Ayr Rugby Football Club

Angus Hyde @ Millbrae.

After going top over the new year following their emphatic win over Melrose, Ayr extended their stay as Tennent’s Premiership frontrunners with a close, hotly contested game against Boroughmuir at Millbrae.

Ayr opened the game with intent, piling on the pressure within the first few minutes of the game and knocking on the door of Boroughmuir’s try line. The home side came close when Paddy Kelly made a darting run, before a sublime offload to Paddy Dewhirst who then chipped the Boroughmuir defence in hope of an opening try, but the ball took an unlucky bounce into touch, ending Ayr’s attack. 

Although pushing the visitors hard at the start, Ayr made several mistakes when on the brink of putting points on the board, with two separate penalties proving to be the saviour for Boroughmuir. 

However, Ayr eventually broke through at the 15-minute mark, opening the scoring through a fantastic 20-metre catch and drive maul, finishing off with Pat MacArthur touching down. High-flying Frazier Climo made no mistake in adding to the score line as the Kiwi converted the try with ease.

The visitors almost instantly grabbed an equaliser had it not been for an unlucky forward pass as Jordan Edmunds’ piercing run and offload left Ayr exposed on the wing. A determined Boroughmuir continued to press but impressive defensive efforts from Ayr, spearheaded by captain Peter McCallum, denied the Edinburgh outfit. 

Seven minutes to half-time the home side squandered a chance to increase their lead with the boys pushing hard on the Boroughmuir five in similar style to the first try, however, they were stopped only by a hand as the visitors held up the attacking effort forcing the turnover.

HALF TIME: Ayr 7-0 Boroughmuir 

At the break Ayr were on top but it wasn’t over just yet, with Boroughmuir making their presence known to the league leaders by presenting a couple of dangerous attacks and impressive defensive efforts. A couple of errors leading up to potential scoring opportunities had Murchie urging his team to be more clinical as they returned to the dressing room. 

The second half started with a bang, as the Millbrae side put on relentless pressure after Paddy Kelly made headway deep into the Boroughmuir 22 resulting in two scrums for Ayr which continued their assault on the opposition try line. Ayr broke through eventually on 46 minutes as Grant Anderson finished off an impressive move from Climo, who stepped the defender before offloading to the full-back, gifting Anderson his seventh try of the season. Climo then proceeded to double their lead by conversion, finishing off a fantastic team effort to make the score 14-0.

Boroughmuir then seemed to have a revival, as Tom Wilson evaded three tackles running half of the pitch before being brought down by Anderson, with the pressure continuing as the home side conceded two scrums and, ultimately, being pushed back to their own try line. A third penalty and final warning were given out by referee Michael Todd, just before Boroughmuir forced their way through after high-intensity defending from Ayr. Gav Parker nipped the try for the visitors and finished off his own move by slotting the conversion to give them a valuable seven points with only 15 left to play.

What followed next can only be described as relief for the home side as Boroughmuir broke again with what looked like an agonising equaliser, if not for yet another forward pass denying former Ayr-man Kerr Gossman a try against his old team mates, much to the crowd’s delight. Boroughmuir continued to press Ayr right to the last minute with the away team showing their intent to make sure that the points were shared at the end of the match. 

The two teams stood at 78 minutes in what seemed to be the final standoff in the Ayr 22. A brave defence repulsed the Boroughmuir attack multiple times, leading to a poor pass from the attackers to derail their assault. The turnover from Ayr, courtesy of Dewhirst, signalled that they were intent on staying top of the league, which they achieved as the referee blew for full-time. 

A close game, both teams can credit themselves with a good performance however the Ayr squad can come away with the win as Slater Menswear Man-of-the-Match McCallum steered his team to victory with a strong physical display from a dominant pack.

Ayr now look to extend their winning run when they travel south to face Hawick at Mansfield park this Saturday. 

It was a victorious outing for our second XV as well who downed Boroughmuir twos 24-10. Euan McLaren was named man-of-the-match.