Tough game ends level

Deeside Ruby
Deeside Ruby

Deeside versus Ellon is always a tough and keenly contested fixture and this National U18 league game lived up to expectations.

Deeside started strongly and within 10 minutes were 10 points clear following good early pressure with a try from Josh Williams and penalty from Dan Sutton.

More pressure followed and Deeside were within reach of the line again but this time failed to capitalise.

Ellon settled and responded, sucking the Deeside defence in on several occasions to give scoring opportunities out wide, defence was good by Rafe Welsh and Harry Lenton but the tactic eventually paid off and Ellon finished the half two tries to take with a narrow 10-12 lead over Deeside.

With the wind now in their favour,Deeside once again started stronger and a quick wide ball saw Douglas Park on the wing outpace his opposite number on the outside for a score under the posts, duly converted , andDeeside were back in the lead 17-12.

As often happens straight after a score in a close game like this, a momentary lapse of concentration let Ellon right back in and they scored almost immediately from the kick-off when, uncharacteristically, the Deeside pack allowed Ellon to counter ruck through and take possession of ball that had been already won by Deeside but not properly secured.

Unconverted, the score was now levelled at a tense 17-17 and Deeside seemed to be slipping onto the back foot. Again Ellon threatened through forward drives and again Deeside’s line was breached with a second score taking Ellon into an ominous 17-24 lead.

With 15 minutes left to play, Jamie Hillier came on at scrum half to replace his brother, Matthew, injured defending the Deeside line.

Ellon upped the intensity more, but Deeside’s defence was quick to close down the space and, as a result of this pressure and awareness, their centre, James Long, intercepted for a 50-metre sprint to the line, converted and the score was levelled again at 24-24.

Ellon finished stronger but Deeside held out to maintain their unbeaten home record, denying Ellon who are yet to claim a win in the National U18 league.

Next week, Deeside are away to league leaders, Stirling County, a game where they will need to raise the standards all round.

Team - Liam Hutcheon, Rafe Welsh, Josh Williams, James Long, Douglas Park, Sam Howard, Matthew Hillier, Cameron Morrison, Dan Sutton, Ruaridh Diack, Daniel Graham, Cameron Tibbets, Garran 
Sutton, Matthew Gordon, Iain Hay-Higgins, Joel Back, Harry Lenton, Jamie Hillier, Jordan McDonald, Jack Christie.