Last weekend Ellon Rugby First XV played their first game in Caledonia 1 for a few years, off the back of promotion last season. Travelling to Alloa, a team they haven’t played in a long time, Ellon took a young squad as always, with 14 of the 15 starting players having gone through the Ellon Youth system. Four subs had also, which only goes to show what developing Youth players does for a club.
It was a very tough first half as Alloa welcomed Ellon to Caley 1 with a dominating half, 24-0 to Alloa. Ellon took this well and after a great half time chat from new Head Coach (also a product of Ellon Youth) Craig Parslow, the Ellon lads went out and took the game back to Alloa. Dominating wide areas of the game, Ellon scored 28 points in the second half as Alloa started to let the game slip. However Alloa managed to just score 10 second half points to win the game 34-28. Ellon gain 2 bonus points (scoring 4 tries and losing within 7) which will be vital in this close league.
The First XV have a weekend off this week and look to get back to winning ways on Saturday 15th September at home to Grangemouth Stags, a team notorious for not liking the travel north. 15:00 KO.
Ellon Rugby Youth started back in the Mitsubishi Lancer Youth Conference on the 27th August. Taking on their hardest opponents in the conference Mackie away in Stonehaven. U18 played Saturday and although Mackie led at half time, Ellon stopped Mackie scoring in the second half, whilst scoring themselves to take the game 19-33 in a fantastic second half performance. Sunday saw U16 play in a physical match. The Ellon lads seemed distracted by playing their closest rivals and often dropped the ball, creating issues and allowing Mackie in rather than Mackie being stronger. Ellon always kept in touch, but Mackie came through winners with a late flourish of scores to make it 50-17. Tries to Ellon for Lewis Duncan, Archie Falconer and Euan Bonner, one converted by Ben Dickie. Man of the match to Logan Vavangas. In a similar match at U15, Ellon lost more because they were short on players. Often dominating the match, Ellon came with 15 and lost 2 players to injury. Playing the second half with 13 men, Ellon actually were the better team, but the damage had already been done. Mackie winning 50-24.
A tight game at U14 saw Mackie win 18-7, but again once the Ellon boys got going they dominated parts of the game. Just need to focus early on.
U13 is the first year of Youth Rugby and these boys played their first competitive match as U13 players. Taking a good squad of 19 players, the team performed well from the start, wining the match 9-16.
Last weekend the Youth section got their first home games of the season, against Granite City Colts (a conglomerate team of all clubs in Aberdeen, but Aberdeen Wanderers mostly).
U13 again performed well from the start, using all their players to get equal game time, they led from the start and didn’t look back. Final score was 22-14.
U14 struggles with losing players in the build up to the match and during the game. Low number meant Granite City had great advantage on the big pitch, however in the second half, Ellon performed fantastic, with some great tackling, rucking and turn overs. Especially good as they only had 13 v 15 for 30 minutes. Final score 7 – 38.
U15 dominated a weak Granite City team at U15, talking the points and playing a 10s match rather than a full 15 aside.
Match of the weekend went to U16. An outstanding performance by both teams as they battled out for the points. Both teams had players from Caledonia U16 squad this summer and had bragging rights to earn! Granite City scored first with a converted try as Ellon tried to pass the ball too much. However Lewis Duncan scored for the second week in a row for Ellon out on the wing from second row! Ben Dickie kicked the extra 2 points from 2m in on a very windy day. Points that would become crucial later on. Ellon again let Granite City score and this was followed up by a sneaky interception try as Ellon stole a turnover and looked to pass wide. Just before half time Archie Falconer scored and Ben Dickie converted to leave the half time 14-21. Ellon had more of the play but Granite City had sneaked the extra try.
Second half Ellon came out knowing exactly what to do. Using their more physical forwards they needed to retain the ball and when Granite City had the ball, cut it off at 12 to stop the Caley U16 13 and U17 Winger scoring.
Working well to the game plan, Ellon kept the ball in the forwards a lot more than normal, really winning every break down. This led to winning the lineouts and dominating the scrums also, wining a number against the head. Lewis Duncan ran in another try early second half, followed up 5 minutes later by prop Tom Gray. His first try for a couple of years, and his smiles showed it! Ellon now led 24-21, but Granite City scored with a lapse in Ellen’s concentration. 24-28. Ellon now dominated everything and had the full run of the game, but Granite City still kept them at bay just. Archie falconer received a turn over ball 15m out and weaved through to score a long reaching try to make it 29-28 with 12 minutes left. As the game continued, Granite City got into Ellon’s 22, only for Ellon to win the ruck and poach the ball back, as Ellon went to attack, their concentration slipped back and they forgot the structure. Trying to be too fancy they used one handed passes and lost the ball back. From the following pressure, Ellon gave a penalty away 20 out and in line with the left post. It was the final minute of the game. The Granite City kicker, who had converted all 4 kicks so far, stepped up but the pressure must have got to him and it sliced wide of the right post. Ellon U16 took the match 29-28. A great game to watch and both teams will have learnt a lot from it. Although Ellon deserved the win, it was a shame for the kicker to miss the final shot.
U18 had a tough match against a top Granite City side. Trying too hard to carry the ball, when passing would have been more appropriate, missing a few tackles let an outstanding Granite City back line in. Ellon scored three well worked tries, but giving Granite City too many chances, which they took everyone. Final score 15-40.
This weekend Ellon Youth play Muntly at home. U18 Saturday 13:00, U13 and U14 11:00 Saturday and U15 U16 13:00 Sunday. Muntly are another conglomerate team, made up from Moray, Huntly, Lossie, Kinross and a few Orkney U18!
U13 rugby is classed as development matches as although there is a winner, both teams get equal points, to ensure all get equal games time. U14 do not have a table as such, while U15/16/18 all compete in their own leagues. The club also has an overall whole club league table, where each age band contributes points to the weekend fixture. After two weekends Whole Club Ellon sit 4th close behind Deeside/Garioch and Granite City, with Mackie topping the table. Ellon hope to gain full points this weekend against Muntly. At U18 they are 3rd, U16 3rd, U15 2nd.
Ellon Juniors have had a week back training and this Sunday head to St Andrews in Fife to play in a Madras Festival. Great to get early games for the boys and girls to put into practice the new rules at their age bands.
As always Ellon welcome new players, returning players, or players who want a challenge. They have adult team in Caledonia 1, Youth section leading the regional rugby set up with Boys and girls teams. And a thriving Junior section. Coaches are highly qualified (one of the highest in Scotland) with Level 2 and three coaches at Adult and Youth, Level 1 and 2 at Junior level. They are also fully supported by Strength and Conditioning coaches. Anyone interested check out the internet page http://www.ellonrugby.org/ or email email@example.com
Finally Ellon Rugby are proud to announce that U16 player Archie Falconer (pictured scoring on Sunday against Granite City) has been selected to the Glasgow Warriors U16 regional squad for the autumn training camps and matches. This leads to Scotland U16 positions at Easter. We wish Archie well as he pushes for a Glasgow start and maybe a chance at Scotland U16 Blues squad.
Updated 00:34 - 6 Sep 2018 by Gareth D Kemp