MATT VALLANCE @ Millbrae
But, coach Calum Forrester knows, they his team need to find another gear for next week’s top of the table crunch with Hawks.
“It was great to win, but, fair play to County for their enterprise, they have given us something to work-on for next week”, he said.
Dave Adamson of County was: “Proud of the boys, particularly the guys who stepped-up from the seconds. We scored three decent tries, and played some fluid rugby, but Ayr’s pack was just too-strong for us”.
County’s defence held out under the most-intense pressure for 11 minutes before man-of-the-match George Hunter opened the scoring with a close-range breenge. Frazier Climo then added a penalty, before County’s brilliant running in broken play saw them go in front through a couple of quick-fire tries, through Matt Lamb taking advantage of Ayr being short-handed down their left; and a Ross Jones solo effort – putting through then recovering a grubber kick. Both scores were converted by Jonny Hope.
Pack power told however, and tries from Richard Dalgleish off a great Ross Curle miss pass, and Blair MacPherson pirating a ball which squirted out of the side of the County scrum had Ayr 20-14 ahead at the break.
Skipper Grant Anderson stretched the Ayr lead within seconds of the second half beginning, before Hope goaled a penalty for County. But converted tries from the charging D’arcy Rae, skipper Anderson again and replacement Jamie Bova had Ayr well clear, before Craig Pringle’s injury-time unconverted try for the gallant visitors completed an entertaining afternoon’s rugby.
Ayr: G Anderson; R Dalgleish, D McCluskey, R Curle, C Gossman; F Climo, D Armstrong; S Longwell, D Young, D Rae; C Stevenson, S Sutherland; G Hunter, W Bordill, B Macpherson. Replacements (all used): R Smith, C Brown, G Henry, J Bova, S McDowall.
Stirling: J Hope; M Lamb, J Cresswell, F Lyle, C Pringle; R Jones, N Kenatale; M Hunter, R Kennedy, C Hutton; H Burr, S Yarrow; M Emmison, S MacDonald, S Robertson. Replacements (all used): B Gilchrist, A Wood, H Henderson, M Donaldson, R Elliston.
Ayr: Tries: Hunter, Dalgleish, Macpherson, Anderson 2, D Rae, J Bova; Cons: Climo 2, R Curle 2; Pens: Climo.
Stirling: Tries: Lamb, Jones, Pringle; Cons: Hope 2; Pens: Hope.
Scoring sequence (Ayr first): 5-0, 8-0, 8-5, 8-7, 8-12, 8-14, 13-14, 18-14, 20-14 (half-time) 25-14, 25-17, 30-17, 32-17, 37-17, 39-17, 44-17, 46-17, 46-22.
Referee: R Mabon
Man-of-the-Match: Ayr’s George Hunter switched from prop to blind-side flanker, before reverting to his international position with the Bahamas, of number eight, and having an immense game in tight and loose.
Talking point: Just how, given their pack was being put through the mincer by a rampant Ayr eight, did County manage to take the lead in the first-half. Their broken-field play, on limited rations, was a credit to their club and themselves.
Image courtesy: George McMillan