ELLON’s chances of avoiding relegation may come down to how well the team stands up the test of a trip to Inverness where the Meadows side meet fellow-strugglers Highland a week on Saturday.
After losing out 29-18 at Strathmore, the club have three games to save themselves from the drop, including a testing match against champions Aberdeenshire, though they end their troubled campaign with a home game in which they host second-placed Caithness.
But realistically Ellon’s best hope of surviving may lie in picking up a losing bonus point at Inverness on March 30, though acting head coach Michael Cox would rather his side won at least one of its remaining games. He said: “We are in a tough place just now, but I believe we will survive.”
The 29-18 reverse in Forfar was disappointing, particularly as the Meadows men had led 13-3 at half-time, thanks to an inspired individual performance from No 8 Keiron Dalgarno who scored a try, kicked the conversion, and adding two penalties before the break.
However the big Strathie pack took over on the heavy home pitch to run out convincing winners to move away from the relegation area with their last game of the season.
Conor Slavin scored a late consolation for the visitors who failed to pick up a bonus point, and must now face up to a trip to Woodside where Shire may just field an understrength team before they play Marr in the semi-final of the national shield.
The clever money will be on Hillfoots and Highland to go down, but no one denies Ellon have a tough test in a bid to save face over the next three weeks. Relegation should not be an an option for the young side, but there is no divine right to stay up, as Ellon will find.