P4 v Stewart Melville
John's match report. Photographs copyright of Laurelle Hanton.
Ellon played Stewart Melville 3 in the first game. This was a baptism of fire for the players. SM3 were fierce tacklers and that certainly woke up Ellon. Ellon's tackling was so much better than in previous festivals and our defence was superb with pressure repelling their attack and keeping them away from our try line. It was a hard fought battle but SM3 edged the game. Ellon managed to steal the ball from counter rucking, however they did not make life easy for themselves when attacking as they went backwards every time they had the ball. Overall it was a superb performance and they should all be proud of their physicality.
Next game Ellon faced SM2. This was another gruelling game. Ellon had difficulty with their continuity in possession as most of the tackles made were pretty high with the ball carriers' arms being held in the tackle, making the pass or offload extremely difficult. Again Ellon's tackling was wonderful all of the players finding their confidence.
Ellon's restarts were more organised but they were not getting over the gain line as the second receiver was static, however when the ball was taken at pace they made good ground. This game was played without on field coaching and it was impressive how Ellon managed to organise themselves and communication between them was improving.
Ellon's third game against Stirling County was by far their best. Ellon started really well with some excellent lines of attack, support play and defence. Ellon were challenging for the ball, making good breaks and were the better team. Their dominance would have been greater if they switched on at the restart, this was when Stirling scored quick tries from restarts.
Ellon's last game against SM1 was a game too far. This was their 4th game in a row and they were tired, wet and cold. Ellon's defence was not as robust as in previous games and the ball was not competed for at the breakdown. Ellon let a few easy tries go Stewart Melvilles way due to loss of concentration.
It was very quiet out there and Ellon needs to further their communication. The restart is still pretty static and Ellon needs to become more competitive for the ball in attack and defense. Ellon can easily remedy these weaknesses.
Brilliant effort from everyone. Best effort so far. Huge improvements are clearly visible and the tackling continues to develop. The whole team stepped up to the challenge at Stewart Melville and it was fantastic to see great individual improvement from all the team.
Well done Ellon!