Match Report from: Duncan Smith

The remainder of Annan’s season will be taken up with the fight for West Division 1 survival after they were knocked out of the National Shield at the second-round stage by their Ayrshire rivals.

The senior men’s team will now take a break until after the Six Nations before resuming their league campaign with an away trip to league leaders Ardrossan in a rescheduled game on 23 March.

Sitting bottom of the table in the league the trip to Cumnock offered a bit of respite from the slog of striving to avoid relegation but despite some spirited effort that reached heights of excellence in the first part of the game, the side who sit five places above them in West Division 1 proved too strong in the end.

“It wasn’t so much a game of two halves as one of the first 60 and then last 20 minutes,” said Annan coach Juan Phyfer.

“It was 20-18 to Cumnock at half-time after we had thrown an intercept pass. Going in at half-time 18-13 up could have been a game changer for us.

“The first half was some of the best rugby I’ve seen us play in terms of structure and speed. We were phenomenal.”

Annan have often struggled on artificial surfaces but on Saturday scored two well-worked tries that were finished off by skipper Kieran Warrick and Ryan Hetherington, with Josh Whiteside adding a conversion and two penalties.

Cumnock profited from some fortunate bounces from speculative kicks through in the closing quarter to finish with a winning margin the visitors were entitled to feel hard done by.

Full Time: Cumnock 43 v Annan 18

“We outplayed them for most of the game but those last 20 minutes killed us,” added Phyfer. “It’s now a case of focusing on the league for the rest of the season.

“The way we played in the first half was great to see. Ryan Hetherington was a standout at No 8, scrum went down a few times and he was up and away before you knew it. A charge down, four turnovers, a try but also unfortunately a bit of a calf injury and he had to come off.

“Our half backs, Fraser McMillan at scrum-half and Josh controlling the game at 10 and our captain Kieran was excellent again but it was a good team performance. It’s the unluckiest we’ve been to lose this season.”

1st XV starting team: 1 Ryan Glass 2 Sean Haren 3 Keiran Warrick 4 Fraser Hope 5 James Morrison 6 Murdo Bruton 7 Callum Smith 8 Ryan Hetherington 9 Fraser McMillan 10 Josh Whiteside 11 James Kirby 12 Alex Halliday 13 Aaron Carmichael 14 Ben Latimer 15 Andrew Jancey

1st XV subs: 16 Murray Forbes 17 John Glendinning 18 Callum Taylor 19 Stewart Livingston


Photos thanks to  Katie Morrison can be found on Facebook


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