National League 1 Rugby

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ELLON’S bid to claim third place in National League 1 ended with a whimper when they crashed to a surprise defeat at home to RHC on Saturday, leaving head coach Mike Avis to plan his strategy for next season, even if he has three games to play in the current campaign.

The Meadows club looked to have all the aces going into the second half, but fell apart during a 10 minute spell after the break when prop Neil Warrender was sin-binned.

“We lost two tries during his absence and were never able to get ourselves back into the game,” said coach Avis. “It was a disappointing outcome, especially as we had been playing some good rugby, though once again we lacked composure at key moments. There were, however, some encouraging signs of what we are capable of, giving us something to build on for the three remaining games,”

Mark Ryan was once again in fine kicking form, slotting three splendid kicks in the first half, which ended 9-9 before the roof fell in on the home side in the second period.

Ellon has an immediate chance to redeem itself on Saturday when they entertain second placed Greenock Wanderers, giving them an opportunity to make a big point to a club which will grace Premier 3 next season.

But while Ellon were crumbling at the Meadows three former players were enjoying the biggest moment of their careers at Rubislaw, where Aberdeen Grammar were promoted to Premier 1 after a stirring affair. Nicki Fraser, or the Ythan Bull as he is known to his team mates, was starring in the 37 - 24 win over Watsonians, even opening his side’s scoring with a rare try. Not to be outdone, Sam Ryan - also a former Ellon player - raced in for the second touchdown. Scotland Under 21 full-back Steven Aitken had a less happy afternoon, getting himself knocked out in the first half, although he was fit to join the celebrations after the epic encounter.

Assistant Kevin Wyness who was in charge, enjoyed the emotion charged afternoon. The former Ellon player and coach said: “This is a huge tonic for North-east rugby, a moment we can savour.”