Ayr Rugby Football Club

Ayr were humbled by Watsonians at Millbrae in round nine of the BT Premiership.

The visitors set their stall out early, rumbling over the line but not managing to ground the ball. Moments later and their fly-half Ewan Fox did get the score, with full-back Andrew Chalmers adding the extras. 0-7.
Ayr put their foot on the gas with an exciting attack, instigated by the second row of Scott Sutherland Jonathan Agnew, the latter offloading beautifully to hooker Lewis Anderson. Captain Pete McCallum and winger Craig Gossman were in on the act too, but the phases came to nothing.

Handling from both sides was poor in places, and although Ayr were harrying Watsonians, they couldn't capitalise on their opponents' errors.

The penalty count started early for the home side, and Chalmers landed a kick to stretch Watsonians' lead. 0-10.
Ayr replied quickly with inside centre Frazier Climo launching himself over the line after a good burst by prop George Hunter. Scott Lyle converted. 7-10.

Hunter was appearing all over the park, displaying great hands to link up with fly-half Paddy Dewhirst, flanker Tommy Spinks and Climo, and his perfectly timed inside pass let scrum-half Harry Warr slip through a gap in the Watsonians defence.

A couple of strong scrums from the visitors helped them regain some control of the match, but all of a sudden, McCallum appeared with the ball and bounded for the line, with nobody able to stop him. It was a conversion attempt from the touchline and Lyle couldn't make it. 12-10.
Watsonians found a massive hole in the Ayr defense and raced away towards the try-line but the referee called them back for an earlier high tackle, much to the relief of the home crowd.

There wasn't much relief for the Millbrae faithful after that, however. Watsonians' handling may have been a bit iffy on a damp day, but their footwork was excellent, and, despite some fierce tackling by Ayr full-back Brandon Thomson, outside centre Rory Hutton sprinted away for a try, with Chalmers converting. 12-17.
Lyle lined up a long-range penalty but although the kick had the distance, it didn't have the accuracy.

Chalmers had a penalty kick moments later after Ayr were adjudged to have been offside - a charge levelled at them throughout the afternoon - and got it. 12-20.

Ayr came out of the blocks strong in the second half, McCallum showing impressive speed and agility, but they were getting pinged for infringements at an alarming rate.

Winger Scott Lyle, prop Adam Prentice and flanker George Stokes were busy in defence, as was Blair Macpherson, who came on for an injured Agnew in the first half.

There was no stopping Watsonians flanker Rory Drummond from scoring, and Chalmers converted. 12-27.
Again, Ayr were said to be offside, but Watsonians couldn't do anything with the penalty line-out.

Robin Hislop made his first appearance since joining Ayr in the summer and overcoming a lingering injury. He was straight into action, joining the defence. McCallum turned that defence into attack, ripping the ball from Watsonians hands.

The crowd was getting increasingly frustrated by the penalty count, but Chalmers missed the latest shot at goal.

Anderson, replacement Jamie Bova and Climo and his fellow centre Danny McCluskey were gritty in defence but Watsonians found a way through and it was the rollicking Drummond who made a charge for the line again. Chalmers converted from in front of the posts. 12-34.

Winger Ally Davidson got a quick try, with Chalmers converting. 12-41.

Ayr couldn't get a grip on the game at all, and the referee seemed to have his whistle at his mouth with unusual regularity.

Davidson claimed his second try of the day, and Chalmers got the extras. 12-48.

There was a short break whilst Climo was attended to by the medical team, and when the match resumed there wasn't enough time for either side to do anything before the referee blew the whistle, this time signalling the end of a very tough afternoon for Ayr and an impressive one for Watsonians.

Final score: Ayr 12 Watsonians 48.
With thanks to match sponsor Warranty Services and ball sponsor Ayr County Ayrshire Cattle Club.

It was a tight match for the 2nd XVs in BT National Reserve 1, with Watsonians just pipping Ayr 13-10. Cameron Reece scored a try for Ayr, with James Armstrong kicking a conversion and a penalty. Michael Badenhorst was man of the match.

_Photos courtesy of George McMillan. Please seek permission before reproducing for commercial or other journalistic purposes.
- Elena Hogarth._