“It could be the start of a turnaround for Ellon. In the next two years we should be able to push hard for promotion. This season certainly making the top half of the league after the half way split and remerge”
Gareth Kemp, Director of Rugby
Preview of Ellon Rugby:
Ellon squad is slowly building up. A good mix of young lads who have come through the club and a couple of new players, mixed with some old steady heads. However it is a very young squad this season, mostly players who have played at Ellon throughout the Juniors and Youth. A great example to those coming through the system.
We have a new Head Coach who has also come through the system. Sam Mountain played at Ellon since P4 to Adult, then stepped up a level to play in the National leagues. Still young he has come back to Ellon to coach his old club as he wanted a chance to develop his coaching. He is fully supported by the club and Director of Rugby, is taking his UKCC Level 2 in September, then furthering his coaching with Local training. He is supported by an old Ellon stalwart Darren Singer, when he is not working. They played Gordonians recently in a friendly, with Gordonians fielding 80% first team players. Ellon performed very well and even dominated periods, finishing the stronger, but losing 19 58. Scoring 3 tries and giving the squad a decent run out. There was a good crowd watching the game and they very much enjoyed the Ellon performance. This is creating a great atmosphere around the club and everyone is looking forward to the start of the season.
First game of the season postponed last week due to Shetland having a wedding, Ellon are due to play Deeside this weekend hoping for a game, but Deeside didn't play last weekend due to lack of numbers and potentially this weekend also. They aren’t the only strugglers for numbers, Aberdeen Grammar seconds also couldn't play last weekend due to lack of numbers.
The new league structure for Caledonia Two will suit Ellon. The league is split NE and NW. Playing in the NE league first half of the season against Deeside, Grammar Seconds, Garioch, Banff and Shetland. Home and away fixtures, with the top half joining the top half of Caledonia 2 NW and the bottom half joining Caledonia NW bottom half. That should give more localised games to start and then more evenly matched games.
Caledonia Cup Ellon have Stornoway at home, which gives a good chance to progress on a cup run.
As Director of Rugby Gareth Kemp said “Over all, I am excited about this season. It could be the start of a turnaround for Ellon. In the next two years we should be able to push hard for promotion. This season certainly making the top half of the league after the half way split and remerge”.
Behind the scenes a new Charity Trust fully takes the reins of the club. 11 trustees are developing the club and looking to progress as one club, Junior to Senior
Ellon Junior section continues to grow at age 3 to P7. 8 Ellon coaches recently completed their UKCC Level 1 coaching certificate. Ellon Rugby are now the club with the most percentage qualified coaches in Scotland.
Youth section continues to deliver in the Red Conference, one of the best youth leagues in Scotland.
One further boost for the club and region is the Director of Rugby, Gareth Kemp, now sits on the Clubs and Schools Youth committee at BT Murrayfield, helping shape the future of Youth Rugby in Scotland.
This weekend Ellon Rugby First XV hope to play Deeside in the League opener for Ellon, while the Youth head to Perthshire in the Red Conference at U18 U16 U15 U14 U13.
Last weekend results:
With the First XV game postponed against Shetland, Youth Rugby took precedence.
Ellon played Aberdeen Rugby/Garioch combined in the Red Conference. However Aberdeen really struggled to get players at U18 and U15 so didn’t field teams. U16 was played in Inverurie and a very tight game led to a 26 – 26 draw! Almost unheard of at this level! Both teams get 2 points.
At U14 Ellon played one of the top teams in the region. Aberdeen/Garioch has a big squad and some even bigger players! Making good use of their two large props in the first third, Aberdeen smashed up the middle of the park. Scoring 4 tries and three conversions, they dominated the 20 minute period. Ellon failed to push up fast in defence and this let Aberdeen run at them, making it hard to stop the big players. One positive was the Ellon players did stop the ball reaching the wingers, and the hard work at the line out paid off. This ended 0 – 15. In the second third, Ellon scored first with Fraser Chalk going over, using his immense speed to beat the Aberdeen backs. Ewan Orus converted. However Aberdeen scored three tries and one conversion. This third ended 4 – 10. The final third was very evenly match and Ellon scored twice, both tries to Jack Duncan and the conversions to Ewan Orus. Aberdeen also scored 2 tries and two conversions, but Ellon missed a final try, with a pass not being caught when a try was certain. This would have led to a final third win for Ellon. 8 – 8 in the final third gave a final score of 12 – 33 to Aberdeen. Ellon gain 1 point and Aberdeen 3. Best forward went to Lewis Duncan, best back to Euan Bonner.
At U13 it was first game and was always going to be a tough match on a full sized pitch with 13 lads covering a lot of ground, however they proved they were up for the task ahead of them as they put in a performance they should take heart from.
The first 15 minute period opened with pressure from Aberdeen which resulted in a try for them after 2 minutes. Ellon recovered from this and started to apply their own pressure by ensuring they covered the ground quickly to close the gap with their defence lines and took the ball into the Aberdeen half. This was done the hard way with the forwards driving head on into the Aberdeen pack and trying to recycle the ball with the rucks going 50/50 to each team with some handling mistakes giving the ball away. Aberdeen scored again by passing wide and using their backs effectively to score another try in the 10th minute. Ellon then took the game to Aberdeen at the restart and powered into the Aberdeen half, keeping possession driving forward and eventually getting the ball to Ryan Dickie to score. Ryan also converted his try. Ellon 4 v Aberdeen 6.
Ellon made 4 substitutions for the second period and it started fairly evenly matched with again some good pressure being mounted by the Ellon forwards taking the ball into Aberdeen's half, however Ellon could not capitalise on this as once again Aberdeen turned over the ball in a ruck and passed wide for Aberdeen to attack the wings and score in the 5th minute. Ellon again countered and moved into the Aberdeen half but again were rucked off the ball which lead to a period where both teams were counter attacking and the play moved from 22 to 22 in each half as both teams tried to break the defences. Aberdeen again got the upper hand by moving the ball wide and ran in their second try of this period in the 11th minute of play. Ellon then managed to hold off a sustained Aberdeen attack defending against line out and scrum attacks and held the ball up off the try line to finish the period Ellon 4 v Aberdeen 12.
The third and final period saw the teams go up to 15 a side rugby with flankers added to the scrum. The Ellon boys came out fighting in this last period and again took the ball into the Aberdeen half with a lot of pick and goes from the rucks however they were making it hard for themselves and kept running back into the pack instead of using their backs to help move the ball wide. This period also saw a couple of injuries, an ankle injury to an Aberdeen lad, and Ellon's Connor Friel sustained a knee injury which ended his match. Eventually Ellon started to use the backs more effectively but could not get through the Aberdeen defence who then managed to break away to score their 5th try in the 13th minute of the third period. Ellon however did not let this dampen their spirit and fought back to score in the last minute to even that period with one try each. Final score Ellon 7 (2 tries / 1 conversion) Aberdeen Rugby 16 (5 tries / 1 conversion).
Best Forward: Ross Stewart
Best Back: Ryan Hanton
Best Rugby Attitude: Ryan Dickie (playing new position of fullback and scoring Ellon's tries)
This Saturday sees U18 away on Perthshire and First XV home to Deeside 15:00 KO (fingers crossed!).
Updated 08:00 - 7 Sep 2016 by Gareth D Kemp
Sunday sees U16 U15 U14 and U13 head to Perthshire also.