1 month ago
By Ryan Townsley
Two big wins for senior squad
With Ellon newly promoted to Tennents Caledonia League Div 1, Glenrothes travelled north on a very soggy Saturday, optimistic that they could add to their league total. For the first 15 or 20 minutes that optimism seemed completely justified but eventually the Glens had to rely on a late try to scrape home with a bonus point victory.
Glenrothes started with a bang forcing their hosts deep into their own 22m area. A quickly recycled ball was chipped by Michael Delorey into the right corner and Callum Kennedy, who had been calling for the chip, beat the defence to the touch down. Kain Duguid converted to take an early seven point lead.
This didn’t last as the kick-off was knocked on and handled by a Glens player in front of the ball. Ross Greig’s shot at goal narrowed the margin.
Play went back into Ellon territory and the slippery ball gave the attacking Glens players problems with a number of passes going astray or being mishandled. The Reds forwards were enjoying every scrum and won two in quick succession against the head. From the second of these, in front of the posts the ball moved left and when stopped near the corner came back across the pitch where Delorey passed to Callum Calderwood whose slick flip to Kennedy gave the winger his second try. Duguid’s unsuccessful conversion attempt was his first miss of the season.
Ellon struck back and nearly scored a try when Rhys Bryce knocked a penalty kick aimed for the corner into the in-goal area and barely touched down before an opponent. The defence stood firm and play ebbed backwards and forwards until an offside decision on the Glens 22m line allowed Greig to double the home team’s total.
Kennedy fielded a clearance on the Ellon 22m line and took too much time trying to wrong foot his opposite number so that when he tried to offload to Shaun Gray, as he was tackled, the wayward ball drifted harmlessly into touch. His hat trick was however merely delayed as shortly after this another scrum was won against the head, Gavin Emerson picked up, passed to Delorey who again freed the winger and he stepped inside two defenders to touch down. Duguid converted.
At 6-19 up and having scored the only three tries in the game, Glenrothes supporters were looking forward to a comfortable win but the players lost their way. Not only were balls knocked on, misdirected or kicked forward by forwards entering rucks, but Glenrothes discipline was again a problem. A variety of penalties were awarded against them including players in front of a kick not retreating, off side in any number of situations, not releasing a tackled player, holding on to the ball after a tackle and querying the referee’s decisions. In fact a penalty led to Ellon scoring shortly before the interval with a quickly taken tap in the Glens 22m area being taken on by Nicky Fraser who drove over the Glens line. Greig converted to make the half time score 13-19.
The second period started as the first had ended, with Ellon on attack and Glenrothes conceding a penalty which Greig slotted to take Ellon to within 3 points of their visitors.
Frustration was rising on both sides as Glenrothes continued to be penalised by referee, Dave Marshall, and Ellon were unable to take full advantage of this. The game became a little fractious with a few off the ball incidents and a couple of suspect tackles on Glens players which went unpunished. Given the way the game was going, it was only a matter of time before the official took more serious action and Chris Docherty was yellow carded part way through the half for remonstrating with an opponent about a trip in a manner that was felt to be unsportsmanlike. As Docherty’s isolation was drawing to a close, player coach Gavin Emerson joined him in the sin bin after interfering with an opponent at a line out.
Despite their numerical superiority the home team were unable to add to their score with their most promising move petering out with a penalty to Glenrothes for the tackled player holding on to the ball. Greig also had a reasonable attempt at goal but he miskicked and the ball went under the crossbar.
As the game limped towards its conclusion, Glenrothes managed to regain a little of their early dominance and as they did so the balance of penalties shifted, culminating in a yellow card for a high tackle. The subsequent play saw the ball move across the pitch, less smoothly than hoped for, with the majority of Glens players having hands on it at some stage. It was no surprise when a pass from Ryan Venters to Kennedy allowed the winger to grab his fourth try and the Glens try scoring bonus point. Duguid’s conversion attempt came back off the crossbar and while there was time for Ellon to restart Gray quickly dispatched the ball into touch, heralding the final whistle.
While five league points are very welcome and the Glens can use the weather as a mitigating factor in their unusually untidy handling, the coaching staff cannot have been happy with the manner of victory. While they did well to hold Ellon to one try, discipline, or lack of it, continues to be a problem for the Reds and Mr Marshall was merely the latest official to penalise Glenrothes more often than their opponents. Some of these penalties were down to things that can be addressed at training such as support for the ball carrier being slow to arrive, but until players realise the futility of querying referees’ decisions they will continue to suffer the wrath of the officials. Callum Kennedy’s pace and trickery will be missed when he heads for the Antipodes in a couple of weeks’ time but his haul of tries and occasional flashes from Gray and left winger Rhys Bryce point to the area where the Glens are most potent. As the pack has enjoyed the upper hand in set scrums and at least parity in line outs in most games this season, there should be enough opportunities to use the pace that the backs possess. Stevie Dean’s crunching tackles, after a rocky start to the game, resulted in him being adjudged man of the match for his central role in preventing Ellon from fully capitalising on their period of dominance.
Meanwhile in Dundee, Glens’ 2nd string enjoyed a romp against Stobswell who began the game with only 13 players. From the kick off the result was in little doubt, as Lee Gartshore fielded the ball and ran 60m through the host side to score the opening try. Further five pointers from Ewan Arthur, Kyle Mcintosh(3), Callum May(2), Billy Napier (returning from a lengthy suspension), Derek Mitchell(3), Ross Wiggins, Craig Kinnear and Kaylan Dewar (also the man of the match) along with 11 conversions from McIntosh (9) and Mitchell(2) contributed to Glens 92 point haul. Injuries during the game reduced Stobbie even further and they “borrowed” some of the Reds to complete the game which is how McIntosh was able to add Stobswell’s only points with a try late in the game to add to his 33 points for the Glens.
Next weekend both teams are in action at Carleton Park where Grangemouth Stags face the first XV and the 2nds entertain Hillfoots second string. Both games kick off at 3pm
Updated 10:46 - 18 Oct 2018 by Ryan Townsley