“If Ellon First XV play like this in the League, they will do very well.”
Gareth Kemp, Director of Rugby.
Saturday morning saw Ellon U15 and U16 play in Dundee against a combined clubs team as a preseason warm up match. Dundee U15 were short of players so Ellon leant players to ensure a competitive game. However Ellon dominated the game. This at least meant the team could practice a few moves and set pieces. At U16 Dundee were very competitive. It was an extremely close game, with the lead exchanging regularly. Late on Dundee took the lead and held on to win 35 – 27.
Meanwhile back at the meadows, Ellon First XV took on a very strong Gordonians team. In front of a decent crowd for a friendly, Ellon came out guns blazing, holding Gordonians for 14 minutes. Then Gordonians scored two in quick succession. Ellon then scored on of the tries of the match. A huge kick by Gordonians was caught by the Ellon Full Back Stewart Cruickshank. He returned the ball 50ms, dodging players before offloading out of the tackle to Ben Shirron. Ben then made another 15 meters before passing to Jake Martin to score. Ben Shirron took a scrum halfs try by picking and going, grounding the ball at the base of the post protectors to score.
Man of the match John Campbell had a couple of big runs, driving up midfield, handing off players and offloading the ball. Doug Sharp put in a couple of big hits in the tackle, turning ball over, but Gordonians managed a few more tries. Gordonians back three were top level players and really made a huge difference, with strength, pace and physicality.
Ellon emptied the bench, everyone played and now as Gordonians tired, Ellon played the better rugby. Sam Archibald scored a try, converted by Cruickshank, but the final score was 19 – 58.
A game watched by Garioch coaches, whom Ellon play soon in the league. If Ellon play like this against the teams at our level, they will do well in the league.
No game this Saturday as Shetland are unable to travel, all other teams in the league (Caledonia 2 NE) will be playing. Ellons first game is against Deeside at the Meadows on the 3rd September at 15:00. Bar will be open and the BBQ on!
Sunday the Youth section continued their preseason friendlies. Ellon U13 and U14 travelled to Milngavie, Glasgow, to play West of Scotland; to give everyone a run out before the Red Conference starts next weekend.
U13 played a good hard game against a strong West of Scotland team with the final score West Scotland 39 v Ellon 9. (3 points for a try / 1 point for conversion). It was their first match together after a long summer break and a few boys were trying new positions and on a much bigger playing field than what they have been used too. A lot was learned and plenty of things to work on but on the whole a positive game as the Ellon boys kept battling to the end which showed in the final 15 minute period of play where they were matching and holding West of Scotland to two tries each until the last 2 minutes of the game where West scored the final try.
At U13 they play 3 x 15 minute periods with 11 players in each team this game. The minimum you can field is 10 players and 13 is the preferred playing numbers for U13 rugby.
The first period started with West of Scotland scoring first in 3 minutes, however Ellon countered with a try in the 5th minute. West then dominated the rucks and had most of the possession and scored a further 3 tries. First period ended West 4 tries - Ellon 1 try.
Period two was tough and the Ellon boys did not score and spent most of this period defending. West Scotland scored their 4th try from a forward pass the ref did not see, but not to worry the Ellon lads learned that they need to counter ruck and make their tackles. Second period ended West 4 tries - Ellon 0 tries.
The final period Ellon fought back well and did not give up. West of Scotland scored in the opening minute, but Ellon drew level inside 2 minutes. West scored again at 8 minutes and Ellon drew level once again in the 11th minute. The final period was fairly evenly matched until a handling error gave the ball to the opposition and they ran in their 3rd try of the period. In all West of Scotland scored 11 tries with 6 conversions and Ellon scored 3 tries with 0 conversions.
All the boys should be proud of their efforts and not be too disappointed in the first game results as coaches could see the effort and determination the boys made.
Best Forward: Jamie Christie - for carring the ball over the gain line and powering through opposition
Best Back: Lewis Hay - for good decision making and ball distribution
Best Rugby Attitude: Calum Price - for some great tackles
And a special mention to Ryan Dickie for scoring all three Ellon tries.
Meanwhile, the U14 travelling with 17 players, before the game started Ellon lost two players to fitness tests. Logan Vavangas to an ankle injury and Adam Fowlie a back muscle twinge. Here's hoping they are fit for next week.
Playing four quarters of 15 mins, it gave breaks for coaches to adjust players and tactics.
Ellon had worked hard on restarts in training, and received the first kick off running hard into the West half. This led to three rucks, with Ellon keeping the ball tight in the forwards. Off the fourth phase Tom Gray went over for the first try of the game and season. Well-deserved for a lad who has had a great preseason training at loose head prop. Converted by Ewan Orus.
Ben Dickie soon took advantage of a sleepy West midfield and sidestepped to the try line. Converting his own try. Final try this quarter went to Ross Stewart. Hooker went over from a 20 m interception and run in. 11 - 0.
Second quarter saw Finlay Ritchie score a great individual "try", but scored on the 5 m line! From the subsequent scrum, Ewan Orus snipped from 9 to score. Converted by Ben Dickie. Two tough scrums as West finally got the right boys in the right positions. However Ross Stewart took a ball against the head and from the scrum passes to the centres for Fin Ritchie to score (on the try line this time!). Converted by Ewan Orus. 19 - 0 at half time.
In the third quarter Ellon worked at lifting in the line out and back row attack and defence in the scrum. Ewan Orus put in some great kicks to put the Ellon team on the attack. One time turning defence into attack, for Ben Dickie to score and convert his own try. Fin Ritchie, who had now been moved to back row, ran in another try using his height, pace and strength to score on the wing. Dylan Kemp took the next try. Working very hard the whole game as flanker, tackling and turning ball over, offloading to the speedsters. This time he took the ball from the West number Eight, handed off two players and went in, moving towards the posts to give Ben Dickie an easier kick. 30 - 0.
The final quarter, full back Euan Bonner went off to rest an ankle knock. After having a fantastic game. Great positioning for catches and putting in the tackles against the big lads when 1 on 1. This left Ellon with 14 players against West 15. It was decided to keep it that way to try and even the game out.
James Myers scored, making good ground after good passing from the scrum. Converted by Ewen Orus.
Ellon were complacent at a kick off and West caught them unawares, getting behind Ellon. From here West scored wide on the wing.
Lewis Duncan (second row, playing centre) scored after three phases and then passing wide. Converted by Ben Dickie. James Myers then scored a second before Fin Ritchie completed his hat trick. Both converted, one to each kicker, who have been taking it in turns to kick all game.
Finally at the death, West scored from a scrum that Ellon slipped in defence.
Final score 6 - 46 to Ellon. 12 tries and 10 conversions.
A compelling win, but both teams got to learn a lot. Ellon will take the practice on line outs, and the phase play. With good defensive turn overs.
Best forward player went to Finlay Hagen for his running and hand offs. He will also take learning points on releasing the ball to the backs quicker.
Best back went to Ewen Orus for his sniping, kicking and conversions. A mention for Ben Dickie for his sight to run lines and score, as well as conversion kicking.
Finlay Ritchie also receives an award. Could have won either forward or back as he played both. A hat trick of tries and a few set ups.
Best Rugby Attitude went to Dylan Kemp. Fantastic at turning ball over and tackling, good captaincy and running the game.
Next weekend sees Ellon Rugby taking on Aberdeen Rugby in the first game of this seasons Red Conference.
Ellon U18 Saturday 13:00 at the Meadows, Sunday U13 and U14 ko at 11:00 at the meadows, U15 13:00 at the Meadows and U16 at 11:00 away.
Updated 08:00 - 7 Sep 2016 by Gareth D Kemp