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Greens aim to notch up a first win at Ellon after clash with Wanderers is called off

By Iain Grant

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Head coach Ewen Boyd: 'We just need to concentrate on what we do best.'
Head coach Ewen Boyd: 'We just need to concentrate on what we do best.'

Covid-19's malevolent influence meant Caithness 1sts were left kicking their heels again last Saturday after their home clash with Aberdeen Wanderers was called off.

The Greens learned the bad news in an email from Scottish Rugby the day before.

Head coach Ewen Boyd said: "We had an inkling through the week as we heard from Wanderers that they were dealing with possible Covid issues.

"We then got the communication from Scottish Rugby late on Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, this could be a theme for the season."

The decision about whether games can go ahead when virus-related concerns arise is removed from the clubs, with the ruling body having the final say. It is a process that Boyd supports to help minimise the risks of transmission.

Caithness will continue to take all the recommended precautions, with all their squad on Saturday's Caley Division 1 trip to Ellon being required to return a negative result from a rapid lateral flow test.

Boyd said: "We've got a responsibility to look after the players, their families and our communities. It's a situation we need to manage as best we can."

Caithness took the decision to voluntarily step down from National League 3 to reduce the number of overnight trips on their fixture list. The downside of that is that players have to play soon after four to five hours sitting on a minibus.

Following the postponement of the away game in Orkney – for reasons unrelated to the pandemic – the Greens will have gone three weeks away from active duty.

Boyd is, however, bullish about Saturday's trip in which his side will be looking to notch up their first win in Ellon.

"We do not have much idea what they are like or how they play – we just need to concentrate on what we do best," he said.

Centre Douglas Webster is unavailable as a result of a shoulder injury, while scrum half Kris Hamilton could be forced to miss out as he continues to recover from a foot injury.

Ellon followed up their high-scoring draw with Grangemouth with an edge-of-the-seat 35-33 victory over Blairgowrie on Saturday.

Orkney made it two wins out of two with a 29-5 victory over Dunfermline in Kirkwall, while Hillfoots chalked up their maiden success with an 18-17 win in Glenrothes

Caithness 2nds, meanwhile, went down with all guns blazing on Saturday against Highland 3XV in Inverness in Caley North 4.

The Yellows looked to be heading for a heavy defeat as they trailed 31-5 going into the final quarter of the match at Canal Park. But their superior fitness and never-say-die spirit yielded three tries to leave their hosts hanging on to a 31-24 lead with minutes remaining.

A powerful Caithness surge took them over the line only for desperate defence to prevent the ball being grounded in the final meaningful action of an absorbing contest.

The visiting man of the match Ken Alba was first to score, with his well-taken try giving his side an early lead. But three converted tries and a penalty before the break and a further converted touchdown early in the second period had the Eagles firmly in charge.

Full-back Alba crossed again during the late fightback in which Mikey Macgregor and Max Kennedy also ran in tries, with Jamie Mowat adding two conversions.

Skipper Michael Tait said: "It was the proverbial game of two halves. They were well on top in the first half but we came back strongly in the final quarter.

"The boys really dug in and I thought we looked on course to win, but we didn't quite do it."

The Yellows are at Millbank on Saturday when Turriff are the visitors. It has a 3pm kick-off.

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