Match Report from: Coach Andy Render
After a couple of fallow weekends Annan U16 lads returned to action with an away fixture at Ardrossan and travelled full of optimism with a strong squad of 17 and some good recent training sessions.
Upon arrival ready for a 2pm kick off it turned out that due to some earlier travel problems the kick off for the ladies game had been delayed meaning that the main pitch was not available and the heavy rain on Sunday morning had left the spare pitches unplayable. This necessitated a delayed kick off to 2.30 and the Annan lads had to adjust their pre-game routines.
Matters developed further when it transpired that the home team only had 11 players due to late call offs and this resulted in the game being forfeited and a Development Game was played with the league points going to Annan.
The game was played over 3 periods of 20 mins with Annan lending 3 different players to Accies in each spell. Annan started well and soon got on the scoreboard from a powerful solo run by flanker Callum Kirk which was converted by Fraser McMillan. From this score Annan appeared to relax and become more individual in their playing style, with little cohesion or following of the game plan. However they were able to add to the score following a superb individual try from centre Ruaraidh Bell who chipped over the defence, regathered ahead of the home full back and then outstripped the cover to score in the corner. The conversion was unsuccessful and ended the first period.
At the first break Annan’s coaches urged the players to revert to plan and work harder to make breakdowns but the following 20 mins was some of the poorest play produced by this team so far this season. One out runners were quickly turned over and the defensive coordination fell to pieces with missed tackles or infringements for high tackles. During the second spell Accies scored 4 good tries and a conversion to turn the game on its head.
Further changes were made at the next break and strong words spoken to the Annan team. There did appear to be a small improvement in effort and application in the final session although Ardrossan were able to score 2 more converted tries before Bell scored his second of the day with a long run into the corner which could not be converted. This brought the game to an end and a ‘score’ of Ardrossan 36 Annan 17.
This was a long way short of the standard this squad can play at (as was shown in the first league game at Greenock) and the players need to come together and play to their game plan rather than as individuals as well as improving their defence mindset and workrate.
Credit is due to the 9 players who played with Ardrossan without any complaint and showed good appetite for the game. There were some decent individual efforts from some of the Annan players; James Plumstead is developing into a hard working forward and Roo Bell took his scores well but most consistent on the day in attack and defence was Euan Watson. Also recognition for Deacon Henderson who made his debut at this age grade and showed up well.
Due to the October holidays the league takes a couple of weeks off so Annan’s next game is at home to Dalziel on 27 October. All lads are encouraged to make training as much as possible over the coming weeks to work on their game and get the season back on track. Training continues on Tuesday at Violetbank but parents should note that for the next few weeks it is likely to be 6-7pm (early finish).
Squad (all played min of 2 spells with Annan and all played all 3 spells): Callum Kirk, John Mackay, Indy Swan, James Plumstead, Elliott Hepburn, Jamie Arthur, Josh Cairns, Aitken Render, Ben Latimer, Fraser McMillan, Jake Mitchell, Euan Watson, Ruaraidh Bell, John Glendinning, Lex Stevenson, Curran Stainthorpe, Deacon Henderson.