A mixed year on the local sporting front

Ellon have been experiencing a dismal season in rugby's top flight.
Ellon have been experiencing a dismal season in rugby's top flight.

The year about to end was notable in the main for a fascinating soccer World Cup in which Germany proved once again they are the team for all continents.

Winning in Brazil was a great achievement, underling their potency against the best of the best, and anywhere on the planet.

Golf came a close second, though the appeal of the Ryder Cup was diluted by the poor showing of the USA, as Europe eased to a very comfortable victory, taking the sting out of what is normally a very competitive event.

The Commonwealth Games was also an occasion to treasure, even if the winning performances came well short of the world class on show at the London Olympics of 2012.

The warmth of Glasgow people was, however, something to behold, combined with good, sound organisation.

But while there was much to win our admiration on the international scene, it was the local sport activity which kept us on our toes, including the Dons bringing back a trophy to the North-east for the first time in nearly 20 years.

Meanwhile, out at North Lodge Formartine United continue to disappoint in the Highland League, given the hype since Steve Patterson took over as manager.

Losing out in the final three games last season seems to have had a major effect on morale, making it impossible to predict a league victory for the Pitmedden side.

But if Formartine are having a bad time, it is nothing compared to the slump being experienced by Ellon United who seem destined to try the patience of their long-suffering supporters.

Perhaps the return from illness of their number one fan BJ Johnston in 2015 will be the turning point for the Meadows side.

Ellon Amateurs made a better fist of the year, making it through to the latter stages of a number cup competitions, while all the under age teams in the East Gordon area performed to a high standard, sending out a good message for the future.

But while local soccer is having a torrid day, their issues pale beside the problems facing Ellon Rugby who look certain to drop out of the top Caledonian League having won only one game this season.

Confidence seems to be lacking in the generally young team, which for a side that once graced the Premierships is all very sad.

Ellon are of course not alone in suffering a bad time, as North-east rugby is not generally in a good place, given its lack of a top team in the Scottish club game.

A Premiership 1 team is a must if the area is to progress its dream of having a professional team in Aberdeen in the not-too-distant future.

Hockey holds its own in the grand scheme of local sport with both the men’s and women’s game attracting players to the Meadows, though a long way short of winning on the national front. It seems an eternity since Ali McGregor of Ellon Gordon was playing in the summer Olympics.

Ellon Gordon cricket team had in contrast its best summer in years, winning the Aberdeenshire Cup after a gap of 20 years under the shrewd, but forceful leadership of captain Scott White.

White not only led with authority, but starred with bat and ball, taking the team to third place in Grade 1 to sit nicely with its cup win.

The second eleven also enjoyed success, making the club the number one achieving sports organisation in East Gordon in 2014.

Sport is, however, about having fun of which there was plenty in an area which prides itself in promoting sport, not least at the Meadows where the dedicated staff and member clubs attend to the enjoyment of its many young members.