1ST ROUND V KINROSS
Annan progressed to the 2nd round of the BT Bowl by beating a lively, determined Kinross side at King George V playing fields. There may be 5 divisions between the two teams but there were times on Saturday when one would have been hard pushed to decide which team plied their trade in which league.
This game was played in the gathering gloom except that the gloom had already gathered at 1.30pm for the kick off and if Kinross had not had floodlights it is doubtful if the game could have been played at all. The gloom was augmented with cold, driving rain and an extremely heavy ground. In the opening seconds it looked as if Annan were going to score directly from the drop out when the home forwards fumbled and the ball was hacked on with the two visiting centres winning the race to the line but neither were able to control the ball and the chance was lost.
This incident seemed to set the scene for Annan’s day as they struggled not so much against their opposition but against a series of self inflicted mishaps in handling and poor decision making. After the initial flurries of activity by both sides the visitors began to exert pressure on the Kinross line and from a series of driving mauls and rucks the backs were released and in a sweeping move left winger Michael Anderson scored in the corner. Stand off Niall Smith converted from wide out to give Annan a 7 point lead.
Annan added to their score in a rerun of the first try when the forwards provided quality for their backs and this time full back Michael Rennie coming into the line at pace provided the space for right winger Stuart Williamson to score an unconverted try. For the remainder of the half Annan, in particular the forwards, looked lacklustre and allowed the home side back into the game. Annan’s defensive game stood up to the home onslaught and kept Kinross from crossing the line but the home side were rewarded for their efforts when they converted one of their three penalties awards to take the half time score to Kinross 3 Annan 12.
At the restart the home side were again awarded a penalty when the Annan forwards handled in a ruck and Annan’s lead was cut to 6 points. Annan hit back minutes later when from a scrum on the 5 metre line No 8 Stuart Clanachan picked up at the base of the scrum and drove over to score with Niall Smith adding the conversion. Whilst never stamping any real authority on the game the visiting forwards ruled the lineouts with the home side only winning one during the whole game. From one 5 metres from the Kinross line Annan disrupted the throw and with the ball loose prop Colin Warrick was on hand to scoop the ball up and drive over the line to score to take Annan into a comfortable 24 – 6 lead.
Kinross were not to be outdone and from a scrum in the visiting 22 their scrum half darted up the blind side to score untouched by an Annan hand. Annan’s response was immediate and from a scrum No 8 Stuart Clanachan again picked up and was driven over to score his second try of the game which was converted by Niall Smith to take the final score to Kinross 11 Annan 31.
This was not one of Annan’s finer displays but one cannot take anything away from Kinross who played well above their league status. With Annan the highest placed team in the Bowl competition they are going to have to get used to teams upping their game against them and avoid the potential banana skins, which are waiting for them.
Annan Team: C. Warrick, P. Carruthers, P. O’Donnell (G. Wyllie), J. Nelson, G. Smith (M. Newton), A. Renwick, N. Moffat (C. Moffat), B. Graham, N. Smith, A. Render, A. Eggleton, S. Williamson, M. Anderson, M. Rennie.