CUMNOCK hosted Annan at Broomfield on Saturday for a top of the table clash with two records on the line.

On what was a big day in the clubs season, Cumnock were delighted to announce new sponsors Unison.

Cumnock were without talismanic captain Jamie Thomson for the afternoon but there was another clan member, Martin Thomson, taking over the captain’s armband for the very first time.

Annan started on the front foot and managed to string a few phases of attack together. Annan turned their nose up at a penalty in favour of a line-out deep in the Cumnock half. It was a decision which would be regretted as Cumnock weathered the early storm well to deny Annan their chance to get on the scoreboard.

Cumnock had another scoring opportunity after player coach Gordon Laurie broke through the gaping hole in the ruck defence and after a sneaky dummy was pulled down just short of the line. He managed to get the ball away to Scott McCall running in support who managed to get it over the line but was deemed to have been held up by the referee. The home support was calling for the penalty try after the referee deemed that McCall had been tackled before receiving the pass from Laurie but the referee was happy to let Annan off with just the penalty. Jack Reilly put the ball over for the short range effort just to the side of the posts and Cumnock took first blood in this war of attrition.

Annan were next to open their scoring account after a recovering a chip in behind the Cumnock defensive line. The visitors did well to keep the ball alive with some good interplay which the finished with a try in the far corner. The two teams saw out the second half with some valiant defending from both sides.

The second half started well for Cumnock and after winning an early penalty they took the lead through the boot of Jack Reilly.

Annan had another attack shortly after through the driving maul which was deemed to be brought down by Cumnock just short of their try line but as the referee called advantage an Annan forward wriggled through the defensive line ball in hand to dive over for a short range effort. Annan missed the resulting conversion to leave the gap at a mere four points.

A clever kick from Jack Reilly managed to give Cumnock field position deep in the Annan half as chasers Robbie McLaren and Martin Thomson piled on the pressure which resulted in an Annan knock on. Cumnock had the put in at the scrum five yards from the Annan line but after some good defending and numerous runs at the line, Annan emerged with the ball from the back of the ruck. It was the heroics of Stephen Stewart who put pressure on the Annan number ten to force him to deck behind his own try line which give Cumnock another chance at the scrum.

Cumnock didn’t make the same mistake twice and after a huge drive which inched them ever closer to the line, Gordon Laurie picked up at the back to dot over as the Annan pack had their heads down trying to soak up the pressure. Cumnock drew ahead once more with the score but Jack Reilly missed the resulting conversion on the far touch line.

Annan moved back into the lead in the 70th minute with a penalty of their own from a Cumnock high tackle. It set up a grandstand finish with only two points in the game. Annan had a chance to finish the game off but a knock on from the second row let Cumnock off the hook. They took their chance not long after with a try on the far right touchline but the missed conversion meant that with only seven points in the game Cumnock were still in the losing bonus point range and managed to hold out for the remainder of the game without conceding any more points.

Player-Coach Gordon Laurie was very positive about his team’s performance after the game, “It was a great team effort today and we came really close to pulling off a big upset against the unbeaten league favourites. We have a few injury concerns but hopefully we can take a strong squad to Clydebank next week”.