the company of the more experienced team members. This match will give Annan a lot of confidence for the remainder of the league campaign and their promotion hopes are still very much alive.

Annan team: A Burnell, S Wyllie, A Graham (M Johnstone); N Bell (K Watret), D McKay; M Scott, I Thorburn (J Lake), N Halliday; A Jancey, S McCann; W Harrison (A Halliday), C Hay, D Wyllie, R Copland (N Coupland); A Graham (R Graham)

CARLISLE 19 V ANNAN 12
SATURDAY 7TH JANUARY 2006

After the pre-season drubbing by Carlisleís second string this was a much improved performance by Annan 2nds at Warrick Road with the home side running out winners by 3 tries to 2. Annanís points came from tries from prop Angus Burnell and hooker Stuart Wyllie with No 8 Neil Halliday adding one conversion.

STEWARTRY 24 V ANNAN 45
SATURDAY 31ST DECEMBER 2005

Photos from the match

Annanís may have struggled to field 15 players for this festive friendly at the Greenlaw with veteran Colin McCann having to pull on an Annan shirt for the first time in twenty years but they still managed to rattle in 7 tries to their hosts 4. Luckily for Annan it took their hosts 40 minutes to realise that the way to play their visitors was to keep the ball away from the visiting forwards who had a considerable weight, age and experience advantage over their counterparts but were perhaps a little lacking in the fitness stakes.

It took Annan five minutes to open their account when winger Tom Hodgson sprinted over to score and the first halt tries continued to flow with tries from wing forward Bruce Blower (2), prop Mark Johnstone, centre Duncan Fisher, and lock Willie Harrison completing the scoring in the first half. Half time score Stewartry 2nds 7 Annan 2nds 40.

In the second half Annan were starved of possession for long periods as their hosts began to rattle in tries of their own and fought back to 24 Ė 40 before veteran No 8 scored one of his trademark tries to complete the win for Annan. Annanís other points were scored by centre Duncan Fisher who slotted 5 conversions. Final score Stewartry 2nd XV 24 Annan 2nd XV 45.

GHK 27 V ANNAN 7
SATURDAY 10TH DECEMBER 2005

Annan 2nds came off the rails at Old Anniesland on Saturday after their recent unbeaten run in Division 5 (West) of the Scottish 2nd XV Leagues. A visit to GHK was always going to be tough. Annanís earlier emphatic win at Violetbank in September had caught GHK cold and unprepared, but their recent results indicated much improved form.

Annan certainly had experience in their side, particularly in the forwards, and indeed the set pieces were Annanís best areas, taking several against the head and more than once saving their line by driving their lighter opponents back Ė on one occasion to the 22. Unfortunately GHK had youth on their side and their backs had the edge over a somewhat makeshift Annan division.

Annan got off to a bad start, giving away an early penalty to go down 0-3, and soon after, while mounting an attack of their own, the GHK centre intercepted deep in his own half and sped away to the Annan posts. The conversion gave GHK a 10-0 lead in fewer minutes.

Annan steadied the ship and applied a period of pressure on the GHK line, which proved fruitless, only for GHK to score on their next visit to the Annan 22. Another unconverted try before half time gave the home side a 22-0 lead at the break.

Annan did much better in the second half, using all their Colts and other replacements. A good move into the GHK 22, featuring interplay between the Hallidays junior and senior, finally led to scrum half Rob Graham being stopped just short, but hooker Gordon Brown was there to pick up and score. Graham made no mistake with the conversion, and Annan were back to 22-7.

The game carried on in the gathering gloom, on a sticky pitch which must once have had grass, but Annan were unable to get decent field position and the final period of the match saw GHK encamped in the Annan 22. From a final ruck on the Annan line they got their fourth try, unconverted.

This was by no means a classic. There were mistakes aplenty from both sides, Annan just edging ahead in this calculation, and plenty of whistle from the referee, some of whose decisions baffled players and spectators alike. One plus for Annan were the performances of the Colt players Scott, Blower and Halliday, and the appearance with kit of Andrew Gunning. Also thanks to Rob Graham for making himself available and taking on the scrum half duties at a time of need.

Annan team: A. Muir; R. Copland, W. Harrison, J. Lake, C. Moffat; S. Wyllie, R. Graham; M. Johnston, G. Brown, A. Graham, K. Nelson, D. McKay, N. Bell, M. Scott, N. Halliday. Replacements all used: B. Blower, A. Gunning, S. Earl, A. Halliday.

ANNAN 32 V CREIGHTON 0
SATURDAY 12TH NOVEMBER 2005

This was a useful workout for the 2nds, who were able to give a run to some 22 players. Three played for Creighton, who were short handed, those three having to play the whole game while Annan were able to rotate their subs.

Despite arriving late and forgoing any warm up, it was Creighton who had the better of the early play, keeping Annan in their own half and using their forwards to test the Annan defence. Annan kept their line intact, and soon began to move into a more attacking mode. Three tries were scored in the first half, all by the backs, whose handling and direct running exposed the Creighton defence. First, simple draw and pass put left winger Willie Harrison in on the left (for his first try in over 20 years), then centre Joe Crowther burst through the defence to the posts (allowing stand off Ross Johnstone to convert), and near half time another straightforward backs move gave Bob Copland sight of the line and he was not going to be denied.

The second half was totally dominated by Annan, and that only three further tries were recorded was down to a rash of knock ons, misplaced passes and general over-eagerness. First over in this period was centre Barry Graham, then David Copland took a nice pass from Bruce Hay to get in at the left corner. It was left to No 8 Neil Halliday to get the forwards on the score sheet with a typical breenge from close range.

Thanks should be expressed to Creighton for coming albeit short of numbers, and to the Annan players who played in the blue Ė Andy Graham, John Lake and Del Irving, all of whom fought hard. There was much good play to admire from both forwards and backs for Annan, despite the lapses in concentration mentioned, and there is a determination to win in this squad. This week they have a chance to continue their winning ways when Stewartry visit Violetbank. Finally a word for captain Babe Graham, who gives the squad the kind of leadership they enjoy.

Annan team: A. Graham; R. Copland, J. Crowther, B. Graham, W. Harrison; R. Johnstone, A. Rae; M. Johnstone, G. Brown, J. Gilmour, I. Thorburn, K. Nelson, N. Bell, C. Hay, N. Halliday. Replacements, all used, were B. Hay, G. Wylie, D. Copland, C. Moffat.

ANNAN 32 V STRATHCLYDE UNI 0
SATURDAY 29TH OCTOBER 2005

Annanís second string continued their winning run against Strathclyde University in confident manner, even if the the scoreline could have been much higher. The game lacked some focus, probably caused by late changes to Annanís selected line up, Strathclydeís late arrival and the resulting uncontested scrummages. Annan were well served by Billy Henderson and Dougie McKay in the lineout and dominated possession, creating numerous attacking opportunities. Unfortunately many of these opportunities were wasted by poor handling when gaps had already been created.

For the record Annanís tries were scored by Keith Nelson (2), Bob Copland (2), and Stuart Wyllie. Scott McCann was successful with 2 conversions and a penalty. The best performances were from the aggressive play from Keith Nelson and Paul OíDonnell in the forwards and the red hot Bob Copland in the backs.

Both side owe a huge thank you to Ďstand iní referee Kenny Hogg whose clear and sympathetic control of the game was outstanding.

Annan Team: K Nelson, D Irving, G Wylie, W Henderson, D McKay, P OíDonnell, I Thorburn, N Halliday, A Rae, S McCann, W Harrison, S Wyllie, B Graham, B Copland, A Jancey Replacements: K Watret, G Brown, L Vevers.

ALLAN GLENS 17 V ANNAN 27
SATURDAY 15TH OCTOBER 2005

Annanís second string travelled to the Bearyards at Kirkintilloch to take on Allan Glens in Division 5 (West) of the Scottish 2nd XV Leagues. In the opening quarter Annan were camped in the home 22 as their forwards battered away at the Allan Glens line. Twice Annan breached the line but on both occasions the referee deemed that the ball was held up. Annan were also awarded three penalties but were only successful with one to take a three point lead. In the second quarter the home side, realising that they could not compete with the power of the visiting forwards, changed their game plan and ran the ball through their backs on every occasion. Their tactic paid off and the home side scored two unconverted tries to take a half time lead at 10-3.

After the break Annan tightened up their game and, keeping the ball tight in the forwards, drove the home side deep into their half and when they released the ball to their backs winger Bob Copeland swept in to score a fine try. This try was followed by one scored by lock Kieron Watret who picking the ball up outside the Glenís 22 cleaved through the home defences in a storming run to score under the posts. Stand off Stuart Wyllie added the conversion. Winger Bob Copeland scored his second try at the end of a fine backs move beating his opposite number and the full back to score in the corner. Annanís final try was scored by Dougie McKay with a bullocking run through several tackles to score between the posts. Stuart Wyllie again added the conversion.

All in all a solid performance from Annanís second string with full back Andy Copeland the pick of the backs with the veterans No 8 and flanker Neil Halliday and Ian Thorburn respectively putting in their usual solid performances.

LENZIE 10 V ANNAN 18
SATURDAY 8TH OCTOBER 2005

Last Saturday saw the Annan second fifteen travel up to Lenzie for their league fixture in Division 5 of the Scottish 2nd XV Leagues. The match kicked off with Annan facing a stiff breeze and squinting into the bright autumn sunshine, with the opening encounters seeing the home side taking advantage of the conditions, gaining territory by kicking behind the visiting forwards and causing the back division some awkward moments.

However, Annan eventually settled into a rhythm of sorts and the forwards were able to exert, at least, some control of the game. Annan should really have taken the game by the scruff of the neck at this stage but a little bit of indiscipline by some of the senior players, who should know better, prevented full control being taken.

This is not to say that it was a bad performance, on the contrary, all the players involved performed with no little commitment and skill but they must remember that once a referee has made a decision then no amount of backchat will change his mind. The Annan captain did reiterate this point, most forcibly on more than one occasion to his players.

Annan did score some top drawer tries though, one each for Neil Halliday, Gavin Lynch and the mighty Magoo aka Angus Burnell. The other points were scored from the reliable boot of Ross Johnston with a penalty.

ANNAN 74 V STRATHENDRICK 5
SATURDAY 1ST OCTOBER 2005

Credit must go to the visitors in this one sided game who in the true spirit of the game although depleted in numbers still made the long journey to Annan to fulfil this league fixture in Division 5(West) of the Scottish 2nd XV Leagues. It should also be said that the home side also entered into the spirit by providing the visitors from Strathendrick with four players.

Little can be said about this game except to list the points scorers and praise the visitors who battled away for the full 80 minutes and who were rewarded with a score in the final quarter of the game for their efforts. The four Annan players who played for the other side - so to speak- are also due praise as they had turned up expecting to be tactical substitutes (i.e only play 20 minutes) and had to play for 80 lung busting minutes.

The Annan try scorers were: D McKay, I Thorburn, B Graham (2), R Copland, S Wyllie (2), D Copland, A Eggleton, N Halliday (2), G Wylie, G Smith (2) with S Wyllie adding the 2 conversions to complete the scoring.

Annan 2nd XV Team: A Burnell, S Robertson, A Graham, D McKay, J Vaughan, M Pattinson, I Thorburn, K Watret, B Graham, N Latimer, R Copland, S Wyllie, A Graham, D Copland, A Eggleton. Replacements: K Nelson, N Halliday, G Brown, D Irving, M Johnstone, A Copland, G Wylie

ANNAN 0 V GARNOCK 13
SATURDAY 24TH SEPTEMBER 2005

After a brisk start to their league campaign, Annan came unstuck against a well organised Garnock side who were in con¨trol for most of the game at Violetbank.

Annan's set piece work in line-out and scrum was very impres¨sive, but they failed to get their backs moving to any effect. They did have chances, mainly in breakaway moves, but poor decision making proved costly.

Giving away too many penal¨ties, it was no surprise that Annan found themselves 0-6 down at the interval from the boot of fullback Nisbet. Garnock were playing simple but effec¨tive rugby and stand off Kirk Glen was a constant thorn in Annan's side with astute touch kicking. The only try of the match was scored by Garnock's Blackwood, a try which could have been avoided had the tackles gone in. Garnock again had most of the territorial advantage in the sec¨ond half and were the more cohesive unit throughout.

There were good Annan per¨formances from Jason Vaughan, Barry Graham and lan Thorburn, and Stewart Wyllie performed well at stand off despite playing out of position.

Ewan Currie showed promise, too, when coming into the line but Annan were missing that vital interplay between forwards and backs. Garnock were the more focussed side and will be a hard team to beat in this league. However, Annan will regard this game as being a minor setback and they too have the ability to be right up with the league lead¨ers as the season progresses.

Annan team: E. Currie; R. Copland, D. Wyllie, C. Hay, M. Pattinson; S. Wyllie, B. Graham; A. Burnell, S. Robertson, G. Wylie, D. McKay, K. Watret, J. Vaughan, N. Bell, I. Thorburn. D. Irving, K. Nelson.

MARR 6 V ANNAN 6
SATURDAY 17TH SEPTEMBER 2005

Annanís second string travelled to Troon to take on Marr on Saturday, with a full complement and boasting five replacements, which is a real positive, after recent seasons and one hopes that the renewed enthusiasm, sparked by the captain Alastair (Babe) Graham continues.

Although the scoreline, in this Division 5 (West) of the Scottish 2nd XV leagues, of 6 points each, suggests a dour affair, this wasn't the case as it was an end to end affair, with both sides trying hard but ultimately failing to get over the whitewash. This was mainly due to both teams possessing a spectacular propensity for perpetrating handling errors and giving away needless penalties at strategic moments. However, there was real endeavour shown and precious league points were gained away from home, another plus point.

It would be pointless to pick out any standout performances, all in all this was a real team effort and as such all the more satisfying. If the side can display just a little more composure then things will surely click into place, sooner rather than later. For the record all of Annansí points came from the reliable boot of young Andrew White.

ANNAN 66 v GHK 0
SATURDAY 10TH SEPTEMBER 2005

Annanís second string got off to a flying start in their first league match of the season on Saturday at Violetbank in Division 5 (West) of the Scottish 2nd XV Leagues with an emphatic 10 try win over their visitors from Glasgow. With Annanís Colts left without a game following West of Scotland being unable to raise a team the Annan coaches decided to give Andrew Jancey and Andrew White a run in the seconds at scrum half and stand off respectively.

Annan stated their intent in the opening minutes of the game when with some slick inter-passing between forwards and backs full back Ali Muir strode in for a score which stand off Andrew White converted. Tries followed at regular intervals as the home team put in one of their best performances for some years with both forwards and backs playing some fine continuity rugby. By half time the game was won with the home side having a healthy 35 point lead with tries from wingers Bob Copland and Caird Hay and veteran No 8 Neil Halliday scoring two close range scores.

In the second half, playing against the breeze, Annan continued as they had finished the first playing some sparkling rugby with the colts halfback partnership of Jancey and White proving a most potent link between the forwards and backs. Annanís scores came from second tries for full back Ali Muir and winger Bob Copland, with prop Grant Wylie crashing over and forwards Michael Pattinson and Dougie McKay completing the try fest. Andrew White converted 4 of the tries.

Outstanding in the forwards was veteran No 8 Neil Halliday who despite his advancing years still showed some his younger counterparts the way forward. In the backs young Andrew White and Andrew Jancey had outstanding games showing that Annanís future looks to be in safe hands.

All in all this was a most satisfying result for Annanís second string but the real test will come this weekend when they have to travel away to Marr.

Annan Team: D Irving, S Robertson, G Wylie, I Thorburn, D McKay, N Bell, S Wyllie, N Halliday, A Jancey, A White, C Hay, A Graham (Capt), D Wyllie, R Copland, A Muir. Replacements: G Brown, W Henderson, A Burnell, K Watret, M Pattinson, (all used) M Johnstone played for GHK.

MOFFAT 10's
SATURDAY 20TH AUGUST 2005

Annan were represented at the Moffat Tens by a selection of 2nd XV players and in their opening game against Newton Stewart and although playing well were well beaten 63 Ė 5 with Annanís try being scored by Bob Copland. In their second game they played a young Stewartry side and won 12 Ė 5 with tries scored by Stuart Murray and Bob Copland with prop Andy Graham adding the conversion.

Annan met Melrose in the Quaich Final where the Annan team gelled and played much better but were beaten 17 Ė 5 with Annanís try being scored by Gogs Dinwoodie.

Annan Squad: Alastair Graham (Captain), Andy Graham, Bob Copland, Gordon Brown, Darren Irving, Jim Tweedie, Stuart Murray, Kieron Watret, Michael Pattinson, M. Johnstone and Caird Hay (Gogs Dinwoodie, Andrew Jefferson played in the Quaich Final)

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