Ellon will have to wait at least another week to determine their position in Caley 2 North after losing out 35-12 to champions-elect Deeside at the Meadows, writes Jack Nixon.
After Saturday’s defeat and should Ellon win their home game against Lochaber on April 16 they will be safe.
Their season will also be saved on April 9 should Stornoway fail beat Shetland in Lerwick in the dog-eat-dog end to a highly-competitive season.
At the top, Deeside put aside a stuttering finish to their quest for a second consecutive promotion, outplaying a Meadows side who were not short on endeavour, but lacked the necessary guile to upset the league leaders who now need only win one of theius two remaining fixtures to land the Caley 2 title.
Ellon managed two tries, but were generally outplayed by the free-running Banchory side who scored four tries on its way to collecting a welcome try bonus point.
Across at Inverurie the news of the Deeside win was greeted with dismay, effectively ending Garioch’s faint hopes of pipping the Banchory side to the title.
Garioch were worthy 34 - 10 winners at home to Moray and will finish second if they beat or draw with Aberdeen Wanderers on Saturday.