Match Report from: GARY “TAG” COUPLAND
On a glorious sunny Saturday 14th May, Annan 1st XV welcomed Kilmarnock 1st XV for their final league game of the 2021/22 season in Tennent’s West Regional Division 1.
Players from Annan’s mini/micro section provided a guard off honour for both teams entry onto the pitch. They were also preceded by young Danny Bell who plays for the Clubs U14 team. Danny and friends having walked from Dumfries Rugby Club to Violetbank, prior to the match, a distance of around 20 miles, to raise over £500 for the Papyrus Mental Health charity and there could not be a more fitting close to mental health week. Well done to Danny and all who walked or assisted him in this effort.
In terms of the game it turned out to be fairly entertaining considering both teams were 4th and 5th in the league respectively and it was the final match in what turned out to be a very long season, primarily caused by the impact of Covid, with Kilmarnock winning the try count by 5-3.
Annan brought the season to a close with three excellent first half tries, the first two from long range where some excellent work and interchanges by the forwards released birthday boy Aaron Carmichael, to run in and score under the posts for both. Both being converted by James Bigham. The final try was a typical forwards try, with number 8 Ollie Ferdinand who had been involved in the initial stages of the previous two, crashing over to score near to the posts with Bigham again adding the conversion.
However those proved to be the only bright spots of the afternoon apart from the sun, with Annan’s old failings of giving the opposition too much space, poor tackle attempts, decision making and inconsistency in handling, being ruthlessly exploited by Kilmarnock who ran out worthy winners in the end.
Best for Annan on the day were Captain Jancey and Carmichael in the backs, with the the back row of Houldey, Gray and Ferdinand and lock Thompson being the pick of the forwards. Thompson justifiably being voted the Annan man of the match by the Kilmarnock team.
Special mention also to James Kirby who played his 100th game for the 1st XV on Saturday. Well done.
A disappointing end to Annan’s 15 a side season and hopefully everyone will take the opportunity to have a well earned rest and to reflect on the season, how they approached it, not only as individuals but collectively as a team.
On behalf of the team I would like to thank all those who have supported the club during the season, both home and away, the sponsors and all those volunteers and staff, who do a lot of the unseen work in and around the club which enable the teams to play week in week out. Your efforts are very much appreciated.
1st XV starting XV: R Glass, K Warrick, N Graham, M Thompson, F Hope, W Gray, H Houldey, O Ferdinand, A Carmichael, J Bigham, B Conroy, S Haren (VC), A Jancey (C), E Haley, J Kirby
1st XV subs: A Craik, M Forbes, C Smith, E Campbell (All used)