Ellon Rugby U14/13 travelled to Invergordon to play Ross Sutherland in the first game of 2017.
An early start and drive over to Inverness and then North to Sutherland, saw the boys arrive with plenty of time, and had a good kick about before getting changed.
With good weather, but heavy underfoot the game kicked off by Ross Sutherland. Ellon clearly hadn’t played for a while as they didn’t set up well for receiving the ball. Ross Sutherland took control of their own kick off and using their physical players moved up the pitch. Ellon won the ball back when Ross Sutherland went off their feet at a ruck, something that was to become a common factor of the game. Ellon moved back up the field and from a scrum, won the ball, with Ben Dickie spinning the ball out to outside centre for Fin Ritchie to score out wide as was the plan. Conversion missed from out wide by Adam Fowlie. 0 – 3. As the game continued, Ellon let Ross Sutherland run at them and failed to make tackles. Ross Sutherland scored and missed the conversion. 3 – 3. The first third then continued with a physical game, Ellon forwards and backs getting sucked in too readily, and when they won the ball didn’t have enough wide to spread the ball. Third ended 3 – 3.
Second third Ellon regathered their composure and attacked hard off the kick off. However, a very physical Ross Sutherland team rucked well and took the ball back. Ellon defended fantastically for three attacks, as Ross Sutherland made use of their big players. Ellon defence held two tries up, one by Dylan Kemp and the second by Ross Stewart who came on this third as hooker. Ross Sutherland became their own enemy as they used their physical players, but gave penalties away at the break down for going off their feet, hands in the ruck. Ellon did not attack as well as they committed too much to the ruck and defence, failing to counter attack as we had in the first third. However, after the hard work in defence, and probably having low possession of the ball, Ellon scored off a scrum. A steady scrum and passing through the hands, from within Ellon’s own 22, gave Fin Ritchie and Adam Fowlie in the centres, a chance to run at Ross Sutherland’s defence. Using good passing Fin broke clear and ran in a 60m try under the posts. Ben Dickie converted. 0 – 4 this third and 3 – 7 overall.
The final third, was summed up by a phenomenal tackle count by the Ellon flankers. Both Logan Vavangas and Dylan Kemp made continued tackles to prevent Ross Sutherland having any decent ball. Ross Sutherland were a team who liked to run the ball and the Ellon flankers shut them down. After a Ross Sutherland scrum, Logan tackled the scrum half and Dylan the stand-off, Adam Fowlie collected the loose ball and passed for Lewis Duncan, now playing 12 from second row, to run in a 30m try. Ben Dickie converted. Ellon’s fitness levels were excellent and led them through the final third well. Calum Caven collected the ball out of a ruck and ran 40 meters, before being tackled he offloaded the ball to Ryan Dickie on the wing to run in the try. Adam missed the conversion. Finally, Ellon ran the ball hard up the middle and then moved the ball wide, Adam Fowlie ran the final 30 meters and scored out wide. He converted his own try for a final third score of 0 – 11 and final game score of 3 – 18.
Ellon played hard for 60 minutes, making use of the fast-strong back line. Something strong to take into the next game against Highland on the 19th February.
U15 - Highland 17 Ellon 27
3 tries, 1 conversion to 5 tries, 1 conversion
Conversion - Caleb Jack
The first attacking play of the game was a very strong run down the right flank by Stewart Hawthorn which lead to the first Ellon try, within the first minute of the game. The game was keenly contested and physical throughout, with Ellon looking to build on the early pressure. Highland came back at Ellon on the attack, and scored a couple of tries. Ellon continued to apply pressure with good ball speed along the backs, which allowed Aidan Laing to run down the left flank and score. At half time it was pretty even, 2 tries each, with only a conversion separating the teams in favour of Highland.
The second half continued in much the same vain, with good attacking play by both teams. Ellon continued to get the ball spread quickly along the backs which Highland struggled to defend at times. From a scrum on the 5m Highland line a quick ball from James Hamilton to Kai Taylor on the left flank blind side allowed Ellon in for their 3rd try of the game. In response, Highland came straight back at Ellon from the kickoff and ran in their 3rd try, the Ellon defensive line being a little slow off the mark and allowing the pressure to be applied. All credit to the Ellon squad, heads were up and looking to turn it around. A strong run through the middle of the field by Jack Duncan lead to another Ellon try. Looking to finish the game off, Ellon wanted to build on the attacking pressure. Callum Young , on at number 9, spread the ball out well from the breakdowns, with Daniel Brown carrying the ball through from centre field moving out to the right flank, offloading to Caleb Jack to score Ellon's final try of the game.
A fantastic team performance by the u15 squad with many positives to be taken from the game.
Finally at home Ellon U16 played a really close game against Garioch at the Meadows, with the same try count at the end of the game, Garioch finally won with a higher conversion rate. Final score 29 - 33.
Up next 11th February Ellon U18 play Livingston at home with a 13:00 KO. Following weekend is cup weekend, with U18 playing Highland at home Saturday 18th at 13:00, Sunday U15 play Granite City at 13:30 and U16 play Mackie at 14:00. Also Sunday U13 and U14 play Highland in friendlies at home at 11:30.
Updated 01:38 - 23 Feb 2017 by Gareth D Kemp