Ellon proved too much for Highland RFC at the Meadows on Saturday. The home team secured a six-try victory, putting on a good all-round performance in the second round of the RBS Shield.
Debutante David Ilyine came off the bench to grab himself a try, and flanker Conor ‘Bulldog’ Slaven picked up an impressive brace for the second week running.
Greg Willets, Andy Milburn and Andy Parker finished off Ellon’s try scoring efforts, while Andrew Ovenstone and Ali Addy added a conversion apiece.
The victory was a textbook display from the home side.
Ellon’s forwards dominated their opposition at the set-piece, scoring two tries from driving mauls, and their backs finishing their opportunities with flair.
Inside centre Aidan Holland impressed in his first game for the club, and prop Jonny Munro continued his good form with another strong display.
Ellon coach, Mike Cox, was pleased with his side’s progress, saying that new players gave flexibility in customising the Ellon side’s tactics.
He said: “It was good to see a new group of guys playing well together. We have now got some depth in our squad so we can actually pick players to suit the game.
“Our front five were really good today, especially at the set piece and the driving lineout was effective for us for the second week running.
“Highland raised their game from the last time we played them, but everything came right for us, I’m very happy with that.”
Highland managed to get over the line for a couple of tries of their own, both of which were converted by their fly-half Craig Little who had a fine game.
Nonetheless, despite their best efforts, the Inverness based team were constantly chasing the game.
Ellon’s captain, Liam Slaven, was the victim of a robbery when his pop pass to stand-off Alix Macdonald was intercepted, resulting in a Highland try. However, his steals at the lineout and hard work in defence more than made up for his mistake.
Slaven said afterwards: “I think we played really well today.
“There was no part of the team that was lacking, we were all on the same level so we had good go-forward ball.
“The forwards set up the ball really nicely for the backs, and we had a stronger backline this week with a couple of new boys.
“Aidan and Dave, our debutantes, played very well as did Andy Millburn and Andy Parker, who played their second game for us. They clicked with the rest of the squad instantly.
“We could have improved elements of our decision making in parts of the field. There was a roughly 20 minute spell when we switched off a little bit, and during that lull we let Highland play a little bit more rugby than we should have done.
“But I didn’t feel like we were under threat of losing the game. We were quite comfortable for the full 80 minutes.
“The crux of it was that we played basic rugby well, and we controlled what we had to control. We got the ball out to the backs and they did what they had to do.
“Today was the first time we really gelled as a team, and everyone knew what they were doing in the positions they were playing.”
Ellon now have a short break before their next game, which is against Orkney.
The Ellon side will doubtless hope that both the weather - and their good form - can hold out until December 1.