AlAN LORIMER @ The Greenyards
A LATE call by Ayr resulted in the postponement of their BT Premiership top-of-the table clash against Melrose at the Greenyards, leaving spectators at the Borders ground dismayed and furious.
The teams had already been announced and the coin had been tossed when spectators were informed that the match was off, after Ayr had made a call on the playability of the pitch.
“Our players were not comfortable with the pitch. Ultimately, it’s their safety and if they’re not happy then we’re not happy. It was just areas of the pitch. It felt as though it was getting more firm as we went through the warm-up.” said Calum Forrester, head coach of Ayr.
“The other option was that we could have started and then called it off. But speaking to a couple of the senior guys, they reckoned there was little point in being reactive. We might as well be proactive. It’s unfortunate that it’s happened at this stage,” he added.
Ayr’s decision prompted accusations from some Melrose supporters that it was all about the Millbrae side missing key back division players.
Forrester, however, as clear that his side’s concerns had nothing to do with playing personnel.
“I was fully confident in the squad we had today. We showed last week with the same group of players how well we can perform. So that’s got nothing to do with it. Bottom line is that we were not happy with the pitch today,” he stated.
Melrose director of rugby, Mike Dalgetty, was clearly angered by Ayr’s decision and by its timing.
“The pitch is absolutely playable as far as I’m concerned and as far as our players are concerned. You could take a pitch fork and drop it from six inches and it sticks in the ground,” he said.
“The rules are that if Ayr refuse to play you can’t interfere. Ayr are a club I hugely respect but less so after today.”
The Ayr bus stayed in Melrose while the two clubs’ 2nd XVs played their match on a nearby pitch, before making the long journey back to the west coast.
Currie Chieftains’ match against Boroughmuir was also called off earlier in the day due to frost.
These matches will now be rescheduled for a stand-by date, likely to be 6th January.
- Hawick secured a bonus point 17-29 victory over Marr at Fullarton Park which closes the gap between themselves and second bottom Boroughmuir to just two points.