First XV v Ross Sutherland - Ellon just miss out.
This weekend saw Ellon First XV play Ross Sutherland at the Meadows.
On a cold damp afternoon, with the threat of frost stopping the game, Ellon took on the upper end of the table team from Invergordon.
Ellon started well with some good forward play, using the phases to move up the pitch. The ball went wide for Sam Tateson to score under the posts from the wing. Converted by Stuart Cruickshank. 10 minutes later in an exchange that was to continue for a while, Ross scored a converted try using their star player, the inside centre, clearly head and shoulders above the other players on the pitch. Ellon star prop Barry Smith was struggling all week with a bad back, had to come off early, in a reshuffle of the pack Ellis Swainston
came on in the second row and within 20 seconds on the pitch took a devine pass from scrum half Andy Baird to drive through and score under the posts, again for Cruickshank to convert.
Both teams exchanged kicked penalties before on the stroke of half time Ross scored an unconverted try on the left win. Half time 17 – 15 to Ellon. The first half was very even, both team matching each other for scores, and in the scrum. Ellon for the first time in a few games challenged in the scrum and took a number against the head, although Ross did also.
The second half started with Ross scoring early, Ellon began to tire and with a bench of slightly injured players strggled to make any impact. With players cramping in the backs there was a slip in defence for Ellon and Ross scored again, 17 - 25. Ellon then challenged the line twice, once a penalty from Ross prevented a try and then a knock on over the line lost Ellon the try. With the Ellon boys dead on their feet, Ross scored again at the end to give an unjust score of 17 – 32.
In a game that was evenly matched until the last 15 minutes, Ellon should take a lot of positives from the game. The pack was much improved and the backs got more ball, however a couple of mistakes of a very cold day, along with not enough strength and fitness in depth cost the game.
Ross Sutherland are third in Caley 2 North, and for 2/3 of the game Ellon comfortable matched them. Ellon now move off the bottom of the league, and are one win from 7th place. This makes the home game against Shetland and Lochaber, and the away game against Stornoway vital wins for the team.