Tennent's West One



ASSISTED by a following wind, Annan RFC arrived in Irvine.

The strong wind continued blowing down the pitch towards Bogside. Some spectators discussed the use of a seven iron or a pitching wedge but this was a hard game of rugby played with ‘iron' determination and 100% effort.

Like previous weeks, Irvine forwards applied pressure from the start, threatening the Annan line only to be penalised and relieving the pressure on the visitors.

Annan took this opportunity to be awarded a scrum on the Irvine 22 but regained possession by Irvine forwards allowed the home side to break down the pitch. From a good forward drive on the visitors' goal line Cody Cunningham at No. 8 picked up to cross for his first try.

From the kick-off, Annan made a good break down the wing but were penalised at halfway, allowing Irvine to gain territory into the visitors 22.

From the resulting scrum Cunningham scored his second try which this time was converted by Paul Johnston, making it 12-0.

Irvine continued to use the wind to gain ground and following another maul on the visitors line Logan Ferguson crashed over for his first try for the senior team, which was converted again by Paul Johnston, giving Irvine a 19-0 lead.

This comfortable score did not last as on the half hour, Annan broke through several tackles to score under the posts. This was successfully converted to give the visitors some hope of a turnaround. at 19 -7.

There followed a period of scrums, mauls unsuccessful positional kicks and some ambitious long passes. However the half ended with Sione Halafihi going over from the back of a ruck to score another try converted by Johnston. Turning round with a lead of 26- 7 the Irvine team and supporters were aware that with the wind at their backs, the visitors would be all out to take advantage.

Fifteen minutes later Annan made an excellent break to score an unconverted try. The glaring home problem at this point was a series of missed tackles giving the visitors added confidence to break through.

Following a line out penalty and a maul a clever box kick by the Annan scrum half resulted in another unconverted try in the corner. With the score now at 26 -17 some anxiety set in to the home team.

Gaining possession was effective but retention was poor with inaccurate passing from Irvine under pressure. The pressure increased when Annan successfully converted a penalty giving the team and the spectators a nail-biting final 10 minutes. However the visitors did not succeed although they pressed on the Irvine line for those final 10 minutes. It was a close shave for Irvine but ended in a 26-20 win.