Ayr Rugby Football Club

Ayr's never-say-die attitude secured a heroic victory on Saturday when they bounced back from an 18-point deficit just before half time against Currie Chieftains. You would be forgiven for thinking Ayr heads might drop when they found themselves down 21-3 with a man in the sinbin but Forrester's men rallied back to win 21-24 in tremendous fashion. The win means they progress to the BT Premiership Final on April 7 against Melrose at the Greenyards- A replay of last year.

When the ref blew for kick-off it was clear who were the sharper team. More physical and hungrier, Currie fired out of the blocks and were rewarded with the opening score after five minutes. Michael Vernel cut through the line and in for the try, Forbes converted to make it 7-0.

A trait of Ayr's play this season has been impressive scrummaging and Saturday was no different. They managed to get on the scoreboard on the ten minute mark courtesy of Scott Lyle, who made full use of a scrum penalty won by the pack- 7-3.

Throughout the early stages sloppy errors haunted Ayr, with Currie getting numerous opportunities to attack. After 25 minutes the home side started to capitalise on the free possessions and Richie Vernon added to the lead from a rolling maul. Forbes conversion made it 14-3.

The bad soon turned to the ugly for Ayr, and just after the half hour mark a yellow card to Rob McAlpine was quickly followed by a Chieftains try. A man down, trailing by 18, the home side looked impenetrable and Ayr needed to find something spectacular if they wanted to fight back.

Straight from the restart Ayr looked a different team. Tommy Spinks launched himself into the air and managed to tap the ball backwards to regain possession. From the following phase Ayr won a penalty at the breakdown which Lyle sent into the back of the stands.

The half was beginning to wither away but for the first time in the contest Ayr had a platform to attack. Carries from Lewis Anderson and George Hunter drove Ayr closer and closer to the line before Steven Longwell powered through the home defence and in for the score. Lyle slotted the conversion to bring an end to the first forty- and narrowed the score to 21-10 in the process.

Ayr started the second half with purpose. The goal was obvious, and the determination admirable. The scrum started to haunt Currie once more. Three penalties in as many minutes resulted in all eyes on the ref, but no penalty try was needed as Robin Hislop bullied his way over for the score. Lyle's lofty conversion made it a four point game.

From the depths of despair only 20 minutes earlier Ayr were no in cruise control. Currie's penalty count was starting to add up and on the 57th minute another resulted in Scott Lyle sending the ball into touch at the five metre line. Lewis Anderson's throw-in was as straight as a dye and he was rewarded moments later when he bundled over from the back of a maul- Lyle converts. Ayr now led 21-24 at Malleny Park.

Currie's day was to get worse. with less than ten minutes to play a tip-tackle on skipper Pete McCallum resulted in Richie Vernon seeing red.

Ayr looked to add to the lead from the following penalty, Lyle's lofty kick drifted wide but precious seconds were burned in the process.

Possibly one of the most intense finales to a game in recent memory, the ball remained in Currie's hands for over five minutes without any stoppages in play. They tried to barge towards the try line but meteoric defending from a possessed Ayr team constantly pushed them back. The roaring Chieftains fans were only drowned out by the colossal hits of Craig Gossman and George Stokes. Currie's ability to retain possession was sensational but Ayr's discipline was mouth watering. Deep into Injury time the ever-dangerous Charlie Sheil found a half yard of space and broke but Ayr managed to drag him down before he hit top speed. Ayr received a lucky break when a knock-on fell int their hands but the clearance missed touch- Currie charged once more.

After what felt like hours of Ayr throwing their bodies into the firing line Currie fumbled- bringing an end to an incredible BT Premiership semi-final.

Ayr now defend their league title away to Melrose on April 7.