For the second season running, Ellon look set to fight for their place in Caledonia 1 through the relegation playoffs.
The maroon and golds lost 13-15 to Strathmore RFC at the Meadows on Saturday in their last regular league game of the season, putting their future in the league in doubt.
The bonus point loss keeps them ahead of Mackie Academy FPs, but the Stonehaven side only need two points from their game with Strathmore on Saturday to put Ellon in the playoffs.
Against Strathmore, Ellon were out-muscled in the scrummage and missed the presence of their talismanic captain Nicki Fraser, but dominated the line-out and spent much of the second-half camped in the opposition 22.
An early Andrew Ovenstone penalty and tries from hooker Ali Edwards and number eight Liam Slaven – who was a metre making machine for the home side – were not enough to take the win for Ellon who gave up several easy penalty kicks in search of a
try bonus point.
The team’s chances were not helped by the serious injury to their outside centre Callum Duncan, who went off in the second-half with a suspected dislocated leg.
Ellon coach Ryan Morrice said: “Once again we snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. The boys worked hard for it but we didn’t get the breaks.
“We always set out to build in the first-half and put the pressure on, then try and establish a base through our driving lineout.
“We had them on the backburner and I think if we’d got that next try we would have gone on to get the fourth.
“It’s just disappointing, a sore one to take. Apart from our scrummaging, we dominated the whole game, but we couldn’t get that final pass away. That has been the story of our season unfortunately.
“It’s looking like the playoffs. We were here this time last year so we’ve just got to pick the boys up and take it again.”