Ellon totally dominate Garioch in the big local derby.
Ellon in prime spot to stay in Caledonia 1 after a huge win over Inverurie based Garioch in the Caledonia 1 Play offs.
After much debate and a late decision (Thursday evening!), the SRU decided to honour the original fixture date, and play the first play-off game last Saturday. There had been much hype about the fixture in the local rugby community with the two local teams having a great rivalry. With sunny conditions, firm underfoot and a fair breeze blowing Saturday was excellent conditions for the game. The local community turned out with a great crowd from both Inverurie and Ellon, both sides of the pitch were full and the atmosphere for the players brilliant.
With the wind in their favour Garioch maintained the ball well for the first 10 minutes, but could barely get out of their half. They wanted to kick, but the Ellon defence was very quick and pinned them back, blocking kicks and rushing the kicker so he was forced to pass. This was the way Ellon were to play for the whole game, putting Garioch under intense pressure. Ellon forwards, particularly the front row, smashed their way into the Garioch 22 early on, releasing the backs, for winger Jamie Gillan to score his First XV debut game try! Jamie who is only just 18 and a product of Ellon youth system, is away at University and has been playing a few games for the Seconds this season to prepare for adult rugby. His performance today showed he is more than ready, and will be a great asset to the club. This made is 5 – 0 to Ellon. Ellon hooker Ali Edwards took a nasty stinger to his shoulder and was replaced by veteran Ryan Morrice for 15 minutes while he recovered. With the wind picking up, Ellon expected Garioch to make more use of it, but the dogged Ellon defence prevented it, counter attacking and really breaking down the Garioch pack. Scrums and line outs were dominated by Ellon as the kept driving them back up the pitch. Ellon captain Nicki Fraser, got a yellow card and sin binned for 10 minutes for a foul at the ruck, but rather than sit back, Ellon attacked with James Halmshaw breaking away and running 40 meters before being tackled. Showing great strength, he was back on his feet for the second phase and took a great ball and running line to score. 10 – 0 and still with 14 men.
Just on half time with Ellon back to 15 Phil Edwards ran fantastic lines and showed immense strength to get over the line near the posts, converted by Jake Willis for 17 – 0 half time.
Second half saw Ellon totally control the game with the wind and a good lead they really took the game to Garioch. The front row smashed through the Garioch defence and Nicki “Ythan Bull” Fraser went over under the posts for an outstanding front row try. Jake Willis got his second conversion to make it 24 – 0. With the game well in hand, Ellon subbed their entire bench on to rest players for the next play-off game. This didn’t stop Ellon where further pressure led to three more tries by Stuart Hackett, Alix Macdonald and Liam Slaven, all unconverted.
Final score was 39 – 0 and rightly deserved, although Garicoh never gave in and fought all the way to the end. They like Ellon also had a number of young players who all should be praised for their efforts.
Due to a cup result pending at time of writing, it is unknown when Ellon will play their next game against Glenrothas away. It will either be this Saturday 19th April or 3rd May! Or possibly not at all! Garioch play Glenrothas on the 26th April and if Glenrothas win, that would be both Ellon and Glenrothas into Caley 1 and Garioch staying in Caley 2.
Ellon Vice President Gareth Kemp said “It was a great all round team performance, with the experienced players leading the way”. “It was great to see such experienced players like Nicki Fraser out there playing with young lads like Jamie Gillan and Doug Sharp”. “I though James Halmshaw really deserved the man of the match award, he was fantastic today, such strength”. “It was also great to see the Meadows really busy; many thanks to both the Ellon and Garioch support who helped make it such a special day”.