FORMER Ellon player Mark Ryan has kicked some vital penalties and conversions in his young career, most of them for his old club at the Meadows, but last week he was facing the biggest test of his life in a premiership game in Aberdeen.
With the referee having signalled that the conversion of a late try scored by his brother Greig in injury time would be the last play of the game, Mark (25) stepped up to attempt to give Aberdeen Grammar a first win of the season.
The replacement centre also knew that missing the kick could lead to one large step towards relegation for the area’s top side.
If the young stand off was nervous about the situation, it never showed as he calmly went through his usual meticulous routine before sending the conversion on its way.
Silence reigned throughout until the immaculate kick split the posts, giving Grammar the narrowest of wins, greeted with a roar of joy from the home crowd akin to having won the league itself.
The players joined in the celebrations with some players reflecting the relief of the occasion with unashamed tears, as seems to be the order of the day in modern sport.
But while it was Mark who enjoyed, or perhaps not, given his modest attitude who was centre stage the joyous crowd were quick to acknowledge that brother Greig was equally entitled to the aclaim after scoring his superb last gasp try in the corner.
Among those who were on the field of play on one of the momentous days for North - east rugby were team mates Steve Aitken who also scored a try in the 26 - 25 win and Nicki Fraser, making it a wonderful day for Ellon where all four originally plied their trade as aspiring young players.
Even then the Meadows connection was not complete, as head coach Alex Duncan and forwards coach Kevin Wyness were former players at Ellon.
Steve Park made it seventh heaven for the club, being one of the stalwarts of the Aberdeenshire set up, and part of the coaching team and responsible for activities in the front row at Rubislaw.
“A great day for the club, and in particular the Ellon contingent,” said Jim Rae the honorary president of Aberdeen Grammar.