Match reports for the 2nd XV

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LEAGUE: AWAY
Kilmarnock
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CUP GAMES
OTHER GAMES

ANNAN 26 v GREENOCK WANDERERS 15
27th MARCH 2010

Another Saturday, another different 2nd team, but this time Annan put the memory of the previous week’s mauling by Dumfries aside to record a rare but well deserved league win. The ace in the Annan pack was captain Keiron Watret. He has had very few chances to play for his team this season, due to 1st XV calls, but certainly led the way in this game with four tries.

The first exchanges at the Everholm were even. Annan went ahead through a Michael Carpenter penalty, but Greenock scored on their first visit to the Annan 22. A kick ahead bamboozled the Annan defenders allowing the visiting left wing to touch down. Annan then settled to a good period of pressure, but over anxiety near the try line and a tendency to transgress in the same position prevented them from scoring. Greenock extended their lead to 8-3 thanks to a penalty, before Annan finally got reward for their pressure – No 8 Watret driving over from a ruck on the line. The conversion failed but Annan were now level 8-8 at half time.

It was now evident that Greenock lacked the ability to seriously threaten Annan, provided the home side maintained discipline and their solid defence. An early score in the second half seemed to put Annan well on their way, this time Watret taking the ball from a maul in the Greenock 22 and fending off defenders for a fine solo effort. Continued Annan pressure resulted in a red card for a Greenock player, but Annan’s habit of infringing at the vital moment was frustrating. When Watret again drove over from a ruck on the line to make the score 18-8 a win seemed on the cards, but Greenock then upped their game, and a quick tap penalty near the Annan line caught Annan napping. The conversion brought Annan’s lead down to 18-15.

By the closing stages the game became increasingly bad tempered, but with wind advantage Annan kept the game in the Greenock half, and were able to extend their lead when Graeme Smith found his kicking boots to land a penalty, and Watret rounded off the scoring with a close range try – his fourth of the game.

The ageing Annan pack, front five ages totalling over 200, coped well. The scrum was solid and wing Billy Henderson stepped in to the lineouts to make a telling contribution. Scrum half George Forrest had his usual active game, this time partnered by Michael Carpenter, who rarely lets anyone down. Michael did have to leave the field near the end with a head knock. One David Hamilton played at outside centre, and it was obvious that he had played rugby before – a long time ago ! David is perfectly able to blow his own trumpet, however.

Thanks to all those who played in this game. If those who were unable to make the game could inform captain or coach by Thursday, rather than Saturday morning, it would help.

Annan team: D. Ryan, G. Brown, L. Ogilvie, J. Tweedie, I. Blair, C. Hay, R. Dunlop, K. Watret, G. Forrest, M. Carpenter, W. Henderson, A. Copland, D. Hamilton, G. Smith, P. Schoolar, A. Jackson.

ANNAN 7 v DUMFRIES 67
20th MARCH 2010

Earlier in the season Annan shipped over a hundred points at Park Farm in the away league game, so it was expected that the visitors would be a strong well drilled side. Against that Annan were weakened by the call up of two players to the 1st XV squad and the usual crop of unavailabilities.

Dumfries showed from the off that they were out to dominate, and the speed of their backs and accuracy of passing quickly found gaps in the Annan defence. They scored six tries in the first half, and could have had more but for some valiant Annan tackling and their own errors.

To their credit Annan kept plugging away, and if anything their defence improved in the second half, but they were still unable to prevent the score mounting. Annan did manage the last score, when fullback Paul Schoolar chipped the ball over the defence and won the race to touch down. Adam Carlyle converted from wide left.

So well done to Dumfries, a solid team, fitter and stronger than their hosts. They even had moves! For Annan, well done for sticking to the task, especially the younger players. Time to make resolutions now for next season about fitness and attending training.

Annan team: D. Ryan, L. Ogilvie, G. Brown, G. Hogg, G. Williamson, C. Hay, R. Dunlop, R. Fulton, G. Forrest, A. Carlyle, W. Gray, K. Graham, G. Smith, S. McKenzie, P. Schoolar, I. Blair.

GARNOCK 46 v ANNAN 0
13th MARCH 2010

Annan started this Division 1 West of The Scottish Reserve leagues at Lochshore with 14 men instead of the expected 15. Willie Gray having been selected, during the frenzy which has become the norm known as pre-match organisation, on both wings. Had Willie been superhuman or had the phantom Willie turned up it would have helped to reduce the room which the young Garnock side enjoyed. Garnock played a young mans’ game of open, free, passing, 7 aside rugby. Annan’s late arrival and lack of warm up did little to help their early effort. Garnock used their possession and territory to move the ball from wing to wing which brought a 5 pointer within 3 minutes and a further 7 pointer within 10.

Reinforcements arrived for Annan when the club’s evergreen player Ian ‘Yogi’ Blair arrived to stiffen Annan’s resolve. What looked like a potential first half rout was averted with the 15th man allowing some team re-organisation thus enabled Annan to provide a viable opposition. Half time score Garnock 2nds 22 Annan 0.

The 2nd half, which went down to a 24-0 deficit for the visitors, saw Annan at least demonstrating their playing ability against quality opposition. The defence steadied and phases of attacking play involving forwards and backs made threatening inroads into the host’s defences. In the end Annan’s old enemy, fitness or lack of it, allowed Garnock’s quality to shine through. That said injuries in the second period, 3 in all, which if replacements had been available would have resulted in those injured to leave the field and have reflected on a more even 2nd half.

The best of Annan was in their ability to develop in the game and provide a viable team. As a unit the pack, scum, lineout and all round belligerence shaded the honours and across the team the ability to carry the ball forward must be applauded. So too in the 2nd half the tackling was effective.

Annan’s back row are worthy of mention as a unit. Ian ‘Tam’ Thorburn at No 8 was an example of effect through belligerence, ability and experience. In the backs No10 Michael Carpenter showed how to play the game as it presents itself in front of you.

Now to Annan’s old enemy! Had the team, as a body, had the fitness of the opposition, then the breaks of the 2nd half would have been better supported. The efforts and experience of the older players would have been better exploited. To cut it short this reporter (name and address supplied) supports the view of Annan 2nds last reporter – attend training, get fit, learn the game and learn how to win. All this is available at Violetbank on Tuesday and Thursday night. Players must also bear in mind that the game is played on a home and AWAY basis.

ANNAN 21 v KILMARNOCK 33
6th MARCH 2010

Both teams deserve credit for putting on an enjoyable game at Violetbank last Saturday, despite recent inaction. The result was a well contested game, in which one player, the Kilmarnock No 10, made the difference between victory and defeat.

Kilmarnock made a whirlwind start to the game and were 7-0 up after a couple of minutes. Taking the ball from the kick off, a penalty was kicked to the corner, the ball fed out to the midfield and a try at the posts was the result. Annan responded well, and were level shortly after. A tremendous forward drive resulted in prop Denis Ryan being driven over on the right, and Callum Nicholson converted. Annan continued to enjoy some good possession, and their forward drives were causing the visitors some discomfort, but the visiting backs looked capable of doing damage of their own. Kilmarnock took the lead again, this time their forwards getting over, and the conversion made it 7-14. Annan struck back with another drive by the forwards, this time on the left, and it was veteran back rower Ian Thorburn getting the score. Nicholson again converted to level the scores. However a break by the Kilmarnock backs led to an unconverted try just before half time, to give the visitors a 19-14 lead.

The second half saw both sides tire a little, but the result was really decided by the visiting stand off. Once he intercepted and ran from half way to the posts, and then sped through a gap in the Annan line for another score. With both conversions good, Kilmarnock led 33-14. Annan regrouped, however, and had the consolation of the last score. Pressure on the Kilmarnock back line led to a spilt ball, and winger Graeme Smith picked up and outpaced the defence to score at the posts, allowing Nicholson to complete the scoring at 21-33, with a 100% kicking record.

In a predominately young back division, there were encouraging performances from scrum half Forrest and fullback Schoolar, while Carpenter coped well in the unfamiliar position of stand off. The pack was always competitive, and probably shaded exchanges, the set pieces being solid until the lineout deteriorated later on.

Let’s finish with the usual plea to 2nd XV players to attend training in greater numbers, now that the better weather seems to be approaching. It could be a transforming experience.

Annan team: P.Schoolar, W. Gray, C. Hay, N. Bell, G. Smith, M. Carpenter, G. Forrest, D. Ryan, G. Brown, L. Ogilvie, G. Hogg, C. Nicholson, A. Jackson, D. Barnes, I. Thorburn, G. Williamson, J. Davies, M. Mannel, W. Henderson.

ANNAN 0 v GARNOCK 63
31ST OCTOBER 2009

Match Photos

After last week’s effort against Whitecraigs, the 2nds were unable to keep things going for another week. The Garnock backs completely outclassed their Annan counterparts, largely young and inexperienced, though the forwards could claim to have a degree of parity especially in the set piece.

Annan looked likely to start with 14 men, but I Blair appeared before kick off to provide Annan with a full team. By the start of the second half, N Bell, S Broach and A Yates had also appeared, allowing some of the old timers a much needed break. In fact it would not have mattered how many Annan had on the bench, the result would have been the same.

Kicking against the wind, Annan found themselves 21 points down inside ten minutes. Each try came from the visiting backs, usually from well outside the Annan 22, as pacy running, good passing and back up cut through Annan’s midfield defence. All three tries were converted. For the next quarter of an hour Annan stemmed the tide, but two similar tries, both converted, brought up a 35-0 half time score to Garnock.

With the benefit of the wind, it was hoped Annan might be able to feature more as an attacking force in the second half, but it was not to be. Normal service was soon resumed, and four further tries, all converted, made it 63-0 with some ten minutes to go. There was no further scoring. The muddy pitch and wet ball eventually proving too much even for the visitors.

One felt sorry for the Annan backs, some of whom should be learning their trade in an U18 side, instead of facing a group of backs who would have brought joy to the Annan coaches if they were available for selection for Annan 1sts.

Late call offs saw the Harrisons at half back, rusty but combative, while up front Billy Henderson and Neil Halliday led by example. One bright gleam in the gloom was the appearance of Jonathan Crombie at prop. Once fit he will add to the pool of 1st XV props. A little bit of history has been made this season for the Annan club as Saturday saw two fathers and sons play together for the second week in succession. With Willie & Jamie Harrison along with Neil and Adam Halliday taking the field.

Annan 2nd XV: J. Crombie, G. Brown, D. Ryan, I. Blair, I. Thorburn, C. Nicholson, W. Henderson, N. Halliday, W. Harrison, J. Harrison, C. Patterson, A. Halliday, W. Gray, M. Mannall, R. Schoolar. Subs N. Bell, A. Yates, S. Broach.

ANNAN 15 v HELENSBURGH 8
3RD OCTOBER 2009

Match Photos

With Helenburgh caught up in a traffic incident on the M74 and their coach driver somewhat geographically challenged this Scottish Reserve League West 1 fixture kicked off over half an hour late. Both teams, at the bottom end of the division, provided an entertaining game, albeit strewn with errors. Both teams were a mixture of age, experience and youth and with the balance of age falling to the forwards most of the play in the early stages was played through them. The first 20 minutes of the game was played between the 22s as both sets of forwards tried to gain the upper hand and it was the home team who broke the stalemate when No 8 Billy Henderson broke from the back of the scrum and managed to break through the visitor’s cover defenses and when tackled managed to flip the ball out of the tackle to wing forward Neil Bell who sprinted the remaining 15 metres to score between the posts. Stand off Jamie Harrison slotted the conversion to take Annan into a 7 point lead. It was Jamie who added to the home sides total when he added a further 3 points to Annan’s total when they were awarded a penalty for a Helensburgh indiscretion at a ruck to take the half time score to Annan 10 Helensburgh 0.

In the second half the visitors upped their game and had the home side defending their line for long periods, but it was Annan who were to get on the scoreboard first in the half when from an attacking platform in the visitor’s 22 a speculative kick through the Helensburgh defenses caused a defensive mixup behind the try line. As the Helensburgh full back tried to flyhack the ball over the dead ball line he missed the ball completely and hooker Ally Jackson was alert to the situation and dived on the loose ball to score. The try was unconverted to take Annan into a 15 point to 0 lead.

In the final ten minutes of the match the visitors, determined to get something out of the match, threw everything at Annan and were rewarded, firstly with a penalty and in the dying seconds of the match a try, unconverted to take the final score to Annan 15 Helensburgh 8.

All in all an enjoyable match for the band of home supporters who turned out in the sunshine and rain to watch.

KILMARNOCK 60 V ANNAN 7
19TH SEPTEMBER 2009

Annan arrived at Bellsland with 14 players in this fixture in the Scottish Reserve League West 1 but Kilmarnock supplied one of their subs to make the side even in numbers in. The spirit of rugby is alive and well at Bellsland. Annan started slowly, too slowly, for what was a more than proficient home side. Annan, with a relatively experienced and strong pack but inexperienced back line, started by trying to play the home side at their game but the visitors were too loose and went behind by three scores before they tightened up their game and found more shape and edge to their game.

Annan were two tries down in 5 minutes, three tries in 20 minutes and lost a further score just before half time to take the score at the break to 22 – 0 despite their hosts being reduced to 14 men when their No 8 was red carded for some illegal footwork in a ruck – definitely not within the spirit of the game!

In the second half the home side upper their game another gear and although Annan responded with a re-arranged back line Kilmarnock scored again within 5 minutes of the restart. With Annan reduced to 14 men due to an injury the game became looser allowing the Kilmarnock backs the space to exploit their ample possession. Scores came with regular monotony and another 38 points were scored before the end of the game with the last score within the last minute. Annan’s solitary try came midway through the second half with the ball being worked through several phases involving backs and forwards which was finished off by a concerted drive by the forwards over the line with the score being credited to the player kindly supplied by the hosts! The conversion was added by No 8 Neil Halliday.

ANNAN 14 v IRVINE 14
5TH SEPTEMBER 2009

Match Photos

There was plenty to interest the spectator in this opening game in Annan’s Reserve League Division 1 West last Saturday. How would Annan manage with eleven forwards and only four recognized backs? Would they overcome the handicap of having no recognized scrum half or stand off? Would Irvine put Annan to the sword?

While the 1st XV struggled to make up the numbers due to player unavailability, the 2nds at least benefited from having Paul Carruthers, Michael Carpenter and Graham Smith available, but with the shortage of backs acute, Smith played at stand off – and what a revelation he was – certainly the Annan man of the match.

Irvine were to dominate the possession and territory in this game, but good Annan defence and their own ineptitude inside the Annan 22 kept them at bay until the last minutes. On the other hand Annan, enjoying much less of the ball, and only sporadic forays into the Irvine half, seemed to have the game won.

After Annan had withstood some early pressure, they took the lead on their first visit to the Irvine 22. From a ruck near the line scrum half Liam Ogilvie passed out to Graham Smith, who ran through a hesitant defence to score. He then added to his tally by converting to put Annan 7-0 up. A pattern had developed in the set pieces in which Annan struggled in the scrums, but dominated the lineouts, where Billy Henderson and Michael Carpenter reigned supreme. However it was Irvine who had all the late pressure in the first half. They missed with a penalty attempt, and failed to penetrate either through their forwards or backs.

Much the same pattern continued in the second half, with the visitors again enjoying more possession and territory. The Annan scrum tightened up as the game wore on, but in the sticky conditions there was a period when the game became a comedy of errors, punctuated by injuries – mainly to Irvine players. Around the 60 minute mark Annan again made their presence in the Irvine 22 count. This time a driving maul took them ten metres to the Irvine line, and Neil Halliday got the ball down. Graham Smith then proceeded to convert from the touch line. As the game entered its final five minutes 14-0 looked enough for Annan, but then things went pear shaped. Annan tried to run the ball from defence, lost the ball, and Irvine worked it across field to their left wing who evaded the Annan defence to score in the corner. The conversion was good – despite the fact that Irvine had previously failed with every kick. Almost from the restart Irvine again worked the ball to the left, and the outside centre crashed through mid way between the posts and corner. Yes, the kicker did it again, and his success was followed by the final whistle.

So, Annan disappointed to lose when they had worked so hard to establish a lead and prevent Irvine scoring, and Irvine probably feeling that their greater possession and pressure should have brought them the win.

If Smith was the Annan MoM, he was closely followed by Halliday, who continues to defy the years. An injury to Rae Fulton, playing inside centre, led to re-jigging of the backs in the later stages, which may have contributed to that late Irvine rally.

Annan team: R. Copland; C. Hay, K. Graham, R. Fulton, P. Schoolar; G. Smith, L. Ogilvie (W. Harrison); D. Ryan, P. Carruthers, G. Brown (L. Ogilvie), I. Thorburn, W. Henderson, M. Carpenter, J. Davies, N. Halliday,

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