Sunday, 22 September 2013

Aberdeen Grammar 19 Ayr 25

It was another close encounter for Ayr on the road, but this time they were on the winning side against Aberdeen Grammar at Rubislaw on Saturday.

The visitors got off to a flying start with some sterling work from full-back Grant Anderson, wing Craig Gossman and scrum-half Peter Jericevich to swiftly move proceedings into Grammar's 22 before strong play from the forwards allowed outside centre Robbie Fergusson to nip over for the first try.  Finn Russell was unsuccessful with the conversion.  0-5.

Minutes later, Grammar had a penalty in a kickable position after Ayr were pinged for holding on, but home stand-off Mark Ryan pulled it wide.  He quickly had another attempt as the visitors were penalised for obstruction but missed again.

Ayr managed to put together a few good phases of play but their penalty count was creeping ever higher, and Ryan finally booted one over to get Aberdeen on the scoreboard at fifteen minutes.  3-5.

Anderson and the elder Gossman were as busy as ever in attack but a combination of handling errors and a doughty Grammar defence saw nothing come of it.  Scott Sutherland was again playing well until he had to be substituted due to injury, but his second row partner Callum Templeton proved to be just as sure at the line-out and fleet-of-foot in the loose.

Despite some strong running from Russell and wing Kerr Gossman, things became messy and at twenty-seven minutes, inside centre Dean Kelbrick found himself in the sin-bin for a professional foul.  Predictably, Grammar took advantage and flanker Tony McGinness scored the home side's only try.  Ryan converted.  10-5.

Grammar's backs perked up a bit, outside centre Will Wardlaw side-stepping Jericevich brilliantly.  It wasn't just the home side's lively runners scuppering Ayr but their own indiscipline - again.  Ryan got another penalty kick at thirty-three minutes.  13-5.  A few minutes later, it was 16-5 after another successful penalty from Ryan, and things weren't looking good for Ayr.

Luckily, they were able to profit from an Aberdeen error and flanker Andrew Dunlop barrelled over for a much-needed try.  Russell converted to make the score 16-12 at half-time.

Ayr and Grammar almost cancelled each other out in the opening fifteen minutes of the second half, both teams making errors but proving to be determined in defence.  Replacement forward Peter McCallum put in some crunching tackles, as did Fergusson and Kelbrick.  However, Ayr's mistakes played right into Grammar's hands.  At fifty-seven minutes, Ryan's successful penalty kick brought the score to 19-12.

This spurred Ayr into action, though, and they quickly moved play up to Grammar's five-metre line.  The ball squirted out of the ruck and Grammar scooped it up, only to lose it and watch as Ayr's terrier-like replacement scrum-half Murray McConnell pounced on it and bounced over for a try.  Substitute stand-off Ross Curle easily converted.  19-19.

It got worse for the home side as Ryan received a yellow card for a high tackle on Fergusson.  Five minutes later, his team-mate Sean O'Connor joined him in the bin after his large paws were in places they shouldn't have been.  Curle slotted a penalty to ease the pressure for the visitors.  19-22.

Ayr captain Calum Forrester had been stretching his legs all afternoon and his burst out of some tough Grammar tacklers was a terrific sight.  Although they couldn't capitalise on it, Ayr stayed in Grammar's half long enough to get a kickable penalty.  Curle struck it superbly from a difficult angle.  19-25.

Grammar tried to mount a comeback, but they hadn't reckoned on Ayr prop Denford Mutamangira's ability to put in huge tackles whilst on one leg.  He wasn't the only one hobbling in the final minutes, but whilst he could carry on, referee Lloyd Linton couldn't, limping off with a lower leg injury.

A replacement was found but Grammar's last attacking effort came to nothing.  Ayr breathed a sigh of relief at the final whistle, glad to get a confidence-boosting away win.

Final score: Aberdeen Grammar 19 Ayr 25.


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