Scottish 2XV League – Division 4 (West)
Dumfries RFC 2nd XV – 22 Annan RFC 2nd XV – 23
Last weekend on an autumn day, perfect for rugby, the second fifteen welcomed their near neighbours Annan to Park Farm for the first of the eagerly anticipated local derbies between the two teams. Annan arrived with a big playing pool made up of good youngsters bolstered by a significant number of older heads who brought guile and experience. With the home team fielding a similar type of side the omens were good for a fast open game of rugby and so it turned out.
The home team played with the breeze in the first half and took the game to their opponents but neither side gained any real ascendancy. About the 10 minute mark good work between backs and forwards saw the highly impressive Grant Drennan cross the line for the opening score which Hawthorn duly converted. A further ten minutes of “middle of the field rugby” ensued before the deadlock was broken when Annan scored. The resultant kick was missed leaving the home team desperately holding on to a precarious lead. Just after the half hour mark Annan scored a further unconverted try to go in front at 7-10 which they maintained until half time.
After the break the Dumfries side took the initiative and with some excellent combined driving play and good handling created the overlap for Martin Smith to score in the corner, Hawthorn narrowly missed the difficult conversion and the seconds were holding a slim 12-10 lead.
Playing into the freshening breeze the seconds conceded a penalty which was converted. When Annan scored a further two tries, neither of which they converted, this made the score12-23 leaving the home team facing an uphill battle to get back into the match.
With the minutes ticking away the home team took a vital strike against the head. John McAndrew drew in his marker before giving his version of a “Toony Flip” to young Graeme Minty who sprinted from his own half to score under the posts. The resulting conversion was charged down but the try gave the home side renewed hope. Minutes later Calum Ferguson nicked yet another scrum against the head. Again McAndrew broke on the blind side, drew his man before feeding the ever eager Minty who scampered home from some 60 yards. Again the kick was unsuccessful coming back of the right hand post.
No side came with the sides battling it out in mid field and Annan edging a thriller 22-23. On the run of play this was a fair result but the seconds know this was a game that they could have won if they had converted their chances and nailed some crucial tackles. That said this was a much improved performance which augers well for the rest of the campaign.
Team: Little; Smith; Drennan; Burgess; Carson; Hawthorn; Minty; Kerr; Ferguson; Sloan; Greene; Blower; Macrae; Paul; and McAndrew (captain). Replacements: Allan; Bogie; Harkness and Bo.