A car crash, flu and work commitments forced Ellon to pull out of their match with Orkney at the Meadows on Saturday, and left them facing a points deduction in Caley 1.
The development is a devastating blow to the side, who only managed to secure their first win of the season against Caithness the Saturday before last.
Two of the team’s players – prop Keiron Leith and full-back Stuart Cruickshank – were involved in a car early last week, in which Leith’s car was written off, and the pair were lucky to have escaped relatively unscathed.
Despite declaring themselves fit to play against the islanders, the decision was taken by coach Ryan Morrice to err on the side of caution and rule the youngsters out of the game.
Morrice said: “You’ve got to think about whether they were being too brave for their own good.
“The pair of them said they’d be fit to play, but obviously it’s a risk involving them and I’ve got to think about player safety first and foremost.”
With a flu bug also going around the squad and several players being called up to work away, the situation got worse for Morrice as the week progressed and he was forced to call off the match on Friday.
Ellon’s second team also failed to fulfil their fixture away to Highland 2s.
Morrice said: “There was a culmination of things. We are always struggling to field a second team and, with all a few call offs and a few injuries, it’s just taken its toll on a shallow player base.
“We couldn’t hang on much longer as Orkney would have needed to cancel their travel arrangements. I didn’t want to be leaving it until the last minute to sort out that side of things.”
When he spoke to the Ellon Times earlier this week, Morrice was waiting to hear back from the SRU’s Caley Committee over what action, if any, the club would face for the call offs.
He said: “It’s very much up to them. Hopefully they’ll let us reschedule the game. We don’t want that hanging over us purely down to the fact we couldn’t field a team.
“We tried everything we could to scramble and try to put guys together. We even had two back row players ready to play in the centre.
“There’re only so many favours you can call in. We couldn’t really let Orkney travel and call the game off in the morning, so we had to call it off on Friday afternoon.
“I am expecting some sort of points deduction, as that’s what happened to St Andrews last season, but they just said they didn’t have a front row and called the game off, we tried everything we could to get a team out.
“It’s early in the season as well, so it’s not like we don’t have time to reschedule the game. But, we’ll just have to wait and see and try and get on with it regardless of what punishment we get.”