Stewartry 13, Annan 3
Stewartry finished their home league programme with a hard-fought win over their local rivals, and avenging a 14-15 last kick of the game defeat earlier in the season at Annan.
Coach David Borland had asked the players for a big effort in their final home league match after the disappointing display at Allan Glen’s the previous week. As well as league points, the Chisholm Cup, played for annually by the two clubs and currently held by Annan, was up for grabs.
With a full clubhouse for pre-match hospitality, there was plenty of support to see Stewartry take an early lead in only six minutes from a Cammy Fenwick penalty. Stewartry continued to use the wind advantage to keep the pressure on the Annan defence. In 15 minutes, good play from Jason Riley, Stevie McCulloch and captain Ian Fenwick gave the forwards the chance to drive hooker Danny Burton over for his first try of the season. Cammy Fenwick added the conversion.
Any thoughts Stewartry may have had of turning round at half-time with a good-sized lead was soon dispelled when a penalty in 20 minutes by Craig McCann just crept over the bar for Annan.
It was going to be a long second half for Stewartry as they set about defending the seven-point lead, and Annan were soon on the attack and making inroads to the Stewartry 22.
From a lineout on the Stewartry 10-metre line, Callum Walker took good possession and Stewartry held onto the ball for a full five minutes, driving and rucking up into the Annan 22 and finishing with a penalty kick into the corner. After winning the lineout, Stewartry knocked on and Annan were able to clear their lines all the way to the Stewartry in-goal area, where Craig Mosey had to look sharp to win the race for the touchdown to stop an Annan score.
In 55 minutes, good play between Ian Fenwick and Jamie Farquhar gave Jason Riley the chance to break through the Annan line. A penalty award on the halfway line saw Jason Riley’s kick going to the outside of the roadside post before it wobbled in the wind and just dropped over the bar for a 13-3 lead.
The Stewartry forwards now had the Annan scrum in all kinds of bother, pushing them back at the set piece, although the Annan forwards seemed to have the upper hand in the individual battles with a draw in the fistacuffs and a pin-fall submission in the other. But the referee decided there was a penalty to Stewartry for offside and the ball was kicked halfway across the second team pitch to end the game for Stewartry to collect their first bit of silverware for four years.
Stewartry last won the Chisholm Cup in 2005 and it was presented to captain on the day Ian Fenwick by Annan president Don Barty.
Stewartry have one final league game to play, on March 3, away at Glasgow Accies.
Stewartry: J Fingland, A Kerr, C Fenwick, J Riley, F Baird, C Mosey, J Farquhar, T Cannon, D Burton, I McMorran, L Henderson, R Porteous, I Fenwick (capt), S Broll, S Hogg, Danny Boyd.