Match Report from: Colin Warrick
For the last home game in National One the Warriors welcomed league leaders Heriots Blues Ladies to Violetbank, from the previous encounter Annan knew that the opposition played in similar fashion and would need to be on the mark to get anything out of the game.
Straight from the kick off Heriots pressed with the combination of strong running forwards & rangy backs being controlled by Scotland Cap Annabel Sergeant. From this pressure they drove deep into the Annan 22 before the scoring with a well worked try.
Not the best start to the game for the Warriors and this was to continue with Heriots scoring a further 2 tries within the 1st 15 minutes the cause not being helped for Annan with Megan Alexander picking up an ankle injury during the build up to the 3rd try causing her to have to leave the field meaning Annan played out the remainder of the game with only 14 players.
But as is the Warriors way the players stuck to the task and worked hard to get a foothold in the game, throwing their bodies headlong into tackle after tackle and when given the opportunity not holding back when they had possession of the ball.
For long periods Heriots retained possession with Annan’s defence thoroughly examined with back row Lily Glendinning, Kayleigh Warrick & normally fullback but flanker for the day Kim Taylor leading the line with tackles aligned with the linespeed from the Warriors backline causing mistakes in the opposition attack. Like in defence when in attack all the players stepped up with forwards, Nadine Barnes, Julie Dalgliesh & Megan Muir carrying hard with scrum half Nicole Barlow driving the team forward feeding the backs with winger Bethany Lowery making good ground out wide.
Annan managed to hold out again until almost half time but Heriots gained their bonus point try just before half time before scoring a 5th on the half time whistle.
Half time score: Annan Warriors 0 v Heriots Blues Ladies 31
The 2nd half kicked off with Annan still determined to work hard to defend as they had done &also to trouble the scoreboard in Annan favour.
The Warriors started the half well recycling the ball time after time moving it wide testing the Heriots defence with their all round game but it was Heriots who troubled the scoreboard once again turning over the Annan attack to break away scoring a try from distance.
Not to be out done continued their good work and following on from good work in attack go the break they deserved with centre Chelsea Barnes bludgeoning her way over the line for a well deserved individual & team try.
Going into the last 10 minutes the Warriors began to understandably tire having worked so hard with only 14 players and Heriots scored a further two tries just before the final whistle.
Final score: Annan Warriors 5 v Heriots Blues Ladies 52
Not the finish to the league season at home the Warriors wanted but unfortunately due to injury & unavailability the squad was somewhat weaker than normal, not that any of the Warriors would ever use that as an excuse.
Each player gave their all and certainly showed the never give up attitude that has grown within the squad over the last while against what would be described as the best team in the league.
It would be unfair to single out many players but mention to wingers Jen McGregor & Bethany Lowery who played their 1st full 80 minutes in Warriors colours.
Forward of the match went to Kim Taylor who played away from her normal position of fullback but tackled her blood to water.
Back of the match went to Captain Nicole Barlow who led the team from the front & also ran herself to a standstill in both attack & defence.
Annan team: J Dalgliesh, A McWilliam, M Alexander, N Barnes, M Muir, K Taylor, L Glendinning, K Warrick, N Barlow ©, M McGeoch, B Lowery, C Barnes, J Stewart, J McGregor, K Barlow