Match Report from: Coach Andy Render
Full contact rugby returned to Violetbank on Wednesday night as the U16 boys team welcomed their counterparts from Stewartry.
The two squads had met in a game of touch at the end of May and appeared well matched so there was expectation of a good contest.
The weather was much kinder than it had been for the touch game although there was a strong cross wind which made handling and communication difficult.
Annan started well and put pressure on their opponents but initially errors and understandable lack of full contact game play kept the game scoreless, but eventually direct running by Annan’s forwards led to a try by hooker Indy Swan.
The flow of the game swung up and down the pitch with both teams having periods of pressure but it seemed that Annan were that bit more clinical in finishing off their attacks and they scored 4 more first half tries through Lex Stevenson, Adam Hamilton, Elliott Hepburn and a 2nd for Swan whilst Stewartry collected two good tries. Stand off Fraser McMillan converted 4 of Annan tries and the halftime score was 33-10 to the hosts.
The coach’s chat at half time was around encouraging Annan to be a bit more expansive and try to put into practice the handling work they have worked on in training and to keep the pressure on in defence.
In the second half Annan continued to pressurize their visitor’s line and although never fully displaying attacking fluency ran in 3 more scores with Hamilton, Stevenson collecting their doubles and McMillan adding a final try. (with one conversion).
Stewartry finished camped on Annan’s line but grim defiance by Annan held them out and celebrated a win.
The scoreline is harsh on Stewartry as they contributed fully to a hard fought game – the rucks and scrums especially were very even and but for an odd bounce of the ball here and a missed tackle there the scoreline would have been closer.
Annan move on now to a trip to Stranraer to take on Wigtownshire on Sunday with a game also planned vs Dumfries next week (tbc).
Thanks as ever are due to the visiting players, coaches and families for travelling through midweek; to referee Colin Warrick, to all the helpers in the Grubber and all parents who helped and supported on the night.
Team: W Alexander, I Swan,A Shepherd, M Watret, E Hepburn, R Armstrong, A Render, A Hamilton, L Stevenson, F McMillan, J Glendinning, E Watson, F Court, L Smith, C Kirk.
Replacements (all used): R Bell, C Brown, A Gray
Coach’s Player of the Match – L Stevenson
The winning U16 Team