Ayr Rugby Football Club

Ayr roared to a bonus-point victory over Heriot's at Millbrae in round seven of the BT Premiership.

It was the proverbial flying start for the men in pink and black as inside centre Stafford McDowall's galloping break released fly-half Frazier Climo and he cruised away for the opening try, which outside centre Scott Lyle converted, to the delight of the home crowd. 7-0.
Heriot's went on a rumble up the park, thanks to number eight Jack Turley, but it was Ayr winger Robbie Nairn who was in full bull-dozer mode, his opposite number John Rae not standing a chance at stopping him when he had the ball in hand.

Rae, though, was equally dangerous early on, and Climo had to spring into action to bring him crashing down. Second rows Michael Badenhorst and Jonny Agnew and hooker Pat MacArthur also put in crunching tackles before Heriot's full-back Ross Jones kicked a penalty. 7-3.
Lyle then stepped up to the tee and nailed a long-range kick. 10-3.
Props George Hunter and Steven Longwell let loose, before Lyle broke away and brilliantly offloaded to winger Craig Gossman, who raced over the line for the try. Lyle converted. 17-3.
Heriot's were awarded a penalty try soon after, with referee Ben Blain adjudging Ayr had illegally prevented them from scoring. 17-10.
Lyle then put that monster boot to use again and kicked another penalty from close to the half-way line. 20-10.

Lyle had another kick at goal when Heriot's prop Struan Cessford was sin-binned, but with the malfunctioning loudspeaker in the stand squealing away, he missed.

No matter to Ayr, as Nairn soon had the ball and was knocking over the Heriot's defenders like skittles. Agnew, scrum-half Harry Warr and flanker Tommy Spinks all showed great dexterity to keep the ball alive before it reached Gossman and he timed his pass well for full-back Grant Anderson to just squeeze in at the corner. Lyle took his short run-up to the conversion kick from between two of the advertising boards and landed it. 27-10.
A fumble from Ayr let Rae scoop up the ball and make a few metres before he was unceremoniously flattened by Nairn.

Ayr started the second half with gusto, Nairn leading the way, with captain Pete McCallum also on the rampage. McDowall brilliantly handed off a defender to sprint up the pitch but that particular phase of play came to nothing.

Ayr gave away a couple of penalties but Heriot's couldn't take advantage, especially when McCallum employed his volleyball skills to leap in the air and pat back an attempted kick for touch. Climo got the ball, kicked down field, and when Heriot's collected it and charged at him, the fly-half bundled them off the pitch.

Heriot's mobile back row of Turley, Michael Maltman and Jack McLean launched an attack, but the equally agile McCallum, Spinks and George Stokes were all over them in defence.

Ayr's scrum was on song too. With MacArthur off after an energetic and tenacious display, Lewis Anderson replaced him, Adam Prentice later joining the front row too in place of Longwell. The changes didn't affect the forwards and they put Heriot's under enormous pressure.

Despite a slightly soggy pitch, the backs were running riot. Gossman, McDowall and Climo combined to zig-zag through the blue and white shirts, with Gossman shooting off for a try, a pile of bodies left slumped on the grass in his wake. Lyle kicked the conversion before taking his leave. 34-10.

Paddy Dewhirst replaced him and was straight into the thick of things, linking up with McDowall to once again release Climo and the New Zealander turned on the gas and was unstoppable. Dewhirst converted the try. 41-10.

Ayr brought on the last of their replacements - Gregor Henry and Jamie Bova - in the final quarter, as Heriot's attempted to get a score.

With Agnew sin-binned for a professional foul, Heriot's took advantage of their increased numbers and attacked Ayr's line relentlessly. Badenhorst and Dewhirst put in a tremendous effort to stop them, but Turley claimed the try and Jones converted. 41-17.
Everyone in an Ayr shirt looked like they still had the appetite for more, and Hunter took them right up to the line but the ball was later knocked-on.

Heriot's held firm at their scrum, but Lewis Anderson and Henry smothered any attacking ambitions.

A Climo chip for the line was pounced on by Heriot's, and an exciting game was brought to an end.

Final score: Ayr 41 Heriot's 17.
Slaters Menswear man of the match: Stafford McDowall.
In the 2nd XV match, Ayr beat Heriot's 38-22. James Armstrong scored two tries, with James Pinkerton, Cam Reece and Johnny McCorkindale getting one each. Man of the match Matt Davidson converted all five and added a penalty.
_Photos courtesy of Amy McGillivray. Please seek permission before reproducing for commercial purposes.
- Elena Hogarth._