ELLON U18s slumped to a disappointing 27-12 defeat when they were outclassed by Gordonstoun, writes Simon Cousins
The performance was branded “lacklustre” by coach Gareth Kemp, who warned that he would make changes for the home game with Aberdeen Grammar on Saturday.
It was an early start for the Ellon players as they left the Meadows at 7.20 for an early kick-off to allow all the players to get to Pittodrie for the Scotland-Tonga match in the afternoon. A decision many would later regret…..but not as much as Andy Robinson.
The game kicked off at 10am and it was clear that Gordonstoun were out for revenge after being beaten 33-31 at the Meadows earlier in the season.
Gordonstoun were on the front foot from the start and were aided by a series of penalties for lack of discipline and general infringements at the breakdown.
The game remained scoreless until the 21st minute when yet another penalty on the Ellon five metre line led to a series of pick and drives by the Gordonstoun forwards. The pressure eventually told with Gordonstoun driving over in the corner.
The score seemed to wake Ellon from their early morning slumbers and quick ball at a ruck allowed the backs to attack.
Liam Cousins broke down the left wing and offloaded to full-back Christian Avis who was tackled into touch deep inside the Gordonstoun 22.
The Ellon pressure was starting to build but some poor decision-making and knock-on’s saw chances go to waste.
The pressure did cause some panic in the Gordonstoun defence and a clearance from behind the posts was collected by Liam Cousins whose kick down the line bounced into touch to set up another attack that was once again repelled by the well-organised Gordonstoun defence.
As the half-time whistle blew there was a sense of relief that the score line was only Gordonstoun 5 – Ellon 0.
Disaster struck two minutes into the second half when Matthew Emmison was yellow carded for allegedly making contact with an opponent’s face.
Gordonstoun instantly took advantage from the penalty with the ball finding its way to the winger to dive over in the corner. The same player was on hand ten minutes later to finish off a powerful drive from the forwards and take the score to Gordonstoun 15 – Ellon 0.
Ellon’s indiscipline at the ruck was again penalised.
A tap on the five metre line went to the centre who slipped a tackle to score under the posts. Four minutes later Ellon lost the ball at their own scrum and the ball went to the right winger to score in the corner.
Ellon were now 27-0 down and facing an embarrassing defeat.
The introduction of Nathan Brown to the pack injected some much needed passion and aggression and it was Ellon who finished the game stronger.
Scrum half Ben Shirron took a quick tap penalty and passed to centre Jamie Gillan who offloaded to Matthew Emmison. He burst through a series of tackles before offloading to Jamie Gillan in support to score next to the posts. With the last play of the game Flanker Tom Owen picked up from the base of the scrum and drove over. Ben Shirron kicked the conversion and the referee blew for full-time. Gordonstoun had won 27-12.
Ellon need to finish in the top three in the league to qualify for the Caledonia Champions League and the National Cup. They will have to put this performance behind them and get back to winning ways against Aberdeen Grammar at the Meadows on Saturday.
Coach Gareth Kemp said after the match: “That was a very lacklustre performance. The contact area was very poor, with lack of aggression and poor rucking”.
“Not taking anything away from Gordonstoun, who played outstanding, but we really should have done much better.
“Next Saturday there will be a few changes to inject more passion to the team”.