Sunday, 1 September 2013

Ayr 11 Melrose 33

It was a difficult day at Millbrae as Ayr were resoundingly beaten by Melrose.  A huge crowd had gathered on Ladies' Day to see the men in pink and black take to the field for the first time in five months.  But there was to be disappointment as the hosts conceded five tries and received two yellow cards.

Melrose set out their stall early on with some determined attacking play and despite the best defensive efforts from Ayr forwards Scott Sutherland, Andrew Dunlop and Nick Cox, the visitors scored after just five minutes, wing Austin Lockington grabbing an unconverted try.  0-5.

Ayr got going with some good work at the scrum and an exciting kick-and-chase from centre Ross Curle and wing Kerr Gossman, and soon had their first chance to get points on the board.  Scrum-half Peter Jericevich's penalty kick took the score to 3-5.  Another shot at goal a few minutes later, however, was unsuccessful.

Curle and Gossman, along with Robbie Fergusson, were again making inroads but their fancy footwork came to nothing and things were starting to get a bit messy from Ayr, with errors becoming more frequent.

Strong running from last week's double try-scoring full-back Grant Anderson looked promising but Melrose were somehow managing to turn over the ball.  Ayr head coach Peter Laverie had predicted a physical encounter, and there were more than a few pink and black-clad figures slumped on the ground at various points.

A penalty from Andrew Skeen stretched Melrose's lead to 3-8 at twenty-three minutes, but Ayr's forwards were applying pressure.  Locks Sutherland and Colin White showed good hands to move things up the park and it looked like prop Nick Cox had managed to barrel his way over for a try, but it was not to be.

Jericevich's third attempted penalty went over to make the score 6-8 and this seemed to galvanise Ayr's attacking spirit.  A few minutes later, stand-off Sylvain Diez released Curle with a slick pass and the centre flew in for a much-needed try.  Jericevich missed the conversion.  11-8 at half-time.

Things went from bad to worse in the second half.  Melrose missed a penaly in the forty-first minute but quickly followed it with an unconverted try from flanker Peter Eccles.  11-13.  Nine minutes later, prop Nick Beavon was bundled over the whitewash.  Harry Leonard's conversion made the score 11-20.

If Ayr had any hopes of staging a comeback, they were snuffed out when Sutherland and Curle were sin-binned within minutes of each other.  Leonard's penalty put more daylight between the pink and blacks and black and yellows.  11-23.

Ayr did well to turn Melrose over with just thirteen men but there was no way they could stop full-back Fraser Thomson motoring up the wing to score the visitors' fourth try.  Leonard missed the conversion.  11-28. 

A few minutes later, scrum-half Bruce Colvine made it five tries for Melrose.  Leonard again couldn't convert, but it didn't matter as Melrose claimed an 11-33 victory to go home happy and leave a very disappointed home side and crowd.


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