Edinburgh Accies 3
MATT VALLANCE @ Millbrae
AYR coach Peter Murchie was delighted with the response his men gave him, after last week’s disappointing loss to Watsonians. The home side subdued the basement boys early on, and, once the home pack had achieved dominance in the tight, the outcome was never in doubt.
“I have to be happy with five points in those conditions,” said Murchie. “We again had a lot of young guys in the team and they really stood-up and kept things going. We were able to bring some players who have been putting-in 80 minute shifts off early without the performance dropping away and that was pleasing.
“Now, we have a week off to get some rest, before a very tough run of away games, but, on this display, I have to be happy.”
Accies’ coach Derek O’Riordan had to rush back to Edinburgh at the end, but, he too can surely see some good signs, particularly from the way his side didn’t let their heads drop in the second half, during which they held Ayr to a mere 5-0 score-line.
But, by then, the damage had been done, as the home pack simply steam-rolled the Edinburgh eight into submission in the first half.
The visitors made the early running, but, once Ayr got on the front foot, it was only a matter of time before they scored – skipper Blair Macpherson touching down off an advancing scrum, as Ayr turned the screw in the 13th minute.
They scored again in 23 minutes, orthodox handling seeing Kyle Rowe send Grant Anderson over for a try, converted by Frazier Climo. Then, after Steven Longwell and Macpherson had both been held up over the Accies line, the visiting pack crumbled at the subsequent scrum, and referee Ross Mabon awarded Ayr a penalty try.
Ayr were then penalised at a ruck on their 22, as Accies attacked from the restart, and Richard Mill made no mistake with the head-on penalty.
Then, right on half-time, and not for the first time in the match, Ayr’s massive maul drive carried them over and prop Ruaridh Sayce got his first try for the club at the back.
Leading 24-3 at the interval, the home fans expected more points in the second-half, more-so after another driven maul produced a try for hooker Alex McGuire, his first for the club.
However, with the rain increasing in severity and the conditions deteriorating, plus a series of substitutions disturbing the rhythm of the game, that was to be the only score of a second half which petered-out.
Ayr: G Anderson, P Dewhirst, O Smith, D McCluskey, K Rowe, F Climo, A Rademaker; R Sayce, A McGuire, S Longwell, D Corbenici, A North, T Spinks, W Van Dijk, B Macpherson. Replacements: S Collier, C Miller, C Reece, H Warr, J Bova.
Edinburgh Academicals: R Chalmers, C Gray, N Armstrong, R Mill, R Kent, V Hart, R Davis; M McGinley, C Black, C Imrie, R Seydak, A Inwood, J Mann, N Hall, R Campbell. Replacements: R Simpson, C Taylor, C Thomson, M Love, C Ramm.
Referee: Ross Mabon.
Ayr: Tries: Macpherson, Anderson, Sayce, McGuire, Penalty Try; Con: F Climo.
Edinburgh Academicals: Penalty: Mill.
Scoring sequence (Ayr first): 5-0; 10-0; 12-0; 19-0; 19-3; 2-3 (h-t) 29-3
Man of the Match: The honour had to go to an Ayr forward, and, with his work around the park and in the tight, second-row David Corbenici gets the nod.
Talking Point: Could Ayr fielding so-many young players, bounce back from last week’s disappointing loss to Watsonians? You bet they could, with the kids again showing their promise. And, with skipper Pete McCallum making his return to action in the 2nd XV, there is a new confidence about Millbrae, that Ayr can stay out in front in the league race.