13TH APRIL 2024

Match Report from: Duncan Smith

Annan took a giant stride towards achieving what had looked an unlikely escape from relegation with this thumping win over high-flying Oban Lorne at the Everholm last Saturday that lifted them off the bottom of West Division 1

Annan now travel to play the team they leapfrogged in the relegation battle knowing that a win at Strathaven could secure survival.

A few permutations remain that mean the Annan might need a result in their last match away to West 1 Champions and unbeaten so far Ardrossan to avoid the drop.

But to have got themselves into such a position from looking doomed in the depths of winter is a fantastic achievement by coach Juan Phyfer and his players, who ran in six tries. The after-match celebrations were tempered by the broken jaw suffered by key forward Ryan Hetherington.

“We kept the momentum going from the Wigtownshire game but managed more tries which was great,” said Phyfer. “It will be a real blow to lose Ryan for the rest of the season, which seems likely after what was quite a bad fracture, because he has been a stand-out player for us.”

The match was moved to the Everholm again as the wet weather meant Violetbank was not in suitable condition and Annan carried on from where they left off against the Galloway side a week previous as Callum Smith, Aitken Render, Alex Halliday, Andrew Jancey and a Josh Whiteside double as well as five conversions racked up a resounding 40-10 win.

“To put 40 points on a team who had given us a real beating up there earlier in the season was a huge positive. It could have been more,” continued the coach.

“At the moment we look like a team who aren’t going to lose and when we go down in a game, as we did to an early penalty for Oban, it doesn’t affect us and we didn’t look back once we got into the game.

“Something has changed mentality wise. It was outstanding to have four tries before the break. Second half we maybe got a bit ahead of ourselves, they got a try, but we had a word, refocused and blew them away in the last quarter.

“It was an outstanding squad effort from 1-19, roles were fulfilled and responsibilities taken.”

For lock forward Smith it was a second try for the 1st XV around a decade after his first on debut as a 17-year-old.

“Hopefully momentum is on our side and we can get another five points at Strathaven this weekend and maybe even get up to third bottom.

Annan 1st XV: 1 Ryan Glass 2 Murray Forbes 3 Kieron Warrick (C) 4 Callum Smith 5 Callum Taylor 6 Stewart Livingston 7 Sean Haren 8 Ryan Hetherington 9 Josh Whiteside 10 Fraser McMillan 11 James Kirby 12 Alex Halliday 13 Aaron Carmichael 14 Aitken Render 15 Andrew Jancey

Subs used: 16 Ryan Armstrong 17 Eben Le Vin 18 Ben Latimer 19 Johnny Callaghan


Photos thanks to Katie Morrison can be found on Facebook


Individual highlights


For the password email

Annan Rugby Club Badge