Ellon coach takes positives from opener

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Ellon coach Ryan Morrice is calling for positivity this season, despite his side losing 35-8 in their opener against Glenrothes.

Morrice revealed that it was less than 24 hours before kick-off until he had 15 confirmed players for the Caledonia Shield game, but said that the “score did not reflect the game”.

He added: “There were more positives than negatives, and our forwards went well as a unit. It is a case of learning and learning this season.”

Morrice has a raft of young players moving up from the team’s under 18 set-up who he says he is not afraid to “throw in at the deep end” to gain experience.

But for this game he had to rely on more experienced hands to fill in where needed.

Flanker Jamie Simpson stepped in on the wing given the player shortage and, but for a well-timed Glenrothes tackle holding him up, would have been rewarded for his efforts with a try.

Number eight James Halmshaw was also denied a late score with the ball being tapped from his fingers as he stretched for the try line.

Halmshaw was successful earlier in the game, scoring Ellon’s only try, and fly half Callum Cruickshank added a penalty.

The defeat leaves the side licking their wounds ahead of their first Caledonia 1 game versus Morgan Academy FPs on Saturday, September 6.

Ellon have narrowly avoided relegation from the increasingly competitive league for two years running, fighting their way through relegation playoffs on both occasions.

Morrice said: “We know it’s going to be tough. It always is.

“We’ve some hard away fixtures against Highland, Orkney and Caithness. They’re always good at home.

“But if we get our pack up and running, we’ll be hard to beat this season at home too.

“If they want to beat us at The Meadows, they will have to play their best.”