Ellon Rugby remain in danger of relegation from Caledonia 1 after suffering a 15-try defeat by promotion hopefuls Orkney RFC in freezing and windy conditions at Pickaquoy in Kirkwall on Saturday.
Phil Ross and Alan Brown scored hat-tricks for the islanders, who notched eight tries in the first half and seven in the second in total, the 89-0 win moving them back to the top of the table.
Ellon, who only travelled with 16 players, had some spells of decent play and competed best in the midfield, but could not match Orkney’s firepower and failed to capitalise on having the wind behind them in the second half.
The performance, which a committee member described as a “sad day for Ellon Rugby”, is one the team will look to put behind them.
Head coach Ross Finlay said: “The game didn’t really reflect the potential of the squad. I’m pretty disappointed as a coach. Individually and collectively the team have the potential to make some major improvements.
“If we can get more commitment from everyone involved then hopefully those improvements can come in the very near future. If not, we will be struggling.”
Ellon have seven games left to avoid the drop. And, aside from away fixtures to Gordonians and Caithness, have a reasonable run of games at home to mid-table teams.
The first of these is against Strathmore at the Meadows on Saturday.
Finlay said: “It will give us a good enough chance. If we can get a bit of a run in the next four or five games, we can see how we get on.
“But we’ve got to get buy in from the players.”
He outlined several areas to improve ahead of the game.
The coach said: “We will be looking at the contact point. If we don’t win the collision and we don’t win our first phase stuff then we’re putting ourselves under tremendous pressure.
“We’ll go back to basics and look at those sorts of things first.”
Lock Tom Drew and scrum-half Stewart Cruickshank picked up an ankle and hamstring injury respectively against Orkney, while centre John Campbell is expected to make his comeback from a shoulder injury against Strathmore.