“Ellon First XV are really comign together. A fanbtastic come back at Aberdeen followed by a great away win in Shetland.”
Gareth Kemp, Director of Rugby
Ellon First XV are in the middle of a hard 5 away games in a row and the past two weeks came up against a strong Aberdeen Grammar seconds team, and then last Saturday Shetland away.
First up was Grammar Twos, who had a number of their first XV players in the squad. Ellon started a little daunted, as the young squad felt a little nervous. This showed in the number of penalties given away, but with some 50/50 decisions going against them, it took 30 minutes to realise they needed to leave the ball and focus on defence. Grammar took an early lead, scoring 2 tries before Ellon responded. From a line out and drive 20 meters, Shirron spun the ball wide for full back Matt Pearce to score. 2 more tires to grammar and a penalty, gave a score of 29 – 5 and a few thought that the game was over in the first half. This was shown more by another try to grammar from another penalty, 34 – 5 and game over?? Jonny Munro then went over for Ellon as the prop popped up on the wing, throwing a dummy and driving over. Jonny was over again only to be cruelly denied as the referee thought it was held up. Soon Ben Shirron claimed a try as he went quickly from a penalty as ex Ellon player Andrew Ovenstone was caught offside. This gave a half time of 34 -15. Grammar started best from the restart with an early try to make it 39 – 15. Ellon needed one more try for a bonus point, and claimed this from Doug Sharp as he led a maul up the park and reached for the line. Ellon where now dominating the game and playing fantastic rugby. Winning the scrum and line out and using both wings. Kieran O’Brian scored off third phase and some huge carries. 39 – 27 and Ellon had a chance! Fantastic flowing rugby saw the ball move sides three times and Matt Pearce go over for his second try. Aberdeen (and ex Scotland Rugby League player) Teddy Clark got a yellow card as Ellon pilled on the pressure. This led to uncontested scrums, something Ellon did not want. With 5 minutes left Ben Shoirron sneaked another quick penalty to score to make it 39 – 37, talking the conversion to draw, the kick went wide! Aberdeen then broke clear as Ellon pushed for the win, to score to make the final score 44 – 37.
A fantastic game of rugby and although they lost, Ellon boys were all extremely proud, and rightly so.
Director of Rugby Gareth Kemp said: “a fantastic game, that we almost won! Lost by too many penalties in the first half and too many missed conversions. I have never been so proud of the lads to come from that far down and be the better team over 80 minutes, we just need to start better and convert these close loses, to wins”.
Last Saturday Ellon had the hard task of a trip to Shetland. With a number of players unable to travel all the way up (Friday afternoon to Sunday morning) it is always a hard trip. However buoyed from the Grammar game, Ellon went up and started better. Dominating the scrum and lineout, they again became foul of the referee giving away too many penalties, but led at half time. Second half they pushed for more an with 10 to go they brought up the bonus point try. Shetland however fought hard and Ellon defended well for the last 10, before Shetland sneaked a consolation try. With tries for Ben Shirron (two), Callum Cruickshank and Greg Jack and two conversions, Ellon won, gained a bonus point and kept Shetland from getting one. Unfortunately Ben Shirron took a foot knock, which when home on Sunday, was diagnosed as a fracture, meaning he will miss a few games. The inform scrum half has been on fire in recent games and will be a huge loss.
This Saturday Ellon travel to Banchory to play Deeside. Deeside will want to win to save some pride, while Ellon will want to win to keep the pressure on Aberdeen above them in the league, who travel to Garioch.
The same weekend Ellon First XV played Aberdeen, so the Youth played Aberdeen in the Red Conference.
Ellon U13 team played their best rugby yet this season in the Red Conference against Aberdeen Rugby with a great team effort. The first period opened with Aberdeen attacking the Ellon defence which held to begin with however Aberdeen scored in the third minute after evading tackles and scoring in the corner. Ellon then countered and were applying their own pressure towards the Aberdeen line however they conceded a scrum which Aberdeen took advantage of and ran past our defence to score in the sixth minute. The restart did not go well with Ellon spilling the ball forward and Aberdeen picking it up and punishing Ellon by scoring in the eighth minute, taking the score to three tries to nil at this point in the game. Ellon then regrouped and started to move the ball through their hands out towards the wings and advanced steadily forward. This resulted in Arron Whitaker scoring Ellon's first try of the game in the twelfth minute. Ellon were then under pressure from Aberdeen at the restart and had to defend near their try line. Ellon managed to turn over the ball and pass it wide to Ryan Dickie who then made a full pitch run to score Ellon's second try in the last seconds of the first period. Aberdeen 10 points to Ellon 7 points.
The second period opened with Aberdeen kicking to Ellon, however our handling skills let us down as Ellon lost possession and again were punished by Aberdeen in the second minute, quickly followed by more handling errors gifting the ball to Aberdeen for them to score in the fourth minute too. Ellon then managed to settle themselves and started to play some good rugby, making tackles, rucking effectively and retaining possession which paid off in the tenth minute when Arron Whitaker received the ball and ran towards the Aberdeen line beautifully side stepping two Aberdeen defenders to score. Unfortunately Aberdeen countered and scored their third try in the thirteenth minute bring the total scores at the end of the period: Aberdeen 20 points to Ellon 11 points.
The final period was where Ellon really stepped up the pressure and their hunger to win really showed with Ellon scoring in the third minute and then the eighth minute by keeping possession, running hard through the middle and then moving the ball to the wings for Ryan Dickie to run in two tries and converting them bring the score to Aberdeen 20 points to Ellon 19 points. Aberdeen then rallied and Ellon had to defend hard on their touchline with Aberdeen not scoring a try due to a double movement of the ball on the ground by Aberdeen. The resulting scrum at the five metre line Ellon were pushed back and had to touch down for another scrum at the five metre line where Aberdeen took advantage and scored in the thirteenth minute taking the score to Aberdeen 24 points to Ellon 19. Ellon were then under pressure again in the closing minute when a decisions went against us (handling on the ground) allowing Aberdeen to score a try in extra time. Final score Aberdeen 27 v 19 Ellon. All the lads should be proud of their efforts today especially Daniel Ruddy and Arron Whitaker for their efforts today for the team.
Awards for today:
Best Forward: Daniel Ruddy
Best Back: Ryan Dickie
Best Rugby Attitude: Ryan Hanton (Captain)
With the thought of an almost full squad for the match, the U14 had some high hopes going into the match. However losing Ross Stewart to an ankle injury and with Euan Bonner still ruled out, there was a loss of a few players still.
Played in great conditions at the Grammar pitches in Aberdeen, the crowd was treated to a great game.
In a cagey start Ellon defence was holding well, but for a couple of high tackles they were penalised for. From this Aberdeen attacked scoring two unconverted tries. Ellon responded with the forwards being very physical and moving the ball up the field, before releasing the backs and Fraser Chalk form full back to score. The first third finished 6 - 3 to Aberdeen.
Ellon dominated the second third with the same great ball carrying and then passing to the backs to score. Jack Duncan scored two tries from the wing and Ben Dickie converted. Ellon defence was outstanding, even holding up a Grammar attempt, before the Aberdeen team sneaked a late score. This third the score was 3 - 8 or 9 - 11 overall.
The final third, and both teams tired due to the physical nature and hot day, both teams exchanged scores with Ellon new lad Kia Taylor scoring. Ellon looked like they might just sneak a close game, fell at the final hurdle as Aberdeen again used their star forward to carry the ball over and score, with a late try as the Ellon heads dropped. This third finished 9 - 3 and the final score was 18 - 14, just a converted try in it.
For the third game in a row, Ellon improved and looked a much different team to the first game of the Season.
A three week break now and the Perthshire at home for Ellon on the 30th October. A game they will be targeting the first win of the season.
U15 and U18 didn’t get a game as Aberdeen don’t have squads at those age bands, but the U16 played out in Garioch as the Aberdeen team merged with Garioch. In a fiery game Ellon lost out to a strong combined team.
The Juniors also played Aberdeen that Sunday in a festival for P3 to P7. The great weather really helped the boys play good rugby and learn a lot.
Updated 18:30 - 18 Oct 2016 by Gareth D Kemp