Ayr crossed the border into North Ayrshire on Saturday afternoon to take on Ardrossan Accies at Memorial Field in their latest RBS West Regional Cup encounter. The local derby was closely fought in the opening quarter, but Ayr's place in the RBS Premiership told as Championship League A side Ardrossan struggled to contain the visitors.
Accies set down an early marker, as their excellent scrum succeeded in putting Ayr under pressure, and they managed to hold them off for ten minutes with some solid defence. However, Ayr were dangerous with ball in hand, especially Peter Jericevich, who was a late replacement for fly-half Finn Russell.
It was scrum-half Sylvain Diez, though, who dived over from a melee at Accies' line for the first try. Young winger Gavin Lowe missed the conversion. 0-5.
Accies scrum-half Mattie Grant took advantage of his forwards' good work in the scrum and scampered up the park, but he couldn't avoid the attentions of Ayr's hooker Hayden Wisnewski, who put in a strong display in both defence and attack.
Ayr's discipline problems reared their ugly head twice within three minutes, and Accies' fly-half Alan Wilson easily kicked both penalty goals. 6-5.
Ayr got back into the lead at twenty-six minutes thanks to captain Calum Forrester crossing for a try. Lowe again missed the conversion. 6-10.
A period of messy handling from both sides followed, but Ayr centre Robbie Fergusson managed to keep hold of the greasy ball to blast through Accies' defence and score under the posts. Lowe's conversion was successful. 6-17.
A minute later, winger Cammy Taylor added another for Ayr, diving over mere seconds after Jericevich nearly burrowed over. Lowe's kicking was now firmly on course and he got the extras. 6-24.
Lowe continued to impress in the second half, as he got his first try, flying up the wing a matter of seconds after kick-off. He succeeded with the tricky touchline conversion. 6-31.
Ardrossan didn't seem too shell-shocked and managed to turn Ayr over, but their loose play let them down. Ayr got the ball back and Jericevich showed a clean pair of heels to score next. Lowe converted. 6-38.
Again, the home side pressed for the line but couldn't touch down. Lowe compounded their misery with another try which he converted. 6-45.
Accies wouldn't lie down, however, with some good interplay between outside centre Antony Flint and right winger Calum McKechnie. Left winger John Young came close to the line before knocking on. He soon got another chance when he gathered a great cross-kick from fly-half Wilson and crossed for Ardrossan's only try of the day. Wilson couldn't convert. 11-45.
Ayr's second row Peter McCallum was the next to get on the score sheet, touching down a deft kick from centre Dean Kelbrick. Lowe missed the conversion. 11-50.
As it got colder, Ayr seemed to move faster, particularly young replacement wing Murray Beckwith. Returning from a lenghtly spell on the sidelines, replacement scrum-half Murray McConnell charged his way over for another uncoverted try for the visitors. 11-55
Lowe capped his virtuoso performance with a third try, although he couldn't manage the conversion. 11-60.
There was enough time for two more scores from Ayr, full-back Grant Anderson just managing to touch down before the ball dribbled over the dead ball line, and Fergusson again bursting through. Lowe converted both, making the final score 11-74.
- Elena Hogarth