Club in crisis as players fail to turn up

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ELLON Rugby Club looked to be a sports organisation in crisis after a horrendous weekend in which the senior team’s hopes of a top four were shattered after a 43-3 thrashing by Hawick in their National League 1 game. The defeat was followed by the subsequent resignation of club vice-president, Mike Cox.

The weekend had started badly for the 35-year-old club, who were once the rising star of Scottish club rugby, having gained a remarkable six consecutive promotions to reach the premierships, when Colin Tennant the current club president sadly announced he had to withdraw the club’s second team from all competitive action.

Speaking to the Times, he said: “We are going through a bad time at the moment. Pulling the seconds out of the Caley 3 (North-east) had to be done, as we were unable to field a team.

“It’s now a question of hanging on in there with the senior team until the end of the season,” admitted Tennant who was, however, insistent the club still had a future. We have one of the best Under 16’s sides in the North and North - east of Scotland, not to mention our splendid mini sections who have produced players who have gone on to represent Scotland at the various under-age groups,” he said.

“How many teams from the area can boast a full Scotland cap, as we can in Andrew Wilson?” added the defiant club president.

The strife engulfing the Meadows based side came to a head last week, when head coach Mike Avis revealed that he was unable to field a team for Ellon RFC’s vital National League 1 clash with top side Hawick YM.

“If four players have indicated they are not prepared to play for me, then that’s their problem,” said Avis. “In the end we did get a team out, but only after I had called upon Aberdeenshire from Caledonian League 1 to help us out.

“Thanks to them we fielded two of their players in key positions. It was a remarkable act of co-operation from the Aberdeen club.”

Should the crisis deepen at one of the leading sports organisation in the area, there is the possibility of it folding, though Club President Tennant was adamant this would not happen for the Ellon side..

“We are a proud club with a great tradition, but in the end we are only enthusiastic volunteers doing our best,” he said.

“At the moment we are meeting on a regular basis to try to solve the problem. I would, however, like to hear from anyone in the community who can offer support of any kind,” said the Ellon 48 year old.

Coach Avis had laid out his stall to achieve a top four finish in the league, which would have seen Ellon back in the equivalent of the premierships.

However, with only seven games left, Ellon are fully 23 points behind fourth placed Murrayfield Wanderers, and are highly unlikely to achieve its head coach’s objective. However, coach Avis refuses to accept that the Meadows side are out of it until it is mathematically impossible.

Training was expected to go on as usual this week with President Tennant meeting players to discuss the way forward.

“I believe we will find a solution, and get back to playing rugby,” he told the Times.