Match Report from: Coach Andy Render
This was always going to be one of the toughest away assignments for the U16 squad purely around the logistics of the 185 mile travel; and when Oban requested a 12.30 kick off to facilitate pitch availability it was made even harder by requiring a 6.30am departure from Annan on Sunday morning. In this light the fact that Annan put out a full 15 man team and scored 4 tries in a high paced game is encouraging for the future.
Annan arrived in good spirits and in plenty of time to allow the players to get the journey out of their legs and the weather gods were smiling as conditions were much improved from 24 hours earlier.
During the warm up the coaches tried to waken up their charges and ready them for the expected home onslaught from the first whistle. Unfortunately this was unsuccessful and Oban dominated the early exchanges and scored an unconverted try to take the lead. Play continued in this fashion for the next 5 minutes or so with Oban failing to score more points through a combination of last gasp defending and inaccurate handling. Eventually though the dam burst and Oban collected their second try which was converted to go 12-0 ahead.
From the restart Annan at last won some possession and moved up field with continued forward drives and David Templeton carried strongly and showed good awareness to reach over and score close to the posts. Fraser McMillan converted and suddenly Annan were back in the game. Just before halftime Oban scored again as a result of ineffectual Annan tackling with the successful conversion making the interval score 24-7.
The half time talk was around upping the intensity, making tackles and playing as a team rather than individuals and there was immediate success after the restart when John Mackay drove over to score a try. However once again the hosts struck back to restore their lead and the second half was to follow this pattern for its duration.
Annan secured two further tries through Indy Swan and Josh Cairns, both converted, but on both occasions Annan allowed Oban to respond almost immediately as a result of dropping off tackles or individuals running into contact and losing possession. Cairns’ score had brought Annan to within 10 pts of Oban with 10 mins remaining but the long journey started to take its toll and Oban finished the game on top with two unconverted tries to see off their visitors chances.
Full time score: Oban 46 v Annan 26
As has been pointed out in earlier reports, the majority on Annan’s squad this season are U15 and there is going to be road bumps and learning opportunities along the way as they develop more experience and play more games together, and the fact that this fixture was fulfilled is a great testament to the players dedication as well as the parents who assisted with travel or got their child out of bed at 6am on a Sunday.
However if they are to improve the lads must work on their tackling technique and work as a team in following the coaches’ game plan rather than ploughing their own furrows. Best on the day for Annan was David Templeton who worked hard throughout the game and took his score well.
No game on the 22nd but Annan welcome undefeated Waysiders/Drumpellier to Violetbank on the 29th of Sept for their next challenge.
Team: J Cairns,J Mackay, I Swan, D Templeton, E Hepburn, M Coupland, J Glendinning, A Render (C), L Stevenson, F McMillan, J Mitchell, E Watson, B Latimer, C Stainthorpe, R Bell.