Ellon put aside their miserable run of form to come within one conversion of winning their first game since beating Caithness at the Meadows back in September, writes Jack Nixon.
For the beleaguered home side it was a welcome return to something like the form of old in a spirited performance against fellow strugglers Mackie FP’s, who scarcely deserved to leave with a 19-18 victory.
Coach Ross Finlay was delighted with the effort put in by his young side who looked to be on a hiding to nothing after turning round 12-10 in arrears and set to play into the cold wind.
Finlay said: “We are getting there. This was most encouraging, but the penalty count against us was too high, but in fairness a lot of our guys stood up to be counted when it mattered.
“I’m pleased for them. We probably deserved a better outcome, but we can build on this for the run-in to the end of the season.”
Ellon started brightly but failed to put points on the board and instead found themselves in arrears after full back Duncan Ross scored under the posts in a rare raid on the Ellon line in 20 minutes.
Ellon hit back immediately through a penalty, stroked over by stand off Nathan Emery who had a fine afternoon, linking nicely with his young half back partner Ben Shirron.
But just when the homesters looked set to run the show, Mackie once again scored against the run of the play when winger Colin Hay outstripped the Ellon cover defence for an unconverted try in the corner, making it 12-3.
Undaunted Ellon surged back, getting their just reward on half-time when veteran of at least 20 campaigns James Young broke to score near the posts, giving Emery an easy conversion, making it 12-10 at the break.
Playing with a strong wind, the visitors appeared to be on easy street when scrum half Iz Meliss nipped over the Ellon line for a try which was converted by prop Colin Reddish.
The home side then demonstrated real character, digging in to give the Redcloak side a torrid time, but failing to show the composure demanded of the occasion, until 10 minutes from time when prop Ewan McIntyre plundered the Mackie line.
The difficult conversion from wide out into the wind fell just short, as did the late frenzied attempts of the Ellon attack, leaving the small, but appreciative crowd in dismay, but pleased with the performance and perhaps the promise of better things to come.