“I would like to highly commend Ellon Rugby on their willingness to get the fixtures played and put such effort into arranging transport and swapping the fixtures at extremely short notice. For me it sums up the spirit of rugby and the effort put in”
Ranald Baird, Head of Rugby, Gordonstoun
With no game this weekend for the First XV, all eyes were on the Red Conference games for the Youth Section. It was the last home games for the teams in the League and the was due a good crowd Saturday to support the teams. However, with the cold weather the past week, the Meadows pitches were still frozen with no chance of playing the games. This would have given all teams 2 points as the games would be classed as draws. However, the players would have missed out on development in playing. On Friday afternoon, the Director of Rugby hastily arranged a late switch to Gordonstoun and U18, U15, U14 and U13 travelled to Elgin to play Gordonstoun. At U16 the Gordonstoun team had an exam so were unable to play.
Ellon U13 boys started the first period strongly and took the game to Gordonstoun, applying pressure and advancing slowly towards the Gordonstoun try line, however the Gordonstoun pack defended well and Ellon boys could not capitalise on their possession. Eventually the opposition broke through and scored the first try of the game after 6 minutes. Ellon fought back straight away at the restart and Ryan Dickie broke through their defence and scored in the 8th minute. Ellon matched Gordonstoun in the scums and managed to compete in the rucks too as the teams were fairly evenly matched. The first period ended 3 converted tries to Gordonstoun 12 points and Ellon had 2 tries with one conversion 7 points.
Ellon opened the second period with some lighting pace and footwork by Ryan Dickie who scored in the opening minute and converting his try to make 3 tries each. The next period of play both teams again were fairly evenly matched however Gordonstoun kept giving penalties away by being offside. Eventually these infringements worked in Gordonstoun's favour and Ellon went down 3 tries in the 6th, 7th and 8th minute of the game and lost their way a little. The period ended with Gordonstoun converting 4 tries bringing the score to Gordonstoun 28 points to Ellon's 11 points.
The final period again saw Gordonstoun open the scoring in the 1st and 3rd minutes of the period, however Ellon did not give up and found the strength they had at the start of the match and started playing well again, however they did make it hard by continually moving the ball through the middle of the field instead of using the backs to better effect to feed the ball to the wings which might have led to a few more scores, however saying that, Ellon managed to score another try in the final minute of the period to show that the lads had the fighting spirit until the end of the match. Final score Ellon 15 v 40 Gordonstoun.
Best Forward of the Match: Charlie Skinner
Best Back of the Match: Ryan Dickie
Best Rugby Attitude: Liam Ritchie and Liam Park
U14 between these two teams is usually a close game, and if not for a crazy penalty count by Gordonstoun it would have been a close game. Ellon started their usual slow start, the early morning trip across taking its toll. Split into three twenty minute periods, the first third was much different to the rest. Gordonstoun scored 4 tries in this period and converted two, giving a lead of 0 – 14 at the first break.
The next two periods were a different game! After a rousing team talk the Ellon players came out fast and hard to take on the Gordonstoun runners. Making their tackles and turning ball over Lewis Duncan crashed over on the left wing to score his first try of the season. A hard conversion was missed from the 5m channel. The game continued with Ellon dominating the physicality. It helped having a flanker playing centre as Dylan Kemp tackled all day. Gordonstoun’s response to this was repeated penalties. Although there were a few in the first 20 mins, the count for the last two thirds went sky high. At this level the referee cannot issue yellow and red cards, which leaves little opportunity to penalise the team. Gordonstoun were offside repeatedly and off their feet and in the side and most rucks, stopping any flow by Ellon. Although the referee was good and picked them up, he had little options. Gordonstoun broke clear and scored a break way try at the end of the second third, converted that left this third 3 – 4 to Gordonstoun.
Final third and Ellon felt buoyant and again played well. Defence held strong as Dylan Kemp made three try saving tackles in a row and the forwards won the ball back to be cleared. Again, Gordonstoun penalties ruined all chance of a try foe Ellon, but Ross Stewart managed to blast over for a typical hooker try. Ellon pressure built up again as the match was near closing. Ellon broke with Ben Dickie who was high tackled. From a quick tap, Ben went again, but was high tackled a second time. From this penalty, Ross Stewart went with the ball, was high tackled and in the process dropped the ball, only for Gordonstoun to pick up and score a 90m try and conversion to win this final third 3 – 4. If this try hadn’t been given Ellon would have won the final 40 minutes 6 – 4 a much more deserved score line. Ellon did however lose the game in the first 20 minutes by letting 14 points in. Final score 6 – 22. The score doesn’t reflect a game more dominated by Ellon, after a slow start!
Best Forward of the Match: Ross Stewart
Best Back of the Match: Dylan Kemp
Best Rugby Attitude: Jamie Brooks
U15 had a closer game, playing a much improved Gordonstoun team from earlier in the season. Final score for them was 7 – 19 to Gordonstoun.
U16 game was awarded to Ellon as Gordonstoun players couldn’t play due to an exam.
Finally, at U18, the Ellon players came up against the best team in the region at U18. And it showed! Gordonstoun dominated the whole game, and gave a strong display to win 7 – 60 and maintain their position at the top of the table.
With frozen pitches, there was no training and the Junior festival arranged for Sunday was cancelled. 400 children had been due at the Meadows to play!
This coming weekend, the First XV are again without a fixture, but in the build-up to Deeside away the following Saturday, they are training at 12:00 with an open session for everyone to come down and watch. U18 take on Mackie in Stonehaven in their final game of the Red Conference. A win should see them progress into the National Cup. Sunday U15 and u14 also play Mackie in their last games of the Red Conference, while U13 travel to Aberdeen to play Deeside Wanderers in their final Conference game.
Updated 02:47 - 5 Dec 2016 by Gareth D Kemp