Early hits spoil An­nan’s day

Dumfries & Galloway Standard - - SPORT -

Irvine ............... 26 An­nan .............. 20

An­nan trav­elled to take on Irvine who, af­ter a poor start to their sea­son, have now found some form, es­pe­cially at home.

De­spite the se­vere weather warn­ings in place, An­nan ar­rived at Mar­ress to find the pitches in good con­di­tion and no rain.

For the trav­el­ling An­nan sup­port, the match started with a feel­ing of déjà vu as, like the pre­vi­ous week at Allan Glens, An­nan were two scores down in the first 10 min­utes when the well-drilled home for­wards drove over the line from li­ne­outs on the fiveme­tre line.

With one of the tries con­verted, An­nan were 12-0 down in as many min­utes.

It got worse as Irvine in­creased their lead on the 20-minute mark when, from a for­ward surge, they once again crossed the line to score a con­verted try (19-0).

At this point, it looked as if An­nan were on their way to a heavy de­feat, but the vis­i­tors man­aged to steady the boat when, from a surg­ing run by An­nan’s cap­tain No 8 Sean Haren, he set up cen­tre Alex Halliday for a scin­til­lat­ing try be­tween the posts. Stand-off Josh White­side added the con­ver­sion.

Just be­fore half-time An­nan were once again rocked back when the hosts added an­other con­verted try in the cor­ner to take the half time score to Irvine 26 An­nan 7.

What­ever was said in the half time team talk cer­tainly had the de­sired ef­fect as An­nan were a dif­fer­ent team in the sec­ond half.

Irvine rarely threat­ened the An­nan line as the vis­it­ing de­fences held firm.

The home for­wards be­gan to ex­ert some set-piece dom­i­nance and be­gan to sup­ply their backs with some quality ball to launch sev­eral at­tacks.

From a great run down the wing, James Kirby set up Alex Halliday for his sec­ond try as he crashed over in the cor­ner. The con­ver­sion was missed. (26-12).

An­nan con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory and, as Irvine tried to break out of their 22, lock Neal Cou­p­land ripped the ball from an Irvine for­ward and set up Halliday who, with a fair bit of work to do, crossed the white­wash with a cou­ple of home de­fend­ers on his back.

Again, the con­ver­sion was missed. (26-17).

An­nan got within six points of their hosts when Josh White­side landed a penalty award from the 22.

An­nan were now in ram­pant form and in the last min­utes of the game laid siege to the Irvine line and, from their last at­tack, came so close to win­ning the game.

With the home de­fences in some dis­ar­ray, a deft cross kick was launched by cen­tre Adam Tor­bett for winger James Kirby to run onto.

Un­for­tu­nately, from the An­nan per­spec­tive, the ball bounced into touch tan­ta­lis­ingly inches from the hands of the winger.

From the en­su­ing li­ne­out the ball was booted into touch and the game was over.

Once again, this was a game of two halves for An­nan with the first half one they want to for­get.

The for­wards, who strug­gled in the first half be­gan to find some form in the sec­ond in their set piece play. Irvine beat An­nan on Satur­day

The An­nan player of the match has to be cen­tre Alex Halliday who, with his hat-trick of tries on Satur­day, means he is lead­ing 1st XV for this sea­son with eight tries and has scored 97 tries in to­tal in his 1st XV ca­reer in 184 1st XV ap­pear­ances.

Since the 1st XV en­tered the na­tional league sys­tem in 1991, Kevin Jones had scored the most tries on 94 but the tries scored by Alex this sea­son and on Satur­day means he is now the all time 1st XV try scorer since the club started in Glas­gow Dis­trict 2 with 97 tries.

Alis­tair ‘Babe’ Gra­ham is third on 84 tries since 1991 but this does not in­clude the many, many tries scored when An­nan were in the Bor­der Ju­nior League.

An­nan 1st XV squad: R Glass, K War­rick, T Sloan, N Cou­p­land, D Nor­don, D Barnes, C Bell, S Haren (C), J Bigham, J White­side,J Kirby, A Tor­bett, A Halliday, W Gray, A Jancey. Re­place­ments: R Hether­ing­ton (used), S Ni­chol­son, D Robson, M Thor­burn.

Other results: Irvine 2nd XV 65 An­nan 5.

Game

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