Picky - Saturday 1st December, 2012
Orkney RFC 33, Ellon RFC 19
After a minute’s silence for great club supporter Willie Eunson, Orkney got stuck in right from the start and things looked positive as the crowd began to gather in more numbers – and under bright skies - round the frost-edged running track.
However, Ellon were standing up well to the attacks and Orkney found it difficult to cut through the yellow ribbon of their defence. Jon Tait attempted to go through the middle and then Philip Ross came wide right as Orkney played towards the Peedie Sea end in the first half.
The pressure from the home side increased midway through the half and a couple of scrums inside Ellon’s 22 eventually saw Orkney take possession and winning a penalty wide on the left. They kicked into the corner and used the lineout to drive for the line, with Danny Bain the player touching down for the first try. He was just wide with his conversion attempt.
There was some stoppage for a leg injury to an Ellon player, forcing them into a change, shortly after Orkney’s Billy Elliot had also been replaced after a knock.
Soon after the restart Ellon looked the sharper as they took full advantage of a gap in the Orkney line for Ryan Bowran to go over for an unconverted try to make it 5-5 after 30 minutes.
Orkney were right back at Ellon from the restart and a great break saw William Thomson feeding Jon Tait a well-timed pass to let him burst through the Ellon line, shrugging off a couple of half tackles on the way to a fine individual try. Danny Bain was again just wide with his conversion as snow began to drive across the darkening Picky pitch.
Into injury time and Adam Baird had a great break through the middle, making good ground before Ellon gave away a penalty. Danny Bain went for the posts this time and his kick was right on target to make it 13-5 with the last kick of the first half.
Orkney started brightly in the second half and Garry Coltherd was close to getting his third try in as many matches as the home side pressed the Ellon line early on. Bruce Ruthven then blocked a clearing kick to keep the momentum with Orkney and a scrum five metres out looked promising. Orkney couldn’t get clean ball away though and had to be content with a lineout 15 metres out. They drove on again and continued to press until it was another penalty opportunity that saw Danny Bain add to his tally and extend Orkney’s lead to 16-5.
Ellon were not done though, and minutes later they were over the Orkney line having turned defence into attack to see Kieron Dalgarno go over. He converted his own try to close the gap to 16-12 with 50 minutes gone.
Orkney could have taken better advantage of a slip at an Ellon lineout, when their thrower dropped the ball and allowed Steven Groat to rush up the line with support quickly following, but that move broke down. Another Ellon break was quashed before Orkney attacked again and it was Jon Tait going over on the right for his second of the afternoon. Danny Bain’s composure was exemplary as he slotted the conversion with a sudden haily shower driving across the pitch – Orkney 23, Ellon 16.
As Orkney sought the bonus try in the final quarter of the match they were held up on the line after a lineout on the left saw them drive at Ellon again, but then a scrum gave them another chance and this time it was Bryan Linklater who grounded the ball for the bonus point, Danny Bain again true with the boot for a 30-16 lead.
With 15 minutes to go Orkney looked more confident and were probing with kicks and breaks as Ellon struggled to find a way back in. They gave away another penalty in a kickable position and, with the wind having died away again, it was a relatively easy one for Danny Bain to send over for Orkney’s final points of the match.
Ellon did get a consolation try at the end though, with an interception allowing David Ilyne to score under the posts and Kieron Dalgarno to convert easily. However, at 33-19 it was too little too late and Orkney had the third bonus win under their belts.
Man of the match was Jon Tait, with Steven Groat and Philip Ross also presented with commemorative shirts to mark their 100th league appearances for Orkney.
This Saturday Orkney are due to host Highland, who sit seventh, a place above them in the table. Both sides have 22 points but Highland have played only 10 matches to Orkney’s 12. The match is due to kick off at 1pm at Pickaquoy.