Match reports for the 2nd XV

PREVIOUS YEARS:

All previous match reports etc can be found at the Archive page.

LEAGUE: HOME
Ardrossan
Cambuslang
Dalziel
Garnock
Greenock
Irvine
West of Scotland
LEAGUE: AWAY
Ardrossan
Dalziel
Garnock
Greenock
Irvine
Kilmarnock
Lenzie
West of Scotland
CUP GAMES
OTHER GAMES
Carlisle
Carlisle
Creighton
Dumfries
Dumfries

DALZIEL 27 v ANNAN 5
SATURDAY 28TH APRIL 2007

Not one of the best afternoons of the season as Annan’s second string struggled in a first half which finished 22 – 0 against the wind. Improvement was evident in the second half where Bob Coupland finished off a great move to score Annans’ only try. Many thanks to all the boys who have played for this team during the course of the season. It’s been much appreciated by the 2nd XV coaches Ian Black and Neil Chalmers with special thanks to Kieron Watret for all his efforts as captain. Two old warhorses Tam Thorburn and Neil Halliday also require special mention and even Gavin Lynch must admire the progression of the youngsters.

For the record Annan finished 4th in Division 4 (West) of the Scottish 2nd XV leagues with West of Scotland promoted and Cambuslang and Kilmarnock relegated with Helensburg and Whitecraigs promoted into Division 4 (West) from Division 5 (West)

ANNAN 31 v DALZIEL 17
SATURDAY 21ST APRIL 2007

Annan 2nd XV had an emphatic if somewhat uninspiring win at Violetbank on Saturday against Dalziel 2nds in Division 4 (West) of the Scottish 2nd XV Leagues. Against a huge, streetwise, pack from Motherwell the home eight struggled to win quality ball from the set piece and had to live on ball won in the loose. With their meagre rations however the home backs were more than a match for their pedestrian counterparts from Dalziel. The game rarely got to up to more than a snails pace due to the slow ponderous forward battle and the incessant interruptions occasioned by the referee’s whistle. However at half time Annan led the tie 14-10 following two first half tries from centre Michael Griffen and standoff Scott McCann respectively both of which were converted by centre Duncan Fisher.

In the second half all of Annan’s points came from Duncan Fisher with a penalty followed by two tries which he also converted. Dalziel had the consolation of a late try when their forwards lumbered over to score and thankfully the referee blew for no side.

A successful hard won 3 points for the Annan second string which moves them up to 3rd place in the league. The Annan backs as a unit looked very effective unit when they had the ball and wing forwards Euan Braid and Dwayne Barnes had their usual barnstorming games with Captain Kieron Watret leading from the front with some effective breenging runs.

ANNAN 31 v ARDROSSAN 17
SATURDAY 14TH APRIL 2007

Annan stepped closer to their aim of finishing as runners up in the league in very hot and dry conditions at Violetbank on Saturday.  The boys battled hard and played well for the best part of this game.  The Annan tries came from Stewart Wylie, Michael Carpenter, Johnny Crombie, Kieron Watret and Neil Bell.  Connor Trant added 3 conversions. 

The forwards worked well as a unit with Tam Thorburn having probably his best game of the season and with no recognised scrum half this week Sam Rogers stepped in and played really well giving his usual 100%.  Big Kieron Watret scored a cracking try and Michael Carpenter filling in the centre did very well setting up Stewart Wylie for his try and the first of the game. 

Needless to say this report would not be complete without praising Dwayne Barnes and Ewan Braid who covered every blade of grass with a tackle count which must have been over 100 between them.  They were both awesome.

ANNAN 10 v IRVINE 3
SATURDAY 31ST MARCH 2007

What a difference a week makes.  Not only a performance to savour with a great result but a huge blow to an Irvine side looking for promotion.  They were in shock at the final whistle.  Annan promised themselves before the game to stand shoulder to shoulder and take the game to Irvine.  For 80 minutes to their credit they did as they promised and got their just reward.  Stand off Conor Trant got all Annan’s points with a try, conversion and a penalty and had his game boosted this week with the presence of Scott McCann.  Beside him Scott was excellent. 

Gavin Lynch at 9, Conor, Scott and Stuart Wylie at 10, 12, and 13 put Irvine under tremendous pressure in the mid field and strangled their ability to attack.  From the forwards Dwayne Barnes had a fine game.  Sam Rogers and Kieron Watret worked soundly in the second row as did Michael Carpenter, Johnny Crombie and Ryan Gracie.  Up front Ewan Braid was awesome. 

Special mention to Neil Bell coming on to set up the winning score.  Well done Belly in between Conor going over for the try and his conversion the Irvine players were overheard asking the referee how long was left. His answer was 5 seconds. 

GARNOCK 61 v ANNAN 10
SATURDAY 24TH MARCH 2007

Annan’s second string had a bad day at the office on Saturday at Lochshore. The disruption of fixtures has done this team no favours but capitulation was not expected to this extent.  

Although they were in touch with their hosts at half time Garnock stormed away in the second half to earn a well deserved win which keeps then in third place in the league. Mark Clark at last made his debut at this level for Annan and did very well although he will not see it that way.  Dwayne Barnes and Ewan Braid gave a 100% as usual and will use this experience to their advantage.  The Annan scores came from a penalty and conversion from Conor Trant and a try from Kieron Watret. 

Coach Ian Black stated after the game that ‘I’m looking forward to improvement and kicking on to finish the season on a high.  Bring on Irvine this week and let’s get back to winning ways.’

ANNAN 13 v GREENOCK WANDERERS 10
SATURDAY 3RD MARCH 2007

This game went ahead at the Everholm – almost four months to the day since 2nds played their last home league game. Indeed this was only the 2nds third game of 2007, and it was no surprise that they looked rusty at times. In the end, however, they ground out a useful win.

The Annan lineup looked strong on paper, and against a team they had earlier beaten away, a straightforward win was anticipated, but this was not to be the case. Greenock looked much the sharper team in the opening quarter, as Annan struggled to settle and develop any continuity in their play. A successful penalty to Greenock was followed by a converted try as their fullback took advantage of some poor Annan defence, and the visitors led 10-0.

Annan buckled down and began to retain some possession, and were rewarded before half time with a try from captain and No 8 Keiron Watret. Taking a quick pass from a tap penalty, he broke the first line of defence to find a clear run to the posts. Conor Trant added the conversion to make it 7-10 at half time.

Annan had the benefit of the cross wind in the second half, but were not really able to take advantage, and the game developed into a midfield slog. On two occasions Annan worked their way into the Greenock 22, and were awarded penalties – one early in the half, and the other towards the end. Trant made good both, the second in particular a fine kick, to earn Annan a narrow win. Once again Annan were good in defence, but found it difficult to get any attacking momentum and they really need continuity of games to allow them to regain their early season form, which should enable them to finish in a respectable position in the league.

Congratulations to Ryan Gracie on being part of the successful Glasgow U17 team recently. Chosen at prop for Glasgow, a position in which he ended this game against a gnarled veteran.

Annan team: J. Carlyle, R. Gracie, J. Crombie, N. Bell, I. Thorburn, N. Halliday, S. Wyllie, K. Watret, B. Graham, C. Trant, D. Graham, G. Lynch, M. Griffin, R. Copland, B. Hay. Subs (all used) ; D. Barnes, S. Rogers, C. Hay, G. Williamson.

WEST OF SCOTLAND 15 v ANNAN 0
SATURDAY 27TH JANUARY 2007

West are League leaders, and had beaten Annan at Violetbank by 30-0 earlier in the season, so in that sense the result of this match was an improvement for Annan. However Annan were forced into defence for the most part, and only some gritty defence and handling errors by the home side at vital moments kept the score down.

West had the benefit of a cross wind in the first half, and dominated territorially, but it took them some twenty minutes to open the scoring. The West fullback came into the line and ran in for an unconverted try. A few minutes later it was the West number 7 who got round the Annan defence on the right for another unconverted score, but that was to be it for the first half. Annan did have a couple of attacks in this half. Bob Copland was bundled into touch near the corner flag, and later was set loose after simple but effective passing by Annan, however the referee pulled play back for some offence. The referee, indeed, seemed to play no advantage at all during the game, and his decisions often baffled players and spectators. The result was a stop-start affair.

With the benefit of the cross wind in the second half it was hoped Annan would be able to keep West pinned back, but they were to have even less success than in the first half. Again West dominated play, and Annan were unable to clear their lines. Kicks were not deep enough and did not find touch, and attempts to run the ball out of defence foundered on West tackling or handling errors. However West were restricted to one second half try, a good one at that involving slick handling by their backs who were always the greatest threat to Annan, even if their interpretation of the offside line was casual.

The Annan pack plugged away until the end. Captain Kieron Watret made some useful breenges. There was some good lineout ball, and the scrum did well. The Annan backs were rarely seen in an attacking mode, and for all players there was plenty of tackling practice. (The leadership of Ian Thorburn was missed, having pulled a muscle in the warm-up.)

Annan will not come across backs like this every week in the League, and hopefully the team will redouble their efforts at training to get back to winning ways.

Annan team: M. Johnston, R. Gracie, A. Graham, N. Bell, G. Hogg, M. Carpenter, E. Braid, K. Watret; G. Lynch, C. Trant; D. Graham, C. Hay, N. Coupland, R. Copland; A. Copland. Replacements both used – A. Savage, J. Thomas.

CREIGHTON 10 v ANNAN 28
SATURDAY 6TH JANUARY 2007

It was a spanking new venue at Garlands for this friendly match, but the same old Creighton. In the end Annan were convincing winners, but the home side always make it hard for opponents to establish superiority. Their forward based game and determined defence by the backs, aided by doubtful policing of the offside line, meant that a rusty Annan only really came to life in the final quarter.

The first half was not a pretty affair, with mistakes aplenty from both sides, but Annan were more adept at taking their chances. First stand off Conor Trant knocked over a penalty. Annan pressure led to a penalty near the home line, and a quick tap gave the ball to fullback Alastair Graham to cross for the first try. Trant made good the difficult conversion, and later added a second penalty to give Annan a 13-0 lead. Creighton had the final say when a loose ball was kicked through and Creighton won the race to touch down. Half time Creighton 5 Annan 13.

Creighton had finished the first half with some pressure, and had more at the start of the second, and Annan were called on to defend with some vigour. The pattern of the first half was still evident, with mistakes the order of the day. As the game moved into the final quarter, Annan found form at last and began to play with more confidence. Caird Hay finished off some pressure on the home line, and his try was followed by a quick-fire double by right wing Bob Copland, both of which followed good handling. The first was made by Alastair Graham bursting through the centre before giving Copland a run to the line. The second followed good handling on the right, giving Copland a slight overlap. Again it was Creighton who were to have the final score – a forward plunging over, almost to the line, after a late tap penalty.

This was a workout the 2nds needed, not having had a full 2nd XV game for some weeks. There was understandable rustiness, but some glimpses of good handling and support play, which they will hope to build on in their league game this week against Lenzie. Followers of Annan rugby will be interested to note that J. Carlyle played at least a half in the front row.

Annan team: A. Graham; R. Copland, B. Hay, Kiwi John, D. Graham; C. Trant, G. Lynch; J. Carlyle, R. Gracie, A. Graham, N. Coupland, N. Bell, C. Hay, J. Nelson, K. Watret, E. Braid, G. Brown, A. Copland, M. Johnston.

CARLISLE 0 v ANNAN 55
SATURDAY 11TH NOVEMBER 2006

The pleasing thing for the Annan coaches was that the team stuck to a game plan almost without exception for the whole of the game. Conditions were terrible but do not necessarily dictate the way you play the game, it’s a state of mind and to that end Annan were impressive.

Now the trick is to build on this with the league campaign almost halfway through. The points were scored by through tries by Neil Coupland, Bob Coupland (3), Dwayne Barnes (1), Alex Halliday (2), Ewan Currie, Conor Trant added 5 conversions and Scott Arnott got his first try for the club.

John Nelson had a superb game. Michael Carpenter and Dwayne Barnes were excellent on the flank. Ian “Tam” Thorburn had his best game of the season. Behind the scrum Alex Halliday added an extra dimension in the backs. Johnny Callaghan and Conor Trant continue to learn their rugby craft at half back and Bob Coupland finished with quality.

Stewartry are up next in a “friendly” and then three massive league games follow before Christmas to set the benchmark for the season so far.

IRVINE 22 v ANNAN 12
SATURDAY 4TH NOVEMBER 2006

Annan’s second string travelled, hopefully, to Marress to take on top of the table Irving in Division 4(West) of the Scottish 2nd XV leagues. As it turned out Irvine’s efforts were enough to dispel Annan’s hopes.

Annan took to the field with what, on paper, looked like the best Annan team available to the selectors on the day. But as the game approached and started it was evident that the Annan team spirit was still on the proverbial bus. Irvine went ahead with two easy tries within the first ten minutes to take the score to 12 -0. This was despite Annan having a great share of the possession and territory but unfortunately Annan had no answer to Irvine’s fast attacks down the wings.

Annan began to find their feet and show some metal which allowed them to get back into the game. After some good concerted play from the forwards allowed No 8 Kieren Watret to pick up from the base of the scrum and drive over from 10 metres out. Stand off Conor Trant added the conversion to get back the visitors back into the game at 12-7. The first half ended with Irvine increasing their lead by adding a penalty to take the half time score to Irvine 15 Annan 7.

The second half saw some tactical changes to the Annan side, which, although the game continued to be hard fought and saw Annan take more of the game and come back to 15 – 12. Good forward play from the Annan forwards opened up some space in the Irvine defences which was duly exploited with some good fast handling which ended up with winger Gavin Lynch scoring a well worked try.

The last quarter of the game saw some of the best and worst features of rugby. Annan chasing the game upped their efforts and played some excellent rugby, but in chasing the game they were susceptible to errors, which in the end allowed Irvine to counter attack and increase their lead to 22 – 12.

Soon after the last score of the match and within 10 minutes of full time Annan had a player sin binned for illegal footwork on an offside but prone home forward caught on the wrong side of a ruck. This incident was quickly followed by a second Annan player being sin binned for retaliation during a fracas. The Irvine player involved being red carded. Indeed the game ended as a ‘pretty tousy affair’.

Irvine are probably, all round, the best team Annan have faced this season in the league. The closeness of the game indicates that this was, on the whole, a creditable performance by Annan’s second string. The lessons to be learned from Saturday’s experience are that the team must take the field prepared from the first whistle to the last and not allow the opposition a two try start.

ANNAN 39 v CAMBUSLANG 0
SATURDAY 28TH OCTOBER 2006

Photos from game

The seconds got the job done against Cambuslang with something to spare. The wet conditions made handling difficult, but the only real rugby on show came from Annan against stuffy opposition. Cambuslang came with the bare fifteen men, and when that happens you can be sure that you will lose players injured. So it was, the Cambuslang scrum half having to depart on half time, making their task all the harder.

Annan had the game wrapped up long before that however, scoring three good tries in the opening quarter. The first came after some loose play by Cambus near their own line. The ball was scooped up by veteran Neil Halliday and popped to hooker Ryan Gracie to score in the corner. Next it was the turn of flanker Keith Nelson who saw a gap and breenged home from 15 metres. Then right wing Bob Copland was on hand for the final run in after good rucking and recycling by Annan. Stand off Conor Trant converted this one to give Annan a 17-0 lead

. Annan went off the boil a bit in the second quarter, as the conditions began to take a toll, but a late spell of Cambus pressure was repulsed to leave Annan with the happy prospect of playing the second half kicking towards the pavilion.

Annan had nearly all the second half pressure, but a catalogue of errors and some over eagerness delayed scoring. Once Annan did get into stride again, they ran in four tries against the short-handed visitors. Keiron Watret crashed over in the corner after pressure on the line. Good handling by forwards and backs led to Jonathan Callaghan bursting through to score near the posts, allowing Trant to convert. Bob Copland got a second trademark try in the corner, and in the final play of the game Keith Nelson crashed over at the posts for his second, injuring himself in the process as he was caught between the post and a defending tackle.

The seconds continue to play with confidence and no little skill. In these departments they were well served by the half back partnership of Jonathan Callaghan and Conor Trant. Also pleasing to see were the performances of young Neil Coupland, beginning at fullback but capable of assuming a number of positions and Ryan Gracie, more athletic than the average forward. Up front Keith Nelson’s aggression will be missed until he is fit again, while old heads Ian Thorburn and Neil MacGregor were always on hand to lend weight and advice.

Next week seconds have a testing trip to Irvine, who lie second in the league. Annan team: N. Coupland; R. Copland, A. Copland, D. Graham, N. Bell; C. Trant, J. Callaghan; J. Crombie, R. Gracie, N. MacGregor, I. Thorburn, M. Carpenter, N. Halliday, K. Nelson, K. Watret. Replacements, all used, G. Brown, E. Smith, G. Williamson and W. Harrison.

GREENOCK 14 v ANNAN 20
SATURDAY 21ST OCTOBER 2006

Greenock is a difficult journey and an even harder place to win a game of rugby. Needless to say the Annan lads were delighted at the final whistle.

The seconds challenge is to cope with the players out and players in on a weekly basis. Illness and injury were this week’s problems so the 17 men who gained this victory must take huge credit. Playing against the rain and up the slope Annan dug in and were rewarded by a wonderful try constructed by the backs taken on by Andy Coupland and finished by Conor Trant. Conor added the conversion followed by a penalty to finish the first half scoring.

The second half was more of a struggle than it should have been but Annan battled away against a young fit Greenock side and were rewarded by a James Gilmour try between the posts to seal victory. Conor again added a conversion to add to a penalty early in the second half.

No stars this week with a huge team effort winning the points. With four wins out of six and more importantly four away games out of the way it was a happy Annan dressing room.

KILMARNOCK 5 v ANNAN 39
SATURDAY 14TH OCTOBER 2006

Photos from game

Annan’s second string made it a double on Saturday for the Annan club by beating Kilmarnock 2nd s at Bellsland in Division 4 (West) in the Scottish 2nd XV Leagues with an emphatic win over the home side by six tries to one.

Although in control for most of the match it took the visitors some time to get on the score board as the home side made it difficult for them to get any continuity in their play. After a period of pressure in the Killie 22 Annan were rewarded with a penalty which stand off Conor Trant slotted. Conon was next on the scoreboard when with a marvellous display of footwork he danced his way over the line to score, adding the conversion for good measure to take Annan into a 10 point lead. Killie pegged Annan back to a 5 point lead when they scored what was to be their only try of the game. The 10 point lead was restored, however, when prop Neil McGregor drove over from a rolling maul to score. Captain Kieron Watret was next on the scoresheet when he gathered the ball on the half way line and set off on a breenging run for the line leaving a trail of despairing tacklers in his wake to take the half time score to Kilmarnock 5 Annan 20.

The second half belonged entirely to the visitors as they ran in a further 3 tries. Conor Trant and Neil McGregor both added second tries to their personal tally. Wing forward Dwayne Barnes added the final try when from a scrum in the home 22 he drove over to score. Conor Trant added 2 conversions to take his personal tally in the game to 19 points.

All in all this was a convincing win away from home in this highly competitive league and although the game was strewn with mistakes there were glimpses of some enterprising rugby.

ANNAN 0 v WEST OF SCOTLAND 30
SATURDAY 7TH OCTOBER 2006

Annan’s second string were beaten in the Division 4 (West) of the Scottish 2nd XV leagues at Violetbank on Saturday by an impressive side from West of Scotland who top the league. However it was some worrying defensive lapses in the back division in the second half which resulted in such a heavy defeat.

The home team’s forwards took on board the previous weeks problems and played well with lock Graham Hogg outstanding with prop Johnny Crombie not far behind and genuine progress was made. Another young prospect Paul Anderson made his second XV debut at scrum half and had an excellent game although he was under a bit of pressure in the last 10 minutes of the game from his more experienced counterpart from West. At full back Euan Currie had a solid performance.

The main problems were in the mid field area where there is a lot to work on in the coming weeks. The team must get back to basics which the young guns must buy into.

ARDROSSAN 27 V ANNAN 19
SATURDAY 30TH SEPTEMBER 2006

Annan traveled to Memorial Field to take on Ardrossan 2nds in Division 4 (West) of the Scottish 2nd XV leagues on Saturday and put in their poorest performance of the season with an undisciplined display of rugby. Against a more experienced side Annan, with their mix of youth and experience, were unable or unwilling to play the type of game their coaches wanted. And in a first half gave away a plethora of penalties which basically cost them the game.

In the second half Annan did improve their play and reduced their penalty count and scored three tries to make the final score more presentable. The tries were scored by Kieren Watret and Bob Copland and Conor Trant added two conversions. Annan’s third try was a penalty try awarded by the referee for a series of repeated offences by the home pack.

All in all this was a disappointing performance by Annan’s second string on which they will have to improve if they are to hold their own in this highly competitive league.

ANNAN 14 v GARNOCK 10
SATURDAY 23RD SEPTEMBER 2006

Annan had to fight hard to gain their second league victory in as many games. The home team got off to the worst possible start as Garnock scored straight from the kick-off, with their winger fielding a horrendous bounce from Annan’s point of view to score between the posts. However, Annan came right back into the game, taking control and eventually leveling the score throughy an Andy Copland try and Conor Trant conversion.

Annan’s other try came from the returning Neil “Big Stuff” MacGregor who played the second half and did well considering his lengthy lay-off. He will be a welcome addition to this team, with his experience, presence and knowledge benefiting the younger lads. Conor Trant again dispatched the conversion.

This week also saw the return of Elliot Smith at hooker and Jonathan Callaghan at centre, both playing very well.

All in all, a decent performance though there were many unforced errors which stopped the game from being a high scoring one from Annan’s point of view. Progress is being made, however, despite the number of changes the team has had to endure in recent weeks. Jonathan Crombie did well at prop and Keiran Watret carried the ball more this week – exactly what the coaches are looking for. In the back row, Dwayne Barnes and Euan Braid were outstanding once again.

LENZIE 24 v ANNAN 26
SATURDAY 16TH SEPTEMBER 2006

Lazarus lives. Annan came back from the dead, as it were, at Viewpark to record a valuable opening win in Division 3 of the 2nd XV Leagues, but after 50 minutes, trailing 19-7, this had looked unlikely.

The 2nds had had a good pre-season, reaching the final of the Moffat Tens, and winning their friendly matches against Carlisle and Dumfries, but were forced to dig deep at selection as a result of unavailabilities and call-ups to the 1st XV squad. The result was that in the first half Annan looked like a team unfamiliar with each other. Add poor discipline and some generally inept play, and it is not difficult to see why Lenzie dominated the first half. That they were only 9-7 ahead at half time was due to some sterling defence of the Annan line as well as a failure by Lenzie to use their strengths, which appeared to lie on the wings.

Annan went behind to three penalties, but at the end of the half had a spell of possession and pressure, and with the ball being whipped along the line, Caird Hay had the overlap to score in the right corner. Conor Trant made an excellent job of the conversion, to reduce the leeway at the break to 7-9.

Annan started the second half down to 14 men, Andy Graham having been sent off at half time. Nevertheless, with the slight breeze and slope it was hoped that the pattern of the game might change in Annan’s favour. This was not immediately apparent, as Lenzie crossed for a quick try, converted by their excellent kicker. This was followed by a penalty, to leave Annan trailing 7-19. At this point Annan began to gel as a team, and with uncontested scrums now being played, wisely put on as much youth and speed as they could. Prop Mark Johnston began the revival by getting over in the corner, Conor Trant just missing the conversion. Keith Nelson drove over at the posts shortly after, allowing Trant to level the scores at 19-19. With confidence now running high, Annan went for the win, and almost on time, Andrew Eggleton got over, Trant again converting for what looked like the deciding scores – 26-19. Lenzie had other ideas, and direct from the restart kick swept to the Annan end and after brief pressure, got over at the posts. With everyone present thinking the conversion would be a formality, the Lenzie kicker pulled the easy kick wide, and the final whistle went.

Special mention for the youngsters on show, Trant, Barnes, Nicholson and Henderson, and for oldsters B.Graham and Thorburn. A welcome win for 2nds, but they will need to improve this week with Garnock the visitors to Violetbank.

Annan team: S. Arnot, G. Brown, A. Graham, K. Nelson, N. Coupland, I. Thorburn, D. Barnes, K. Watret; B. Graham, C. Trant; D. Graham, E. Currie, A. Eggleton, C. Hay; A. Copland.

CARLISLE 5 v ANNAN 22
SATURDAY 2ND SEPTEMBER 2006

For the second week running the first half of this friendly at Warwick Road was pretty much a non event for Annan but in fairness the Carlisle forwards made it difficult for the Annan side to win any ball. Maybe it was also due to the fact they were forced to field a different team. Certainly, the torrential rain didn’t help but in truth the forwards couldn’t win the ball and gave away a horrendous amount of penalties. After the half time team talk things did improve. When a kickable penalty was awarded and young Conor Trant despatched it Annan used this as a springboard to win the game. Andrew Eggleton scored after a mazy run. David Graham scored two tries. His first an individual effort, his second rounding off a great passage of play. Conor Trant added two conversions.

This was the teams last warm up game before the first league game next week after a practice session tomorrow. New arrival to the club Scott Arnot made his debut at prop. Kieron Watret had a good second half at No. 8. It was good to see Gavin Lynch complete the game unscathed at No 9. Conor Trant continues to learn his stand off craft. Alex Halliday did well at centre but the win was due to a solid second half team performance which showed great spirit and resolve. By the way wing forward Dwayne Barnes’s tackle count went off the scale – bring on Lenzie!

DUMFRIES 8 v ANNAN 47
SATURDAY 26TH AUGUST 2006

Results often don’t tell the real story. In truth it was only in the second half that Annan really got going after a shaky start. The name of the game for this team is to blend youth with experience and the coaches have 2 weeks to get the combination right for the first league game at Lenzie.

The second half of this game from Annan’s point of view was much better than the first. Stuart Wylie scored a try to end a move of real quality half way through and by that time Annan were buzzing. Annan’s other try scorers were Ali Muir, another wonderfully interception by Scott McCann and (3) from Alex Dunbar who was most impressive yet again. Conor Trant added 4 conversions and a penalty.

At the end of the game the squad were happy with progress so far. Fitness is perhaps a problem in too many areas and the players have to be honest with themselves and take steps to up their fitness. Callum Nicholson made his debut for the last 20 minutes and showed real potential.

ANNAN 31 v DUMFRIES 0
FRIDAY 4TH AUGUST 2006

The biggest Violetbank crowd for a very long time saw Annan’s second string start the new season in a positive way. This game was played in three twenty minute sessions, the first of which Annan played very much as one would expect for their first run out of the season – very rusty and finding it hard in coming to terms with playing games again, but sessions two and three produced something like the play which this team is being asked to produce. The mix of youth and experience will work to the clubs benefit quickly and the large squad of players enjoyed the game which is most important.

Good performances all round with Kieron Watret putting in a captain’s performance and scoring a try. Prop James Gilmour was impressive with scrum half Barry Graham just what this team needs at scrum half but was put under too much pressure at the base of the scrum. Youngsters Conor Trant, Michael Scott, Alex Halliday put in their usual big performances and from one extreme to the other age-wise Neil Halliday was immense and when Euan Braid came on for the last 15 minutes to join him in the back row the youngster as they say – done good! The other try scorers were Michael Scott, Bruce Hay, and Scott McCann (2), who along with Duncan Fisher in the centre were class. Conor Trant added three conversions of real quality.

linebreak