Final score flatters 1st XV but five points gained
EK 1s collected the full five points against Annan on Saturday in what was a pretty flat performance. We will be kind and say there was a good deal of rust to discard
Alasdair Offin, your usual match reporter, is a lucky fellow. He escaped to the Melrose Sevens leaving me with the dubious task of doing the EK match report. The delay in providing any comment is due to problems with my laptop, not the wish to avoid thinking about the match again.
A look at the Annan website before the match provided some interesting background. I can't recall (m)any exciting matches between the two sides, a fact born out by the news that we have played each other 19 times (if we include Saturday's match) since 1991/92. EK have won 11, lost 6 & drawn 2. Of those 6 losses, 3 were in EK (two in the Shield). Matches have generally been tight, tense affairs. No change on Saturday.
As I still don't have my laptop, I will be brief. Annan looked and played like a team, seemed to know how they were going to play and had some good phases. EK did not play well - lots of effort but poor option taking, tactics and execution meant it was pretty thin fare for the home support. Injuries to EK players clearly did not help either.
Some of the supporters might wish to argue the referee was to blame but he did not influence our poor line out display, awful passing (thankfully some of Annan's passing was equally poor), missed tackles & general lack of cohesion. There was a referee spotter present - he was beside me throughout - so the home support can be assured that he will feed back to the ref his thoughts on the ref's performance.
Sodan Stott scored from a quick tap penalty after four minutes, following a typical Shankie power breenge, with SS converting. Stand off Murray went off injured two minutes later, replaced by Proctor. A Shankie tackle saved a try almost immediately but Annan's stand off, Barnes, who had a good game despite missing two penalties, kicked a three pointer to narrow the gap.
EK winger Craig Ferguson intercepted about 40 metres out from the Annan line but was unable to reach the whitewash. Thereafter, nothing much happened in the half - much huffing & puffing - & disappointingly Shankie went off with a knock to his knee. Supporters' summary of the EK half was three out of ten.
Annan scored a converted try three minutes after the restart, following good passing & running. EK looked unable to respond while the EK support seemed to want to blame it ALL on the ref. My only comment on the ref is he needs to improve the speed
of his signalling of decisions - too often no one knew which team had offended, or why.
Annan's 10 kicked another penalty to make it 7-13 for the visitors. EK's Porter nearly got over the Annan line but was just bundled into touch. EK hearts then settled down a bit following a clever kick through by Ellison which allowed Brown to claim the try. Roddy Beaton kicked a tremendous conversion. 14-13 for EK after 57 minutes.
Beaton kicked a penalty shortly after to stretch the lead to 17-13. Not much happened after that for a while, until super sub Chris Quinn came on with his go faster haircut. He inspired Paul Rosie to blast over from 25 metres, from an EK line out, with defenders almost running in the opposite direction. That said, they had tackled him pretty well all day. Beaton converted again. 24-13.
This was quickly followed by a magnificent 10 metre break by Quinny - possibly auditioning for right winger - after another Ellison chip. A guddle kick followed which was well followed up by young Ben McLean who, I believe, notched his first try for the 1st XV. I say believe as no one seems to be keeping match statistics - have you sorted this out yet, Mr Broon?
Beaton's conversion made it 31-13 at the close, with the try bonus rather mysteriously also gathered. Annan had a good deal of the play but could not take advantage.
Man of the Match - hmm. Not easy. Shankie, Ellison and particularly Beaton all contributed at various times. Brown, our usual strikeman, never really got the ball in space, although he did try to create some. So my vote goes to Paul Rosie, although he might ask Shankie for some tips on No 8 play!!
Next week - let's hope we have shaken off much of the rust, as league leaders Carrick come visiting. EK will need to improve considerably if they wish to pose a challenge. Kick off 3pm, All support welcome.