(Friendly 25/08/2018) Aberdeenshire RFC 22 - 26 Ellon RFC

Posted on August 31, 2018


KO 03:00, August 25, 2018 Woodside Sports Complex
(Friendly 25/08/2018) Aberdeenshire RFC 22 - 26 Ellon RFC

The 25th of August saw the first game of the brand new season played on the Woodside turf. Hordes of literally tens of people made it down the cobbled lane under the new improved redoubling of train tracks between Aberdeen and Dyce which is one part of ‘The Aberdeen – Inverness Improvement Project’ due for completion in 2019. The weather was a mixed bag of overcast sunny spells with some blustery wind. A very late Friday night call off by Peterhead meant that Aberdeenshire were through to the next round in the Caledonia Bowl, but without a game on Saturday – once again. Thankfully Garioch also pulled out of their fixture with Ellon, meaning a ‘Shire vs Ellon fixture was on the cards. After a short discussion between coaches (Barny’s way or the highway) the venue was agreed at Woodside. Following a very positive training session on Thursday, the Aberdeenshire men were keen to lay a marker down to their Ythanite rivals and were ready for the challenge of a team two leagues above.

The visitors started the game with a fine speed with some hard midfield running only to be turned over by the 6th tackle. Where the Shire men started to build their attack with a mixture of backs and forwards working in tandem to make good yardage. Some good carries by Captain Blazer Doorman and Josh Taylor and some hard tackling showed that both teams were not likely to give an inch. A good turnover from James Handsome Halmshaw in his own 22 allowed a clearance kick by young gun Ross Greig who, misjudging the swirling breeze, allowed a counter attack from the shire back three. Harrow and Cunningham combined after some broken tackles and great running got Tom Watson over the line to give Aberdeenshire the first blood. Craig Parslow was observed nervously jotting ideas down in his now trademark clipboard and flipped through the pages to see which part of his game plan had allowed the Woodside men to score first. The Shire team walked confidently back to the half way and up stepped Jamie ‘Ray Finkle’ Stephens to slot the extras - but to the forwards disbelief the wind took it wide of the posts. Toys immediately were thrown out of the pram and Gav Cunningham was installed as the new kicker.

Ellon went back to strong running in the midfield (oddly their inside centre seemed to have the number 2 on his back) and after some excellent defence from Shire to hold them back, the captain and centre D. Sharp rambled under the posts allowing Grieg to add the extras. The home team’s heads could have gone down at this point but due to sustained pressure from the men playing in the uncustomary Blue and White (#BlueandWhite) a penalty was awarded for an Ellon player infringing at the ruck. Jamie Stephen, despite the wind, found an excellent touch just inside the Ellon 22. Excellent lineout work from Captain Taser Fiveman and the resulting maul showed the Shire supporters that this year would be no different to any other year. “Expansive rugby has become a swearword in these parts” gloated Ian Clayton from the side-line. “That’s top class gloating” roared Mark Littlejohn. The excellent and beautifully constructed maul slowly and almost effortlessly drove the Ellon forwards backwards. As the maul was infringed upon this gave the Shire men advantage to attack. Some excellent back play broke holes in the defence and after collecting a delightful offload from the soft hands of Stephens the handsome shire man was held up and the referee awarded a 5 metre scrum to the home team. After many resets and couple of collapses by the Brewdog Bruisers™, Shire eventually kept the scrum square and over went Kenny Penman for a well-deserved try. With the wind at an almost hurricane speed newly installed kicker Gavin couldn’t knock over the additional points.

The tactical masterclass from Barny Henderson meant that even after all those scrums he still had Steven Cook to come on. With ten minutes to go before half time, newcomer Shane Lafferty was replaced by the “Cookie Monster” and he took no time to get on the score sheet, taking a ball back inside 10, stepping round 2 tackles and crashing through another 3 to get the try right under the posts. Gav, with the posts at his mercy, managed to slot this one home – a very challenging kick... Shire looked in great shape going into the interval, after putting a good amount of pressure on the Ellon lads. The blonde scrum half Callum Addy relieved some pressure with a large box kick aided by the wind pinned the ever ready try scorer Tom Watson in his own 22. As he collected the ball he was under enormous pressure and like any other fullback just wanted to kick it away – we have it on good authority he was aiming to just brush the blocking players’ hands with the ball, so that the resulting lineout would be Shires. Unfortunately, it was slightly misjudged and the block was made, allowing Ryan Notton to dot it down under the posts. Grieg slotted the extra 2 with almost no effort.

Half Time

In the huddle the Shire men talked over how they would improve their game. Barny interjected and said we should take a moment to talk about our feelings and emotions with one another, which helped enormously. After this impromptu therapy session, all minds were clear, calm and the guys were ready for the second half.

It started well with a clash of heads between shire flanker Pablo Torres and Shire Captain Laser Fourmoon. The Physio - Neil McShenanigans added these 2 to his already large patient list. Craig Parslow now had two clipboards out, trying to get inside the wily Barny Henderson’s head. The first 20 minutes of the half were laden with mistakes from both teams. Both teams trying to get a foothold in each-others half with Jamie Stephens making the most of the breeze and his enormous boot, trying to pin the Ellon men in their own half. Some great running rugby from Ellon saw Halmshaw over the line. This was converted once again by Grieg. The Shire pack sprung into life and with the addition of young gun John “Hendo” Henderson, Drew Forbes and centurion Peni Dagaga to the fold, were somewhat sturdier. The backs were bolstered by Andrew Falconer, Robert Quinn (who despite playing extremely well was eventually subbed off to go to hospital for stitches after yet another head knock), McBain and Lynchy. Alan Stuart controlled the game from the base of the ruck and the addition of “pace” from the bench gave Shire a foot-hold in Ellon's half. Kenny Penman then seemed to engage some kind of force-field around his body, making him impossible to tackle - he sailed over for his second try of the game. Poor Gavin Cunningham had taken on a thankless task and failed to add the extras. This meant for the last 10 minutes Shire were up 22-21. Ellon wasted no time and after some huge pressure to the shire defence Halmshaw got over for his second of the game. Grieg missed the conversion meaning that there were four points in it. Shire put Ellon under huge pressure for the last 5 minutes. With some favourable refereeing decisions on “both sides” the final whistle blew and Ellon had triumphed over a dejected shire team that had given it their all. Craig Parslow was seen putting away his third and final clipboard, which was reported to have had PLAN C written on it.

Final Score : Shire 22 Ellon 26

A huge game by all the players provided a useful hit out against a team two divisions above the Aberdeenshire men. This blend of old and young players shows there is promising times ahead for the Woodside boys and should compete well against teams in our league providing we can keep up the momentum. MOTM was Shane ‘The Beard’ Lafferty despite his uncanny resemblance to Elbow front man Guy Garvey. DOTD was given to Tom ‘The Other Brother Is Better’ Watson, who despite being handsome and having completely no body hair whatsoever, has proven that fullbacks cannot and should not be allowed to kick a rugby ball.

Match Report by James Laurence Dooley 📝

Shire Team:

1. Camilo Torres
2. James Dooley
3. Shane Lafferty
4. Paul Watson
5. Frazer Forman
6. Josh Carr
7. Josh Taylor
8. Kenny Penman
9. Alan Stuart
10. Jamie Stephen
11. Drew Forbes
12. Gavin Cunningham
13. Paul Harrow
14. Khalid El Hidane
15. Tom Watson
16. John Henderson
17. Robert Quinn
18. Andrew Falconer
19. Nick McBain
20. Matthew Lynch
21. Peni Dagaga

Next up we have Gordonians 2XV at home in the Referee's Cup! 🏉

Saturday 1st of September ⏰ Kick Off 3pm 📍 Woodside Sports Complex


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