This reporter was searching for a suitable quote to kick off this week’s report after a hard fought match down at Violetbank, Annan, when out of the mouth of our hooker came the words “it’s all in the passing” and so it was.
After a deluge during the warm up the ground was slippery, as was the ball, and despite a troublesome wind both sides came out determined to play rugby and so it proved.
From the kick off Annan put real pressure on the ball receiver and were awarded a penalty at the resultant breakdown, although this was missed it demonstrated to all watching what Annan were going to do. They competed for everything and moved the ball through their 10 to bring their strong centres into play. Despite conceding another penalty, converted this time, to go 0-3 down after 8 minutes, Accies defence stood up well to this early onslaught.
The Accies pack now started to assert themselves on the game and the resultant increase in possession gave the backs the opportunity to produce some really good handling (it’s all in the passing) and from one of these moves they nearly produced the first try for Nifty, but he was pulled up short. However we put serious pressure on the resultant lineout forcing their hooker to through in squint. Captain Walker decided on another lineout. It was now our throw in and our hooker sent it long into the willing hands off Richie who does not need to be asked twice to run for the line, and promptly bulldozed through three tacklers to score. In difficult conditions for kickers this conversion was missed so 5-3 it was.
Accies were now playing some really good rugby in the difficult conditions, but it has to be said that some of the backs might think about changing their football slippers for serious rugby boots as several chances went begging as players slipped as they tried to side step and ended up on their a***s on the ground.
All this good work however did resulted in a penalty which was duly converted by Loomsey, who was having another good day at the helm 8-3 with 23 minutes gone. Annan were still very much in this game and were trying everything to break down the Accies defence but this was not going to be broken. From a beautiful piece of defensive work by the ever active Cal Dal, our very own motor machine, the ball was moved to Loomsey who used the wind to put the ball deep into the Annan 22 from well inside our half. This obviously gave the forwards a real lift and we followed this with some serious pressure on the Annan line. The backs were passing the ball swiftly from side to side and when the movement was stopped by good defensive work our forwards were on hand to drive it on. From one of these moves the ball was move from a lineout on the far side of the pitch to the five metre line on the other recycled ball was then moved back to the far side, where Hem drew a defender and delivered a perfect, soft pass, to the supporting back and then ran a superb loop to collect the return pass and score in the corner, what a great score. From wide out it seemed that Loomsey had worked out the wind and duly produced the kick of the match to give the boys a 15-3 lead with 6 minutes of a pulsating first half.
Half time 15-3.
Accies were now playing against the wind and Annan’s stand off, who controlled their game very well throughout, put Accies under pressure with kicks into our 22, and from a resultant error at a breakdown put another 3 points on the board for Annan. 15-6
Accies came straight back up the park and a minute later Loomsey slotted his third kick of the match to make it 6-18. Our pack were now in control and this was possibly best demonstrated when off a tap down from a line out the ball was passed to Dave Calder who sold the best dummy of the day to take the ball forward another 10 yards. The ball was being moved from side to side through backs and forwards and when Accies got a turnover ball 15 metres out from the Anna line it went through three quick hands (all forwards) and a final pass was made by Richie to Brad who ran a superb line to score under the posts, which was duly converted. 25-6
Annan were trying to use the wind to take the game into Accies 22 but good work by all the back 3 meant that these kicks were being returned up the park either in the hand or by some very good kicking. From one of these returns up field our Mr Cowan chased and harried their defenders and managed to kick the ball clear and there was never any doubt that he would be first to the loose ball and score under the posts. This was Loomsey’s 5th and final kick was again successful. 32-6
A final flourish from this tenacious Annan side saw a mix up in our back division exploited by who else but their number 10 who scored under the posts and converted his own try. This was the final score of the match to give a pleasing score line of 32-13, giving Accies a bonus point win and a happy coach who knows how hard it is to come down to Dumfriesshire and win.
MOTM:- From the touchline the feelings were that all 15 players had put in another good shift, Kris and shown that he can play anywhere, Michael had led and controlled his side superbly, and Fraser had demonstrated his ability to play at centre or wing. But for his outstanding performance all afternoon in the tight and loose and his “it’s all in the passing,” this weeks motm is Jason (the bunny) Curry.
REF WATCH:- Mr Gilchrist had a difficult game to referee today. Windy and wet and both sides determined to move the ball around the paddock and keep him on his toes. He disappeared at half time and both sides were standing ready to start the second half with no ref, but it was obviously a blood injury as Dougie returned with bandaged knee, hope it wasn’t too serious. It did not seem to impair his movement and it was generally felt he had a solid game and let it flow when he could, despite the conditions: so a good 8 out of 10.
Accies now have 6 home games and the players are working hard to bring attractive winning rugby to New Anniesland and they really do appreciate your support. Next week is the quarter finals of the shield competition and we are hosts to Newton Stewart. Let’s hope for a dry day and we can all enjoy a day out at NA. I should also point out that it is a 1.30pm kick off as we require the 30 minutes if extra time is required.