Annan 46, Stewartry 8
By 4.10pm on Saturday, Stewartry had had enough.
Seventy minutes into the game and four tries to one down, the Blacks lost a further three tries for Annan to rack up their biggest ever victory in the local derby.
It meant Annan won the Chisholm Cup played for annually between the clubs, and promotion to RBS West Division One at the first time of asking after last year’s surprise relegation.
Stewartry kicked off with the slope and wind advantage as they went about the task of attempting to be the first team to beat the leaders in the league this season. #
Stewartry took the game into the Annan 22 right from the start with McCulloch and Mosey leading the way and when Annan made progress into the Stewartry half, fullback Muir tidied up taking the ball back to the halfway line.
After eight minutes Stewartry missed an early penalty chance which was punished three minutes later when Ali Jackson scored a try in the corner for the home team. The conversion was missed.
The game became a battle between the Stewartry forwards’ strengths and the fast-running Annan backs, whose handling was of a very high standard, taking them into the Blacks’ half after Stewartry were driving the advantage in the scrums.
Stewartry kicked away too much possession as they needed to put points on the board before halftime but the front row were getting the better of the scrums and Cannon, Burton and McMorran were doing more than their share in the loose to drive forward.
In 23 minutes, Blacks centre Boyd was held up over the line but Stewartry kept the pressure on and a scrum five metres out gave captain Ian Fenwick the scoring chance for his 14th try of the season. The conversion was missed.
Just after the half-hour, Annan broke away to score a second unconverted try from Andy Jancey. The Blacks finished the first half putting pressure on the Annan line but could not add to their score with Burton (twice), Cannon and Farquhar all stopped short.
Within four minutes of the second half starting Annan went further when standoff Craig McCann took his chance to add a drop goal, quickly followed by Stewartry’s Cammy Fenwick closing the gap with a penalty.
Annan’s McCann started to dictate play with his passing and kick aheads, and the match sponsors’ man of the match, David Wyllie, took his chance to crash over for a third try.
After another drop goal attempt went wide from McCann, Alex Halliday crashed through the Stewartry defence to score the bonus point fourth try. McCann now found his shooting boots adding the conversion.
Both teams battled back and forth as Stewartry tried to get back into the game but Annan could sense their unbeaten run was secure with victory over their nearest rivals. With 10 minutes to go, a speculative punt into the Stewartry goal area took a wicked bounce away from the Blacks defenders into the arms of Wyllie to score his second try and Annan’s fifth. McCann added the points.
The Stewartry heads went down at this point and even the news that third-placed Lenzie were losing at McLaren could not lift them. Two minutes from time, fullback Kevin Jones at last broke through from a passing move involving all the Annan backs to score the sixth try. McCann added his third conversion.
The final move saw Annan make it lucky seven when replacement Livingston scored the final try for a record 46-8 win against Stewartry.
Shellshocked Stewartry will have to quickly forget this game as the Blacks travel to Strathaven for a first visit against a team they only beat 18-17 at Greenlaw. The final game will be on May 11 at home to Annan as they wait for them playing league catch-up. The Blacks play a tournament in Portugal on May 4.
Stewartry: J Muir, A Kerr, D Boyd, C Fenwick, J Fingland, C Mosey, J Farquhar, T Cannon, D Burton, I McMorran, M Smith, L Henderson, S McCulloch, R Porteous, I Fenwick (captain) S Hogg, C Walker, R Wallace.