With barely time to warm up properly following the long trek to Inverness for the Caledonia Shield final Deeside looked like they had been thrown to the lions in the opening minutes of this game with old rivals Ellon.
The heavyweight Ellon pack made their intentions clear and with only 15 minutes played Deeside had already conceded two tries, both coming from short drives by Ellon’s forwards.
Deeside seemed to have started in a panic, gifting possession to Ellon at the breakdowns and Ellon duly capitalised right away.
Suitably advised, the team spirit and the players confidence was lifted back to the key point where they believed they would comeback from 0-12 down with only fifteen minutes played.
The self belief was not misplaced and the next fifteen minutes of the game was all Deeside. Ellon’s game plan seemed to focus around the efforts of their large pack whereas Deeside opted to move the ball quickly away from contact. The first break for Deeside came from a quick tap penalty taken by scrum half Matthew Hillier who shipped the ball quickly out to centre George Watt. Watt jinked his way through the first layer of the Ellon defence and finished with a powerful well angled drive to the line. Patrick Nicol added the conversion and the deficit was reduced to only 5 points.
Ill discipline was Ellon’s undoing when their forward was sin binned for a malicious shove on a Deeside player right in front of the referee, after the ball had gone out of play.
Deeside capitalised on the one man advantage in the forwards and their more open style of play soon had the Ellon pack trailing around the park looking for their next rest rather than looking to win the ball.
As Deeside began to work increasing amounts of second phase possession and recycle at ever increasing pace it seemed inevitable that pressure would lead to points.
The prediction came true when fly-half Patrick Nicol collected his own chip over the heads of the Ellon back line and sprinted in to score under the posts. The conversion attempt went uncharacteristically off course and the scores were tied at 12-12 just as the whistle went for half-time.
Most of the second half was played out well into Ellon’s territory with Deeside commanding most of the possession and most of the play. Ellon’s indiscipline once again cost them as they gave away numerous penalties and free kicks for careless and repeated infringements.
Deeside’s dominance of territory and possession eventually paid off and once again it was quick handling by the backline that was decisive. Moving the ball quickly along the backline was the key element from Joe Grimble at scrum half, via Sam Morris in the centre to fullback John Crilly joining the line with deadly precision for the score. George Watt added the conversion form wide and Deeside now had the lead they wanted.
It was Deeside’s day with a final score of Deeside 19 Ellon 12. Following the game Deeside were presented with the Caledonia U16 Shield and also with the U16 Caledonia North East league champions’ cup having won the league early in the season.
They also collected the league trophy to pass on to the Desside U18 team who have also had a very successful season.