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Weekend Review 180128 Cup fever at Ellon Rugby

8 months ago By Gareth D Kemp

Ellon First Team had a tough game away to Aberdeen University last weekend in the Semi-final of the Caledonia Plate.

Playing in strong winds at Aberdeen Grammars pitches, Ellon took on the Caledonia 3N team for the first time in a few years. In an even first half, Aberdeen Uni took the advantage due to playing with the wind, honours even at half time saw the students move ahead in the second as they had the wind. Scoring twice to beat Ellon 28 – 14. Ellon would be disappointed in that result, but their main focus has always been the League. Meanwhile in the league Garioch beat Moray convincingly in Inverurie, leaving Ellon top by eight points and games played even.

Stornoway travel to Ellon this Saturday in the league, they are bottom with win and no bonus points this season, so Ellon should get back to winning ways, hopefully increasing their fantastic point difference also.

Ellon Youth section also had cup games. U16 played in the National Cup quarter finals against top team Dunfermline. Played Sunday afternoon at the Meadows, Ellon knew it would be a tough game when the team sheet had three Scotland U16 front row players and the Caley U16 reserve scrum half. Ellon battled hard in the first half, but Dunfermline scored regularly with strong physical forwards and fast well drilled backs. Ellon scored the third try and then kept their side of the score board ticking over slowly, but not as fast as the team from Fife. Dunfermline started to get close to the 50 point deficit where games are stopped at this level, but Ellon players dug deep and their never say die attitude kept Dunfermline out for the last 15 minutes while Ellon scored. Final score was 17 – 62. Ellon U16 now play in the Caledonia Cup against Howe of Fife at home.

U18 played Saturday in the Caledonia Cup second round against Kirkcaldy at Ellon also. Ellon started well scoring first, but ill-discipline led to Kirkcaldy getting a try back. 7-5. After 15 minutes the big Kirkcaldy outside centre broke away beating three players and bore down on the line. When he should have scored he look for a hand off, but used his elbow which connected with the Ellon wingers head. This was the turning point as he received a red card and was dismissed. This actually rallied Kirkcaldy for a while as the held Ellon out and even led to an Ellon Yellow card for repeat offences. Ellon scored at half time for 12-5. Ellon scored next but was disallowed for a double movement, before Kirkcaldy drew level. A penalty was kicked by Ellon which led to the surge of scores and Ellon went up one more level, something Kirkcaldy didn’t have with only 14 on the pitch. Ellon ran in 5 more tries this half to Kirkcaldys 1. Final score 46-12 and U18 move to a quarterfinal against Highland away.

U15 marked their first Caledonia Cup by playing Dundee who were a much bigger (physically) team then last game and it showed on the pitch, using these big lads to run the ball. Ellon got the best start they could with a try early on. Using pods to make the ground while Dundee got caught snoozing, Ellon made it close to the line where Ross Stewart picked the ball and dived for the line to just creep over. This was converted by Ben Dickie for 7 – 0 to Ellon. Despite Dundee only having 14 players they used their huge lads to run up the middle. Their number 8 was almost unstoppable when Ellon tackles went anywhere but low. Dundee got to the Ellon line and score an unconverted try. 7 – 5.
Ellon played their style of rugby by moving the ball from 9 to 10 well and then either using a pod or the backs. Ellon Centres kept running back into defence, rather than release the wingers. This worked in Dundee’s favour as they twice managed to hold the centres up in the maul for turn overs. Eventually Archie Falconer broke through to score with Dickie converting. 14 – 5. Dundee continued to use the big lads where Dylan Kemp and Logan Vavangas had to change to chop tackles to bring them down. Finlay Hagen at 8 came up against his toughest opposition of the season as the Dundee 8 was his size, but a little wider. Finlay held his own despite being over a year younger, but was a good challenge for him.
Archie Falconer then got through again to score under the posts, with Dickie converting. Half time was 21 – 5.
Throughout the game so far the breakdown had been really messy. Both teams hands and bodies all over the ball, frustrating both teams play. Penalties started to mount up and Ellon got on the wrong side of this. Dundee took advantage of a quick penalty and scored a converted try. 21 – 12.
From the kick off Ellon gathered the ball and released Finlay Hagen to score out wide, unconverted by Dickie. 26 – 12. Next break down there was a penalty for Dundee and Finlay Hagen received a yellow card for 10 minutes in the sin bin. During this time, Dundee fought back well, scoring a converted try and getting close twice more. However Ellon held them back until they got back to full strength. 26 – 19.
During the last few minutes of the game, Dundee tried to clear the ball and it went into their try zone, where Jamie Brooks dived on the ball to score the final try. Full time 31 – 19.
Ellon Rugby U15 now move to the Caley Cup Semi-finals, home to Howe of Fife on 18th February. Ellon U15 will now make Finals day at St Andrews on 29th April. If they beat Howe, they make the Cup final, if they lose to Howe they make the Plate final.
Man of the Match to Stevie Gray at Stand-off.

Ellon U14 and U13 played Deeside away, with U14 winning very comfortably and U13 just missing out by 1 point.

This coming weekend U13 and U14 travel to Cumbernauld to play West of Scotland, while U18, 16 and 15 have a rest weekend.

Updated 01:48 - 8 Feb 2018 by Gareth D Kemp

Where next?

Weekend Review 180204 Top V Bottom Ellon First XV played bottom placed Stornoway last weekend.
Calcutta Cup Extra tickets available

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First XV Strathmore RFC
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