Match Report from Coach Paul O’Donnell
Our U14 boys took to the road on Sunday for their first outing of the season in a tournament with Stewartry, Dumfries and Wigtownshire.
The first of 3 20-minute games was against the host side Stewartry. The game got off to a frenetic start with the Annan lads enjoying the lion’s share of possession in the opening minutes, showcasing some strong running in their attack.
However, the Stewartry defence held strong, and their aggressive tackling and counter rucking resulted in a turnover that led to the opening try.
Our boys bounced back almost immediately with a well worked try that saw Lewis Hilton glide through the hosts defence to score our opening try of the season.
Despite the final score the remainder of the game was extremely competitive, the main difference between the sides being the breakdown.
Stewartry were able to create a number of turnovers in the ruck that they used to score their final 3 tries of the game.
Final Score: Annan 5 Stewartry 28
Next up was Tournament favourites Dumfries. The opening exchanges of the game made it look like this would be another competitive match up.
However, once the well drilled Dumfries side were able to breakthrough the Annan defence for their opening try the floodgates seemed to open and the Saints ran away with an impressive 42-0 win.
Last game of the day was against Wigtownshire who were coming off the back of a good win against the host side Stewartry.
Shire started the game strongly; using their size and strong running to break through the Annan defence for the opening try.
But rather than letting their heads drop the boys took the game by the scruff of the neck and went on the offensive.
Learning from their mistakes from the first game the lads were able to recycle the ball quickly at the ruck and work their way deep in to the opposition’s half.
Wigtownshire then gave away a penalty close to their line that was taken quickly by captain Ben Richardson who ran over to score. This try gave the lads the boost they needed and it wasn’t long before they were back in possession and testing Shire’s defence, resulting in another try for Ben Richardson.
With minutes to go in the game it looked as if Annan would be able to hold on for the win and were doing everything they could to keep Wigtownshire from scoring. However, in the last play of the game Shire’s pressure paid off as they crossed the line to square things up.
Final Result: Annan 12 Wigtownshire 12.
All in all this was a great first run out for our boys. For a number of our players this was their first experience of 15-a-side Rugby on a full pitch and no-one looked out of place.
In the forwards young guns Archie Nicholson and Mason Wield put in impressive performances and relished in the increased physicality and intensity of U14 Rugby.
In the backs half back pairing of Rocky O’Donnell and Ben Richardson linked up well and were able to build a good platform for our attack.
However, the star performers of the day were our centre pairing of McKinley Power and Lewis Hilton who impressed with their tenacity and aggression in attack and defence.
Great start to the season lads, looking forward to seeing you all continue to develop.
Match photos thanks to Sinead can be found on Facebook
Match was not filmed