Ellon Rugby First XV had a league decider last Saturday.
Playing Aberdeen Rugby Seconds at the Meadows in the Caley 2 NE league, the winner was more than likely to make the top three when the cut happens soon, while the looser the bottom of the cut.
It clearly meant a lot to Aberdeen who had a number of First XV (National 1 league) playing in the team, including their influential stand off and Ex Ellon lad Ali Addy.
Game started evenly with Aberdeen missing an early penalty kick, Ellon turned the ball over a couple of times but Aberdeen stole it back and went wide to score with a missed conversion.
From the restart and next phase, Callum Cruickshank kicked the ball out of a ruck, followed it, over taking two players and kicked again for Keith Esson to score, conversion missed also.
The cold wind didn’t slow Ellon down as they gathered pace, with forwards and backs interacting well, breaking lines and passing to Doug Sharp to steam roller the Aberdeen fullback to score. Conversion missed again. The weather turned to a heavy squall and in the intense hail, Keith Esson went over again, conversion missed for 15 – 5. Quickly Aberdeen got back on the ball and although their flanker broke too early from a scrum and was 3m offside, he stole the ball and scored a converted try under the posts. 15 – 12.
Again Aberdeen attacked well, breaking away on the wing to score for 15 – 17. However, in an end to end exciting game, Ellon took the last points this half as they used the backs and very fast hands to pass to Keith Esson to score a converted try at half time. 22 – 17.
Second half and early on Ellon take a couple of injures as Callum Addy comes off. His brother playing for Aberdeen takes advantage of this change and scores 22 – 24.
Again Ellon rally as both teams keep exchanging tries. A strong series of pick and goes by Ellon and then three passes wide to Doug Sharp see the influential number 8 score his second. 29 – 24. Again Aberdeen return the try and score with a conversion. 29 – 31. And the difference comes when Aberdeen get another by retrieving a kick and following up well, scoring in the corner. 29 – 38. Ellis Swainston the barrels over using his immense strength to gain meters and reach for the line. Callum Cruickshank kicks the extras. 36 – 38. Aberdeen have the final say with a late try. 36 – 45.
A very entertaining game and showed that Ellon are one of the top teams in this league. Competing against a loaded Aberdeen team, and almost winning shows how well they have come on. Biggest shame is that from the top four teams, Ellon Grammar, Banff and Ellon only 3 can go into the top half of the split. It is now mathematically impossible for Ellon to be in the top three.
The League will split soon with top three joining the top three from Caley 2 NW and the bottom three from each joining. Ellon will be with Shetland and Deeside from the NE and join with Ross Sutherland, Lochaber and Stornoway for the reworked league. Good thing is that Ellon should carry full points through (20) as they take through the points they have been awarded against the teams they have already played in the first half. This is Shetland and Deeside who Ellon have beaten already once and are the last two games to be played, both of which should be wins.
This Saturday Ellon have a rest from the League with a Cup game against Moray, who are top of Caley 2NW. It will be interesting to see the difference between the NE and NW teams in Caley 2. Game is a 12:30 KO due to the Scotland game, come down for a BBQ lunch watch the game, and have a beer after watching Scotland!
Red Conference for the Youth was away to Deeside Wanderers. U13 game was cancelled due to wet pitches, while U14 U15 and U16 all played up in Banchory on Sunday. U15 came up against a tough Deeside /Aberdeen Wanderers team and missed out 50 – 0, while both the U16 and U14 came very close. U16 was 26 – 21 to Deeside Wanderers, playing with a small squad and limited subs they boys performed well and improved on recent performances. The U14 had changes to win their game, they found the first half very frustrating as they couldn’t understand the break down interpretation by the referee. Once this was cleared up, the game opened up becoming flowing and one of the best games of the year. Both Ellon and Deeside performed well, using forwards to move up and then the backs to go wide. Passing let Ellon down on a number of occurrences. Ellon Scored tries with Ross Stewart, Dylan Kemp and Fin Ritchie. Ross’s try was scored off the back of Dylan Kemp breaking from a ruck that the half backs were caught in, dummying and running 30m, from the next ruck Ross picked and went to the line with great strength. Dylan scored himself from a pick and go, rolling a defender and doing well to stay in the field of play before touching down. Fin Ritchie broke clear for his try, but landed awkwardly and had to be subbed. Final score was 15 – 9, one try in it. If Ellon had completed their passing a little better, they would have scored more tries, also the missed kicks took three points.
U18 played Saturday and started slow, missing a couple of players didn’t help, but neither did the two harsh yellow cards received. This took the game form Ellon as Deeside Wanderers scored then. When Ellon came back up to a full team, they had the whole game, but Deeside Wanderers defended well. Final score 19 – 10.
Not bad for Ellon, when you take into account Deeside Wanderers is a mix of two clubs who are close to being full individual clubs on their own, while Ellon continues to stand as an individual club, working hard to bring players in and train them.
A mixed weekend coming up for the youth. Supposed to be Mackie for all, but looks like just U13 and U16 playing as the rest are moved for Remembrance Day.
Ellon Junior Section travelled to Hillfoots in Tillicoultry. P4, P5, P6 and P7 all played a round robin festival.
An early start for the youngster in their first away games and it showed as they played a warriors team who were very strong in attack and defense. Ellon kept them within sight during the first half with good attacking rugby and support play. The second half the warriors ran away with the game as Ellon were not tackling very well and when they did, they did not hold onto the ball and were too slow to ruck.
The next game against a Stag team made up from Hillfoots and Ellon player was an improvement. Ellon started to tackle and with our good support play we had a great even game.
Our next game was against the home team Hillfoots. They played eight a side on a bigger pitch and that kept the game tighter so Ellon had a great game with both sides attacking and defending well. There were some cracking tackles being made and Ellon attack was more clinical however due to Ellon restarts we had to attack from deep in our half. HP4 coach John Atkin concluded that they “need to work on our tackling, and contesting for the ball at the breakdown we also need to defend our ball and get a ruck formed quicker to hold onto the ball to prevent a turnover”.
“At the restart we need to get the ball to the second receiver at pace so that we get over the gain line. We were too static and we were going backwards”.
“Good progress made, we have good support play when attacking giving lots of options for a pass or offload to be made
Our line speed was good from the other teams restart and when our tackling improves we will be putting lots of pressure on the other teams.
There is definate progress being made and you are all improving we know what needs to be done to remedy our errors”.
At P5, first up Hillfoots A.
Ellon started the game fairly equal with Hillfoots being a well drilled side in their tackling. Ellon scoring 2 try's first with good possession and support. Playing up hill Ellon tired a little and let Hillfoots in to level. Second half going downhill Ellon had warmed up and the floodgates opened. Our big runners dominating up the middle and offloading wide to score. Final score
Ellon 9 (try's) Hillfoots 6
Game 2 Watsonians
After a brief break the team and coaches chatted about blitz defense against a big physical Watsonian team. Ellon started well up hill putting great pressure on the other team. At half time they found ourselves 5 try's to 1 up. Second half saw Watsonians change their whole team but this did not deter the Ellon squad. More pressure awesome rucking, hard tackling and good continuity saw Ellon take control.
Final score Ellon 8 - Watsonians 2
Everyone now getting tired including the Head Coach!! Hillfoots had some big challenging runners and this was to be an end to end game. Ellon dug in with some great rucking implementing the "bullet" and with good off loading and determination held out!
Final score Ellon 10 - Hillfoots 7
A great day of rugby and the weather kind to players and parents.
P6 and P7 also played some great rugby, developing their skills against good teams.
This Sunday Ellon Juniors play in Edinburgh in the Stewart Melville Festival.
Updated 16:30 - 16 Nov 2016 by Gareth D Kemp