BT West One



STRUGGLING Irvine remain mired in the BT West 1 relegation zone after a heavy defeat to Annan at Marress.

Annan had already won both the sides’ meetings at Violetbank this season – ending Irvine’s hopes of a Shield run to Murrayfield in the process – meaning this result completed a clean sweep for the visitors over the hosts.

Irvine were playing their first game since December 2 and Annan their first since October 8, but any danger of ring-rust was blown away in the opening minutes.

The game was barely five minutes old when Sean Haren crashed over to give touring kicker Cairn Wallace a textbook conversion for a 7-0 lead.

Irvine hit back with an excellent try shortly afterwards, Neil McMillan bursting clear before feeding the supporting Andrew Lang to breeze in, Per Jacobson converting to square the match.

Annan slowly but surely built momentum from there however, and Wallace restored the visitors’ lead from the kicking tee before converting Andrew Jancey’s try five minutes before the break.

It got worse for Irvine shortly after the restart when James Kirby scored to bring up the twenty for Annan, but the home side responded immediately when Craig Stevenson forced his way over after the forwards mauled up to the visitors’ line from a penalty lineout.

Despite their best efforts however, that was to be the last time Irvine would trouble the scorers as it was the tourists who rounded off the scoring, through Haren’s second and further singles from Ryan Hetherington, Alex Halliday and Tom Sloan, Wallace adding two conversions.

Irvine are next due to entertain on-form Carrick, who thrashed Cambuslang 73-10 in Maybole.

IRVINE: Craig Hobson; Paul Paterson, Neil McMillan, Ryan Elliston (captain), John Murdoch; Per Jacobson, Chris Hobson; Kallum McCrae, Craig Stevenson, Ewan Callaghan, Jamie Doolan, Alan Nugent, John Carson, Andrew Lang, Craig Maxwell. Subs: Logan Ferguson, Ruchin Filander, Jonathan Goodlet, Craig Lang.

Meanwhile, it was also a tough day at the office for the 2nd XV, who suffered their first home defeat of the season. Craig Williams scored a try, conversion and penalty in a 46-10 defeat. They are also due to welcome their Carrick counterparts to Marress next.