Ellon finish it in style
ELLON have retained their Caledonia 1 status by seeing off Glenrothes 47-14 before a huge crowd at the Meadows on Saturday.
The home side had left it until the last game to stave off the threat of relegation.
A relieved club president Richard Porteous believes his task of preparing for next season will now be easier after seeing his team ease past the Fifers
He said: “Recruiting new players would certainly have been more difficult had we dropped down a division.
“It’s a great relief, but then I always felt we were not a bad team, and should certainly not have been in the position we found ourselves.
“Interim head coach Michael Cox has done a good job. I like to think he will be available next season.
“We need to start planning, but let’s enjoy the moment first.”
He was speaking at the end of Ellon’s six try romp in the third and last leg of the play offs, which had seen all three teams win a game apiece.
Ellon emerged at the head of affairs, pipping Garioch and Glenrothes by virtue of their superior bonus points haul.
Nothwithstanding, the final outcome Ellon started shakily, conceding a soft try in four minutes when the back row gave the visitors the freedom of the pitch to enable Kenny Christie to stroll in for the opening try of the afternoon.
The conversion gave the Fifers a seven-point start which for the large gathering of former players from the Ellon club was not what they had come to see.
They need not have worried, as Cox rallied his troups, imposing his considerable experience on the game from the front row, enabling veteran lock Scott Johnston to rumble over in the corner.
Hamish Dalgarno’s superb touchline conversion eased the tensions of the day, as Ellon asserted themselves on their limited opponents, squeezing them into conceding two penalties which Dalgarno gratefully kicked to give the home side a 13-7 lead at half-time.
The second half was something of an anti-climax, as Cox upped his own contribution, while ensuring his young charges stuck to the task of saving the season.
Five tries were just reward for an Ellon side who saved the best for last to ensure Caledonian Division 1 rugby will be played at the Meadows next season.
Tries for centre Adrian Holland, Cox and Dalgarno stifled a possible Glenrothes fight back, leaving winger David Ilyne finish off the day in style with two fine tries, and send the gallant Fifers back home to re-group for another tilt next season at winning promotion to the top Caley league.
Ellon were best served by Cox, flanker Jack Calvert a tireless worker in the loose, Johnston in the lineout and Holland in the back division where Dalgarno excelled with his darting powerful, line breaking runs.
The Meadows men had earned a second bite at the cherry the previous week without kicking a ball. Derby rivals Garioch failed, albeit narrowly, to beat Glenrothes in Fife, which resulted in the play-offs going to a third game in the three-team section.
Head coach Michael Cox said after that game it had been a roller-coaster of a season and he thought Ellon were lucky to get another chance to save their skins.
But they came through in style, buoyed by the large attendance on Saturday afternoon.
Ellon will learn from the experience of being down among the strugglers, but must first learn the absolute basics of the game, including making short, telling passes in near gale-force conditions.
Whether they have learned how to win sufficiently well and regularly remains to be seen.