Ayr Rugby Football Club

Ayr ended their regular-season campaign on Saturday with an away loss to Watsonians at Myreside. Spurred on by their departing coach Steve Lawrie, the home side were able to play the conditions better, converting a menacing wind into territorial gains. The defeat makes no change to Ayr's league place, having already secured top spot, and they will welcome Melrose to Millbrae on March 23rd in the semi-final.

With home advantage already in the bag, an experimental starting line-up allowed Ayr to bleed young talent. Youngsters James Pinkerton and Craig Miller both earned their first starts, with the later contributing a solid shift at scrum-time. The front row came in at an average age of 20 and had the upper hand over their opposite numbers early on.

The only score of the first half came from Ayr. After a few mismanaged kicks due to the prevailing winds, Ayr started to build a head of steam in Watsonian FC's half. After twenty minutes of action Tommy Spinks opted for a quick-tap penalty and charged to the line but was brought down just short. From here it was pick and go time for the forwards, before Robbie Smith managed to wriggle through a gap and in. Paddy Dewhirst picked up kicking duty and made no mistake with the extras. 

Half-time: Watsonian FC 0-7 Ayr RFC. 

A change of sides meant the wind no longer went in Ayr's favour and Watsonians took full advantage straight from the restart. A try after three minutes was followed by another four minutes after that and suddenly the home side were leading.

Watsonians took further control of the tie on the hour mark with a 49-metre penalty, taking the scoring to 17-7. 

In search of a reaction Murchie flooded the bench, bringing on experienced heads such as Steven Longwell and Frazier Climo, alongside youngsters Alex McGuire and Jack Preston. The talismanic Climo didn't take long to assert himself. His first touch of the ball ended with a lovely inside pass to the stampeding Cameron Reece who charged behind enemy lines. The utility forward put Ayr in good field position but an unforced error in the following phase ended any hope of turning pressure to points. Reece was later named Watsonians' Ayr Player of the Match and you can only imagine this beautifully hit line played a big part in persuasion. 

As the clouds cleared and the wind calmed Watsonians were able to land the knock-out blow with ten left on the clock. A line-out drive resulted in Fraser Renwick burrowing over and taking the game out of reach. 

With Ayr rallying and starting to control the final minutes of the tie Longwell managed to pull a score back with a powerful shunt onto the line, dislodging the white shirts trying to push him back. 

Full-time: Watsonian FC 22-12 Ayr RFC.

It was better news for the 2XV, who managed to celebrate Gordon Kotze's final game in charge with a win. Out of retirement for the *third* time this season, Man of the Match Stuart Fenwick led from the front in a bruising encounter. The veteran racked up an impressive tackle count in a dominating back-row display, securing a 12-28 victory. The win confirms second place in the league with a game in hand, with Heriots out of reach in first.