West Shield First Round



MARYMASS Saturday saw Irvine on a 180-mile round trip to play Annan in the First Round of the West Shield.

It turned into a sad Marymass for the Irvine boys as they ended their interest in this year’s Shield, losing heavily to the hosts.

It was the first home win for Annan in five matches against Irvine.

The Annan stand -off McCann had a stellar day, punishing Irvine’s indiscipline time and again. He firstly scored in three minutes and added three more penalties in 17, 22 and 28 minutes. Irvine’s indiscipline was a feature of the game and must improve for the visit to Allan Glen’s in the first League game next week.

Craig Williams pulled three points back for Irvine five minutes before the half, but, having won a line-out close to their own line, well into time added on, Annan passed their way deep into the Irvine half and winger Jancey finished the try off in the corner. Unsurprisingly, McCann hit the conversion to give the home team a 19 – 3 lead at the half.

Irvine started the second half well and a trademark drive by prop Logan Ferguson was stopped just a metre out, but Robbie McVey picked the ball up from the back of the ruck and dived over for Irvine’s first try. The conversion was missed but in 55 minutes Per Jacobsen, who had taken over the kicking, slotted a fine penalty from wide out. Unfortunately, Irvine then gave away a penalty from the kick-off, which McCann duly slotted.

At this point Irvine’s disciplinary woes brought a halt to the Irvine revival. When Annan’s number eight Harren, tried to stop a quick throw-in, for which he received a yellow card, Neil MacMillan retaliated with a punch to his head and the referee had little alternative but to issue a red card.

Soon after, Irvine was down to 13 as Logan Ferguson was yellow carded for killing the ball, and from the penalty, Annan used their numerical advantage to score in the corner through Torbett. Irvine’s defence firmed up, and after they lost Blair McLaws to injury, the forwards drove deep into Annan’s half. Winning a scrum against the head, the ball was whipped out to Rushin Filander, playing in the centre, to drive through the home defence to score. Jacobsen converted.

Sadly, at this point, Irvine’s numerical disadvantage told and two tries late in the game from Torbett and Jancey gave Annan a 37-18 victory.

Irvine showed willing time and again to fight their way back into the game but kept giving themselves too much to do, and the habit of too many players chirping at the referee has to be curbed.

This week, Irvine are still on their travels while the renovations continue at Marress. The 1st XV start their league campaign in Bishopbriggs at Allan Glen’s while the Seconds, having been promoted to West One, begin their campaign at Glasgow Accies.