Ayr Rugby Football Club

On Saturday Ayr RFC booked their spot in the Scottish Cup Final at BT Murrayfield after a 12-19 victory over defending champions Melrose.

 

 

The win sets up a league and cup double header against Edinburgh side Heriots, with the former scheduled for this Saturday at Millbrae.

 

Melrose headed into the fixture with fire in their belly after Ayr put an end to their league campaign in dramatic fashion seven days prior. Having sat on the loss for a week they shot out of the traps and took a commanding lead early on. 

 

For the opening stages Melrose controlled every facet of the game but couldn’t break an air-tight defensive line. With pressure building Lars Morrice was caught brining down a maul illegally and subsequently sent to the sin bin for ten minutes. Now with a man advantage, Melrose capitalised through the stampeding Connor Young, who took the lead for the home side after twenty minutes. Craig Jacksons’ conversion made it 7-0.

 

Shortly after, Melrose extended their lead with Morrice still on the touchline. Ayr now found themselves 12 points a-drift and seriously lacking in any sort of go-forward.

 

Mimicking the mechanism of a pendulum, Morrice’s return was met with a yellow card to Melrose winger Mvelase.

 

With precious seconds to spare before the break Ayr mounted their first attack of the day. From a ruck metres out the ball was spun to Frazier Climo, who had been uncharacteristically quiet so far. The kiwi set off on a looping run and with many of the Melrose players expecting a pass out wide he darted clear unscathed. His conversion kept Ayr in the game despite being starved of possession.

 

Half-Time: Melrose 12-7 Ayr.

 

The proverbial game of two halves is often reported, and Saturday’s cup tie followed the script perfectly. 

 

An Ayr side which enjoyed little ball time in the first half all of a sudden became greedy. Minutes after the interval a destructive scrum drive pushed Melrose over their own line to flag a penalty try. The reliable front row of Longwell, Smith and Sayce used scrum-time to gain a grip of the contest, and now the visitor’s led through grunt and physicality. 

 

The pack remained the catalyst for Ayr’s comeback, but it was the backs who finished off a 19-point swing to seal Melrose’s fate. 

 

On 50 minutes the ball was shipped wide to Danny McCluskey who looked to carry before a perfectly weighted ball inside found the cutting Kyle Rowe. Rowe still had a defender to beat but managed to prance by and over for the try. 

 

Half an hour remained in the contest but neither side got back on the score sheet. Melrose chased in hope of keeping their season alive but couldn’t budge a sturdy Ayr defence. Tommy Spinks’ robust nature spearheaded an inspired gritty victory, to secure a place in the Scottish Cup Final at BT Murrayfield on April 27.

 

For taking control of the game in its' later stages and putting play in the right areas Frazier Climo was named Melrose's Man of the Match. 

 

The 2XV were also in action at the Greenyards in what was their final outing of the season. Melrose Storm put together a full performance in a 31-0 victory.