by Jack Nixon
Garnock 7 - Ellon 16;,
THERE were smiles, perhaps of relief, in the dressing room at Garnock after Ellon beat a side who invariably prove difficult to beat.
Club president Colin Tennant was as relieved as anyone after a few difficult weeks at the Meadows.
“I’m pleased to get a win after a spirited performance. A first away victory made it all the more pleasing. Things have been far from easy these past few months, but we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. The guys had steely determination,” said Tennant, who praised acting coach Bobby Kenny.
“Bobby led with authority and clarity, and I thank him for grasping the nettle,” he said.
Kenny was delighted with the win in his first game in charge.
“I was much more nervous standing on the touch line than I ever was on the pitch,” he said. “It was a good one to get under our belts. We had some outstanding performances, including one from our captain Liam Slaven.”
Slaven’s example included his side’s only try in the first half, enabling the Meadows men to turn round 10-7 up, but despite having to defend in the second half the visitors held out, easing home with two penalties from stand off Ryan.
Ryan had opened the scoring, while converting his skipper’s try.
Edinburgh Uni Blues 31 - Ellon 7
ELLON look to be back on an even keel after a torrid month in which it has endured a number of issues which at one point appeared to threaten the club’s very existence.
Not least of the troubles was the decision of coach Mike Avis to stand down, citing player power as a major problem for him. They have also lost vice-president Mike Cox, though the experienced front row player will continue to play, lending Premier 1 experience.
But according to club president Colin Tennant, Ellon is once again determined to get things on track.
“Pleasingly, rugby is once again our main focus, having Bob Kenny take over the coaching reins is a huge plus,” he said. “In two games in, Bobby has led with authority and clarity. Things have been far from easy, but we are all determined to take things forward,”
The appointment has won the backing of a former head coach with the club who welcomed the steady hand of his former charge.
Alex Duncan, head coach of Aberdeen Grammar said: “I’m delighted that Bobby has taken on the coaching role. He is a player who will hopefully take the club forward.”
Ellon has only three games left, against sides who will pose problems, starting on Saturday when they take on Musselburgh, followed by trips to Murrayfield and Langholm.
In two games since taking charge Kenny has won one and lost one, but according to Tennant it has been a productive three weeks.
“The players look as though they are enjoying the game again, especially at Garnock. Even Saturday’s defeat by Edinburgh Uni Blues was encouraging,” he said.
Ellon were all tied 17 points apiece with 10 minutes to play, but lost the pace to concede two late tries.
Kenny admitted it had been a nerve wracking time for him and said: “I was more nervous on the touch line than I ever was on the field as a player, but I was more relaxed in the second game, but we are making encouraging progress.”
The club has missed out on a top four place which would have taken them into the proposed new look premierships, but will now have to settle for regional rugby where they will meet local sides including Aberdeenshire, Mackie, Gordonians and Aberdeen University.