05/11/16 Millbrae - Ayr BT Premiership Ayr v Heriots Ayr's Ross Curle tackles Heriots John Semple Photo credit should read: © Craig Watson Craig Watson, 07479748060


HAVING suffered a painful defeat in the play-off Grand Final the last time Heriot’s came calling, this was one game Ayr were hell-bent on winning, and against that determination typified by a tremendous home defence – the visitors simply had no answer.


Craig Gossman gave Ayr the lead with a third minute try, straight off the training ground, when he burst onto scrum ball and charged home from the 2o metres out, with Frazier Climo adding the conversion.

The Ayr pack gradually wrestled supremacy and midway through the half they efficiently worked through ten phases, before Heriot’s conceded a penalty which was quickly taken by Ross Curle, who scuttled over before the visitors’ defence could react. Climo again added the extras.

Climo then added a penalty goal, but, on the half-hour mark, Heriots’ driving maul got some capital off a short-range line-out and Michael Liness touched down. Alex Hagart added converted, but Climo goaled a second penalty to give Ayr a 20-7 lead at the break.

Ayr drew first blood at the start of the second half  thanks to that trusty midfield axis which has consistently served them so well. Curle ran a great line onto a Climo’s reverse pass and skipped through the Heriot’s defence to leave his stand-off pal with a simple conversion.

Heriot’s quickly cancelled this out, working through the phases to put John Rae over wide out, with Hagart again converting.

Curle then picked-up what is, for him, almost an obligatory yellow card against Heriot’s, for a tip tackle, but the visitors couldn’t make their one-man advantage pay and it was short-handed Ayr who scored, with Climo slotting his third penalty.

Struan Cessford then saw yellow, meaning it went to uncontested scrums for a spell, but with Ayr butchering one or two good chances there was no further scoring.

“We didn’t look after the ball well enough, while our indiscipline let us down,” said a disappointed Phil Smith of Heriot’s.

“Happy with the result, with our performance and with another good display from our younger players. It was a good way to end this phase of the season,”said Ayr’s Calum Forrester.

This result will ensure the Ayr Club Ball later in the evening goes off with a definite swing.

Layout 1

Teams –

Ayr: G Anderson; R Dalgleish, A Russell, R Curle, C Gossman; F Climo, D Armstrong; G Hunter, D Young, S Longwell; R McAlpine, S Sutherland; B Macpherson, W Bordill, P McCallum. Substitutes used: L Anderson, A Prentice, C Stevenson, C Taylor, S McDowall.

Heriot’s: G Bryce; J Rae, J Laird, J Semple, G Parker; A Hagart, A Simmers; G Cameron, M Liness, R Mitchell, C Marshall, R Nimmo, M Maltman, J McLean, S Dewar. Substitutes used: G Turner, S Cessford, C Smith, T Wilson, E Fox.

Referee: Lloyd Linton

Scorers –

Ayr: Tries: C Gossman, R Curle (2); Conversions: Climo (3); Penalty Goals: Climo (3)
Heriot’s: Tries: M Liness, A Hagart; Conversions: Hagart (2)

Scoring sequence (Ayr first): 5-0, 7-0, 12-0, 14-0, 17-0, 17-5, 17-7, 20-7 (h-t). 25-7, 27-7. 27-12, 27-14, 30-14.

Yellow cards –

Ayr: Curle

Heriot’s: Cessford

Man-of-the-Match: Aside from a perfect six from six off the kicking tee, his astute line-kicking from hand made Ayr’s Frazier Climo a shoo-in for this one.

Talking Point: At one point in the second half, the game went to uncontested scrums because Heriot’s, with Struan Cessford in the sin-bin, didn’t have front-row cover. At this level, this is a disgrace, and given the way their scrum was being shunted around by the Ayr eight – it left something of a sour taste.

About Matt Vallance 38 Articles
Matt is a former member of Cumnock Rugby Club's 'Mean Machine' - motto: "Well, we won the fight". He has written about some 60 sports in a long career, mainly spent freelancing for, amongst others: The Herald, The Scotsman, The Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday, the late-lamented Sunday Standard and just about every national paper. He survived a spell at the Paisley Daily Express, covering St Mirren and the Paisley Pirates every week. He now writes a lot of sporting obituaries, since he saw many of his subjects play. Opinionated, passionate and, as one Bill McMurtire once said: "The only Cumnock member (other than Mark Bennett) who can be let out without an escort". In his 70th year, Matt, known to many as: 'Snuff', still has a few noses to get up. Unfulfilled ambition - to live long enough to see Scotland beat the All Blacks.

1 Comment

  1. Funny how after the sin bin of no 18, at the next breakdown and a scrum no 17 trotted onto the field for the scrum fine and heathy although trotting off when Heriots elected for a line out. tewo minutes later a scrum and suddenly no props. Did No 17 get injured jogging off?

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