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160911 Weekend Rugby Review for the Whole club.

By Gareth D Kemp

Almost every age band was in action this weekend past, just the girls and the old boys not playing.

“A hard weekend for the club, with defeats in all the competiive games. Plenty to work on for the next games.” Gareth Kemp, Director of Rugby

Hard weekend for Ellon Rugby, saved by a great performance by the Juniors.
With the First XV and whole Youth section losing this weekend, it was left for the Juniors away in Madras to save the weekends rugby.

Saturday saw the First XV buoyed by their win the previous week over Deeside, and with great weather, they went into the game against newly promoted Banff in a confident mood. However Banff came with one thing only in their mind. 5 points.
The game started with both teams testing each other, but an early penalty was kicked by Banff, while Ellon missed their chance 30 seconds later. Ellon then worked the phases and put the ball wide for second row Ellis Swainstone to score. With the conversion by S Cruickshanks, it was 7 – 3. Banff responded with a crash ball under the posts for 7 -10. Swiftly after this a huge kick by Banff was missed by Ellon’s fullback and the bounce fell perfectly for the Banff player sprinting in. Score under the posts for 7 – 17. Two more tries by Banff one either side of half time, as they piled on the pressure, Ellon tried to reset the defence. This gave Banff the bonus point they wanted. With Ellon getting no luck from the ball or any decisions, and a very messy breakdown, there was repeated niggle between both teams. Two more tries to Banff and one to Ellon from Jack Munro, gave a final score of 12 – 45, and a very disappointed Ellon could do nothing more than applauded Banff from the field.
This dropped Ellon from top to third, with Garioch a game in hand just below Ellon. No game this Saturday as Ellon get a bye in the Caledonia Cup due to Stornoway withdrawing. Up next is Garioch away.

The Youth Section were taking on a combined team of Deeside and Aberdeen Wanderers this weekend in the Red Conference. Saturday was the U18 game, while U16 U15 U14 and U13 was Sunday.

The U18 game was a close affair. Ellon Deeside has always been the hottest rivalry in Caledonia at this age band, and today was no difference. It took 15 minutes for the first score, where Nathan Shirron sniped over from the back of a ruck to score, with the conversion missed. Deeside Wanderers responded 5 minutes later but also took the conversion. Ellon responded immeadiatly from a Shirron kick and chased by Ross Grieg who jackled the ball back to offload to Lachlan Bridgeford to reach over and score. Conversion missed for 10 – 7. Deeside wanderers took to identical tries as they took advantage of their big winger. 10 – 17 at half time. Ross Greig started the second half with a score on the left wing, but again the conversion was missed. In a very tense end to the game with the score at 15 – 17. Ellon had a penalty but went for the try, and fell short, they also had an opportunity to score wide, but a missed pass saw a knock on. The final kick of the game came down to a penalty to Ellon. Over and Ellon win, miss and Deeside Wanderers win. The kick grazed the post, on the wrong side, leaving a devastated Ellon squad, who really deserved the win. Outscoring Deeside Wanderers in tries. Some wrong decisions gave them the game. U18 now sit 4th in the league, with all to play for this weekend.

On the Sunday U13 and U14 started the day. The Ellon U13 was a thoroughly entertaining match. The lads did themselves proud and came away with a draw. A great result as the boys had worked hard since last weekend’s game.
The first period of play saw Deeside Wanderers winning the toss and electing to receive the kick off from Ellon to try and put on the pressure from the start, however Ellon used their line speed and quickly gained possession and started their advance into the Deeside Wanderers half. There were many tackles from Deeside as the Ellon boys kept trying to advance towards the try line, however too many knock on's resulted in scrums being awarded to Deeside. Ellon kept the pressure on however just could not get that elusive first try after a tremendous amount of effort Deeside managed to defend their try line. The first period of play ended with no score however it was definitely dominated by Ellon.
The second period started with both teams fairly evenly matched however Deeside started to apply their own pressure and were stronger in the scrums and rucks and six minutes into the period scored their first try by driving hard through the middle and rucking over to put the ball under the posts. It was becoming a tough physical game as Ellon tried to match Deeside crashing ball continuously through the middle however this resulted in a couple of injuries as Sam Douglas went off and then Charlie Skinner received a high tackle which required substitution while he recovered, the Deeside boy was lucky not to be sent off. Deeside then applied a bit more pressure and scored again in the eleventh minute however Ellon fought back but again could not get over the Deeside try line. Second period ended with two converted tries for Deeside.
The Ellon lads started the final period strong again and hungry to get some points on the board and again put the Deeside defence under pressure with strong rucking and retained possession moving the ball around the field and finally in the seventh minute the pressure paid off with Ryan Dickie running in a score on the right wing. Ryan also converted his try. Deeside then took the game right back to Ellon and scored in the eleventh minute to go 3 tries to 1 try ahead, however the Ellon lads were not going to give up and with the restart charged down through the opposition rucking over and keeping possession and moving the ball wide for Ryan Dickie to score again at twelve and half minutes in the period. Buoyed by their belief in themselves Ellon quickly stripped Deeside of possession again and were attacking the Deeside line again in the last minute of the game. A scrum was award to Deeside 10 metres from their try line inside the final minute, however Deeside pushed too early before the ball went into the scrum and Ellon were awarded a penalty which they quickly took passing wide for Ryan Dickie to score his third try in the left corner. This put Ryan under pressure to convert his kick to draw the game, which he took in his stride. Final score 12 points each with Ellon scoring three tries in the final period.
Awards for today: Best Forward: Patrick Bridges, Best Back: Ryan Dickie, Best Rugby Attitude: Charlie Skinner.

U14 played up on the big First XV pitch, which was always going to make the game hard as they only had 14 players. Deeside Wanderers came with 18 players and decided to play with 15, rather than match Ellon’s 14. Ellon took an early knock to the influential Finlay Ritchie, make it 13 v 15. Ellon took this to heart a little too much and let 5 tries and 3 conversions in the first third of 20 minutes. After a stern talking to at the break the team came back out strong. Rucking well and tackling well. However the team went down to 12 when Arran Whitaker took a knock. 12 v 15 is incredibly hard, and great credit to Ellon who kept up the scrum when they could have gone uncontested, and kept up a strong defence. The second third Deeside Wanderers only scored 3 tries and 2 conversions. Arran came back on at the end of this period.
The final third, mainly belonged to Ellon! They threw caution to the wind and played strong running ruby. Working with the forwards, with Ben Dickie and Adam Fowlie joining them, the team drove hard up the field. Dylan Kemp carried the ball incredible well and his reward was to score first. Ben Dickie, playing his first game at scrum half, broke well and reached for the line to score. Both conversions missed. Arran then broke away on the wing, but a high cover tackle stopped him and the knock on the knee took him off again. Deeside scored some late tries, but the Ellon tackling was excellent for low numbers. Final score was 6 – 36 to Deeside Wanderers. Awards: Best Back to Ben Dickie, Best Forward to Dylan Kemp and the Best Rugby Attitude to Arran Whitaker.

U15 came up against a tough Deeside Wanderers team and the final score was 10 – 60, but they still sit 2nd in the league, while the U16 were a little closer (34 – 47) also lost out and are 4th in the league.

The whole club Red Conference table is still to be updated.

Ellon Junior section travelled to St Andrews to play a festival at Madras. First one of the season saw the Ellon squads do very well! P6 didn’t travel, but Maxi Tag, P4 P5 and P7 all went and had a fantastic day in the sunshine.
The P3s usually play Tag rugby, but at Madras they play touch. The team adapted well and really enjoyed running and scoring and an increased competitive feel.
At P4 they had their first festival! The sun was shining and the bus journey was good. The first game was against Dundee. This was a big wake up call. Despite good attacking play we lost the ball during contact too many times and they fully exploited our mistakes. The tackle was missing from our team and they ran straight past us.
Against another good team Watson Warriors. Ellon struggled in defence, mainly as they were not tackling, but the coaches could sense that things were improving - the support play was good and we were making less handling errors.
They then were faced with the home team Madrascals B and things were starting to happen. When they were on the attack they ran at them in numbers, creating fantastic offloads and pop passes - that kept the ball moving. They started scoring more tries and were more clinical, however their best friend the tackle was not with them, so they narrowly lost that game.
Against Kinross the tackle decided to join the game plan and they became competitive. They were always going to score tries as Ellon were running into space and their continuity was good; keeping the ball moving with excellent support play and they were scoring tries. The defence was improving and they started to tackle and prevent scoring opportunities. This game ended in a draw which was a move in the right direction.
The last game against Madrascals A, was closely fought; they were making tackles and there attack was solid, making Madrascals A work hard for their win.
The improvement and progression was clearly visible. As always, everyone put in the maximum effort and played well as a team. Heads remained up the whole time, which shows the positive rugby attitude.
Also the P5 first game was against Dundee. With firm ground they got off to a great start using their explosive runners. A were a little rusty to begin with but as the game went on they got back into their usual stride coming away 8 tries to 2 winners!!
Next up an intimidating Watsonian team, a big well drilled looking team, but again when the Ellon Team got into their stride with a great rucking, tackling and continuity game, came out 4 tries to nil winners!!!
Then a break and next up the home team Madrascals. A great all round performance from the whole squad, popping, passing and great support work. Once again came out winners 8 tries to 3!!
Next up a good looking Kinross team! Ellon found themselves 2 - 0 down at half time but after pulling together at the break they dug in deep, using all of their defensive skills and came out 3 tries to 2 winners!!!
Last game in the sunshine, team getting tired and very hot, they faced a Madrascals 2 team. This team had good running skills but Ellon stepped up in defence, moved the ball around and came out 5 tries to 3 winners.
This was a round robin event and with 4 points awarded for each win Ellon finished festival winners with a full house of 20 points!!
P7 played longer games, against tough opposition, coming away with a win, draw and a loss, but really learning a lot about 5 man scrums and lineouts.

Updated 21:15 - 21 Sep 2016 by Gareth D Kemp

Where next?

160918 Weekend Review - Honours even in Gordonstoun No game for First XV but Youth took on Gordonstoun.


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