Ayr Ladies and Stewartry Sirens entertained the crowd with a try-fest at Millbrae on Friday night, but it was the visitors who came away with the win in the third round of the BT Premier League.
Stewartry had the lion's share of possession in the first quarter, with Ayr's back row of Rachael Mulholland, Kelsey Swift and Rachel Morrison leading the defence, backed up by centres Catriona Cowan and Laura McTaggart.
The back row proved handy in attack too, as did second rows Phoebe McDowall and Joanne Jones and props Laura Turner and Lauren Gunn.
But the Sirens were always ready to turn over and if they couldn't break that pink and black wall at first, they chipped away. Their patience was rewarded with an unconverted try. 0-5.
Ayr half-backs Catherine Shennan and Emily Irving were keen to boss the game but never got the chance in the first half, the Sirens smothering them and mopping up any errors. An interception and some incredibly fast footwork brought them another try, the conversion bouncing off the upright. 0-10.
It was an enjoyable game from a Stewartry perspective as they scored yet again (and yet again the conversion hit the post). 0-15.
But Ayr Ladies never give less than their all, as exemplified with some tenacious work at the scrum. Morrrison and Gunn got their heads down and went for the line, but the ladies from Castle Douglas were on their A game with their cover tackles.
They overthrew at the line-out though, allowing Turner to spark the attack. It was newcomer Claire Law, playing at full-back, who scurried over in the blink of an eye for a try. Shennan converted. 7-15.
Ayr hooker Lisa Croniken made several terrific breaks over the course of the evening, but the ladies in dark pink always managed to close her down. Their backs were like lightning, and Law and winger Kirsty Wilson were busy hauling them to the ground before they could do too much damage.
It wasn't enough though, as the Sirens slipped through and under the crossbar for a converted try. 7-22.
Mulholland tore their defence apart with half-time approaching, Jones, Turner, Irving, Gunn, Law and winger Lisa Main in support.
A brief stoppage for a Sirens injury gave everyone a breather but Ayr quickly got back into it, Turner shooting over for a try, Shennan converting. 14-22.
A mistake at the start of the second half gave Ayr a scrum on the half-way line, Mulholland breaking away from the back and superbly handing off a defender. Swift, who was here, there and everywhere throughout the evening, Cowan and Shennan took on the ball but couldn't breach the defence.
A series of penalties took the oomph out of the game but Croniken soon put it back in with a scintillating try and Shennan got another great conversion. 21-22.
Sirens still had plenty gas left in the tank and after poaching Ayr's line-out, made for the try-line only to knock on.
They soon regained possession, but Ayr then turned over after solid tackles by Law and Wilson, and more blasting runs by Mulholland and Croniken.
The ball loose, Swift hacked on for Turner to chase. Stewartry retrieved it and cleared.
Ayr leaked a couple of penalties to put the pressure back on, and a beautiful dink over the top of the defence and deft catch by the Sirens gave them another try. It was unconverted. 21-27.
The home team were still undaunted, the centres and back row forcing their way out of their own half. After a penalty against the Sirens, Mulholland sprinted away for a try. The conversion eluded Shennan. 26-27.
The match just started to get away from Ayr though. The longer it went on, the more the Sirens' confidence grew. They got another converted try between the sticks and an unconverted one (a third kick to hit the post) in the corner. 26-39.
Great handling by Gunn and Swift let Mulholland loose and she claimed her second try of the evening. Shennan converted in front of the posts. 33-39.
Stewartry got a penalty and after swithering whether to go for the posts (those three that hit the upright on their minds?), they took the corner. It didn't bring them any points, but their power at the scrum did. They shoved Ayr off the ball right at the end to get their final converted try. 33-46.
- Elena Hogarth.