Greens are victims of second-half mugging at Ellon
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Caithness were left licking their wounds after being the victims of a second-half mugging in Ellon on Saturday.
Their 26-21 defeat leaves the club still seeking a first win at the Meadows. It also makes clear the Greens' self-imposed demotion to Caley League 1 offers no guarantee of a return ticket.
The task gets no easier this Saturday as they head north to face fellow promotion hopefuls Orkney.
It had all been going so well for Ewen Boyd's men as they built up a 21-5 lead at the Meadows early in the second half.
A feisty start yielded a try after 15 minutes when a spell of continuity play climaxed with Grant Anderson's offload putting his brother Marc under the posts.
Gordie Macleod then was the final cog in another flowing sequence which put the left winger in the clear.
Marc Anderson goaled before Ellon reduced the deficit with a try just before half-time.
Soon after the resumption, the visitors extended their lead when good link-ups fractured the defence and Hamish Coghill crossed, with Scott Webster adding the extras.
It was to prove one of the few bright spots of the half as the home outfit inexorably took control.
Helped by opponents who regularly fell foul of the referee, they ran in another two tries and added three penalties and a conversion.
The visiting cause was hampered by Marc Anderson's replacement through injury at half-time.
With the squad already depleted by several eleventh-hour call-offs, the reshuffle saw Webster take over at fly half while number eight Evan Sutherland was an emergency redeployment in midfield.
Head coach Boyd was not searching for excuses.
"We deserved to lose," he said. "It was disappointing how it panned out.
"We started well and could have scored more points with the spells of pressure we had in the first half."
He accepts they were not at the races after the interval with unforced errors and needless infringements helping to hand the advantage to the hosts.
"We weren't as good tactically as we should have been and our mistakes kept putting ourselves under pressure," Boyd said.
"Their players off the bench also made a big impact."
Boyd believes the fitness level of his squad also needs to improve.
Coghill is unavailable for the trip to Kirkwall, while Marc Anderson, Douglas Webster, Charlie Quinn and Kris Hamilton will have late fitness tests.
Boyd said: "We'll be taking a strong squad over. We played them in pre-season and they are a big, powerful team.
"They are physical up front and physical in their back line. They're a typical Orkney side – they don't take a backward step and we know it will be a tough match."
Orkney missed out on Saturday after their scheduled home clash with Glenrothes was postponed.
Aberdeen Wanderers edged out Dunfermline 24-20, while Grangemouth Stags were 50-12 victors over Blairgowrie.
Caithness 2nds got back to winning ways with a 31-15 victory in their Caley 4 North home tussle with Turriff.
A sizeable crowd on Saturday watched the first clash between the clubs, and it was a keenly contested affair.
A penalty potted by Fraser Geddes rewarded an opening spell of pressure by the pink-clad visitors.
They repelled a series of dangerous incursions by the Yellows before pacy home full back Ben Alba found his way over for a try improved by Jamie Mowat.
Turriff responded with a breakaway try by Mark Davidson, goaled by Geddes. Touchdowns either side of the break by wing Sean MacKenzie and centre Jack Sibbald had Caithness 17-10 in front.
The dogged visitors struck back with a five-pointer from Corey Sneddon.
However, they flagged in the final 15 minutes when converted Caithness tries by prop Jamie Munro and a second from Alba took them clear.
Home coach Cameron Boyd said: "I asked them to take them on a bit up front but it was clear from early on that we were getting a lot of joy going wide early.
"It was a really good contest but I think our fitness told in the end."
Caithness man of the match was regular winger Jack Floyd, who made a more than decent fist of his first outing at scrum half.
The Yellows next play Peterhead away a week on Saturday.