Boost for Ellon’s top-flight survival

Ellon Rugby's Matthew Emmison in action.
Ellon Rugby's Matthew Emmison in action.

Ellon’s position in Caledonia Division 1 looks more secure, even though they had no game at the weekend.

Their hopes of escaping relegation were boosted by St Andrews University losing 42-0 at home to Strathmore on Saturday.

It leaves the Fife side seven points adrift at the foot of the division, and nine behind Ellon.

The Meadows men helped their cause two weeks ago when they returned to form against the students with a 26-3 win.

A win for Ellon in Dundee where they play Morgan Academy would almost certainly see them safely clear of the threat of going down.

Captain Nicki Fraser, who has been a key figure in the club’s revival, said: “It’s now in our own hands.”

Last week’s break from domestic duty gave the players and officials the opportunity to watch the national team in action in Rome where Scotland came from behind to beat Italy with a last-gasp drop goal from stand off Duncan Weir.

Fraser said: “Just like Scotland we can get ourselves out of a hole. The Scottish win was a great inspiration.”

Scotland will return to Murrayfield on March 8 when the play France looking to build on the Rome revival.

Ellon will have one more game to play after the Dundee trip when they meet Strathmore at the Meadows, by which time their future in Division 1 could be assured.

Meanwhile, the club continues to provide first class players for the top flight of the Scottish club game.

Matthew Emmison became the latest in a long line of Ellon players to play for Aberdeen Grammar when he came on for the last half hour of the Rubislaw side’s splendid Scottish Cup win against Edinburgh Accies on Saturday.

The back rower made a significant contribution to the win, tackling as though his young life depended on it as the Aberdeen side successfully defended their narrow 13-8 lead to march into the semi-finals of the competition.

The win was all the sweeter for the teenager, as the game was played at Murrayfield after the game had been switched to an all-weather pitch behind the national stadium.

Aberdeen Grammar head coach Kevin Wyness, who is also a former Ellon player and coach, praised Emmison’s effort.

He said: “Matthew came on at crucial time when we were defending our lead. He did not put a foot wrong, and helped us reach the semi-finals.”

In recent years the Meadows side have produced key players for the Aberdeen side, including Andrew Wilson who then went on to gain a full cap for his country.

Nicki Fraser, the current Ellon captain, was also at Rubislaw, rated as one of the top props in the Scottish club game until returning to the Meadows.

Others to make their mark at Rubislaw are the three Ryan brothers Greig who is currently captain of the side and was among Saturday heroes, along with his brothers Mark and Sam, though it was another former Ellon player who grabbed the headlines.

Full back Steve Aitken glided in for what proved to be the winning score 10 minutes into the second half.

Ellon team manager Colin Tennant hailed the appearance of Emmison: “It’s good to see our players making their mark. It proves we are doing something right at the Meadows.

“Grammar getting to a national final would be just great, especially if they have a contingent from Ellon.”