Relegated Ellon Rugby hope to finish their season in Caledonia 1 on a high, despite suffering a heavy defeat away to league leaders Gordonians on Saturday, writes Jack Calvert.
Following the 63-0 loss, the side host Strathmore in their final home game of the season on Saturday before travelling to Caithness on April 18.
Forwards coach Ryan Morrice said: “It’s going to be a tough physical game against Strathmore. I was saying to the boys, ‘let’s go out with a bang at home and finish the season on a high and get that home win’.
“It’s sponsors’ day as well so there should be a half decent crowd. We’ll try and show them that we’re not as bad as the league position suggests.”
Against Gordonians, Ellon played well in patches but struggled for match fitness, and were not helped by being shorthanded.
Morrice said: “It kind of went the way we thought it would. We’re not getting many to training so it’s very much a scratch team.
“Two boys pulled out yesterday morning which only gave us 15 for the day and, against a team like Gordonians that run the ball a lot, it was always going to be a tough shift.”
Ellon hooker Deane Schembri was injured 10 minutes into the second half, meaning the team played for 30 minutes with 14 men.
Morrice said: “They stuck at it. When we kept it tight, we were competitive, but as soon as we got it past five phases our guys were tired because they aren’t training. They were getting isolated and then turned over.
“But Gordonians are a very good side. Their backline is probably the best in the division. Once it broke up and they got into a bit of space, we were just struggling to keep up with them all over the pitch.”
The match was the last game of the season for Gordonians who were looking to rack up as many points as possible to try to keep promotion rivals Orkney and Highland at bay.
Morrice said: “They scored a few quick tries and then took their foot off the pedal a little bit, which was good for us, but will be a wee bit disappointing for them. They need other results to go their way and it’s Orkney’s league to lose really.”