Match Report from: Gus Robertson
The 1st XV took to the Violetbank pitch on Saturday to take on East Kilbride, a team they had not beaten in their last 10 meetings.
It was a glorious sunny day and with both teams known for their fast paced style of rugby, a great game was rugby was expected. And indeed it was.
In the first 15 min of the 1st half it was East Kilbride who were on top and it was only some great defending from the Annan lads that kept the score at 0-0.
Both teams had not played many matches this year (5 in total between them) and at times it did show with numerous knock ons and wrong options taken but it was fairly end to end stuff.
Annan came back into the game and it was no surprise when after numerous phases, a great passing move, with the majority of the backs involved, ended in a try from winger Elliot Haley in the corner. The conversion was missed. 5-0 to Annan.
And that’s how the score remained at half time.
The second half started much like the first half with Annan camped in their own 22 for the first part of the second half but once again the Annan defence held firm and managed to clear their lines.
In fact the Annan lead was extended on the 55 minute as Josh Whiteside popped over a penalty after an East Kilbride infringement.
This however prompted a further period of attacking rugby from the visitors and it was no surprise that East Kilbride managed to get over the whitewash on the 65 minutes and take the came back to one score. 8-5 to Annan.
Annan were lucky it was just a try as they gave away numerous penalties while defending their try-line and a yellow card was probably only 1 more penalty away when East Kilbride scored.
Into the final 15 minutes and the match could have gone either way but Annan started to control the game, especially in the scrums.
From the Annan pressure, 2 more kickable penalties were awarded and Josh stepped up again to put Annan in a commanding 14-5 lead with about 5 minutes to go.
East Kilbride were running the ball from all part of the pitch but in the end could not breach the Annan defence again and it ended 14-5 to Annan.
A great result for the home side that consolidated their 6th spot in the league.
The Annan 1st XV still have 8 matches to play this season (4 away and 4 at home), starting with bottom placed Irvine this Saturday at Violetbank and there is no reason they can’t finish with a flourish and a possible 4th place finish.
Best on the day for Annan was hooker Kieran Warrick who always made ground with the ball in hand and helped with the great pressure in the scrums.
In the backs, the returning Callaghan and Halliday ensured that East Kilbride backs made little ground when they had the ball.
It was a great team performance, maybe a few too many penalties given away while defending and dropped and misplaced passes but all in all a grand day and result at Violetbank.
The players and the supporters then retired to 17 Bank Street to watch the rest of the 6 Nations and it was a most enjoyable evening (bar the Scotland result!)
For the record, when Adam Torbett came on for James Kirby in the 2nd half, it was for his 50th appearance for the 1st XV. Congratulations to Adam.
Annan starting 1st XV: Ryan Glass, Kieron Warrick, Nick Graham, Michael Thompson, Dan Robson, Harry Houldey, Callum Bell, Sean Haren (VC), Aaron Carmichael, James Kirby, Josh Whiteside, Alex Halliday, Jonny Callaghan, Elliot Haley, Andrew Jancey (C)
Annan subs: James Bigham (on for Alex Halliday) , Adam Torbett (on for James Kirby), Zac Lockerbie (on for Callum Bell), Callum Smith (on for Harry Houldey)