Sunday, 15 September 2013

Heriot's 20 Ayr 19

It was another frustrating afternoon of rugby for Ayr and their fans as the men in pink and black left it too late to come back against Heriot's at Goldenacre.

The dry, sunny conditions were perfect for some running rugby, and the home side shifted the ball with ease in the opening minutes.  It wasn't long before Ayr got frustrated and inside centre Dean Kelbrick found himself in the sin bin.  Heriot's scrum-half Graham Wilson had a penalty in front of the posts.  3-0.

Heriot's backs pressed on, taking advantage of being a man up, but Ayr managed to close them down and regain possession.  A great take from second row Scott Sutherland in an Ayr line-out in Heriot's 22 led to a determined drive for the line at sixteen minutes and hooker Fergus Scott dotted the ball down for a try.  Stand-off Sylvain Diez couldn't get the conversion.  3-5.

Heriot's got straight back to pressing for Ayr's line and commitment to the tackle unfortunately saw second row Colin White leave the field in his final match for Ayr with a suspected fractured hand.  His loss was felt, as Ayr couldn't contain some excellent running from Heriot's winger James Fleming and inside centre Keith Buchan.

It was outside centre and captain Cameron Ferguson who capitalised on a messy line-out to pounce on the ball and dart over for Heriot's first try at twenty-one minutes.  Wilson converted.  10-5.

Ayr were starting to string together some good moves in the backline, ably assisted by the ever-sure hands of Sutherland and trademark barrelling runs of props Nick Cox and Denford Mutamangira.  Outsite centre Robbie Fergusson had a few good breaks, but more often than not passes were dropped or thrown to no-one.

The rest of the first half was disjointed, with both sides knocking on, missing kicks for touch and making mistakes at the set pieces.  Ayr couldn't get into their groove, despite the best efforts of the Gossman brothers on the wings.  The closest they got to doing an damage to Heriot's was Craig accidentally hitting their physio with the ball (a hug was given in apology).

Fergusson had an exciting chip, chase and collect but there was no space for him to do anything with it.  Full back Grant Anderson could also find no way through a tough Heriot's defence.  By the end of what seemed like a very long first half, it looked like the home team would surely score another try after a good break by Wilson, but Heriot's were indecisive and eventually knocked on.

Ayr made three changes at half-time, with half-backs Peter Jericevich and Finn Russell coming on, as did Glasgow Warriors' Jerry Yanuyanutawa (much to the discomfort of the Goldenacre stadium announcer).

The start of the second half was ragged, again with knocks on from both teams.  Ayr began making progress but were pinged on more than one occasion for holding on and irritating errors, such as players not calling who was going to take a high ball, marring their efforts. 

Heriot's stretched their lead to 13-5 with another penalty from Wilson after Craig Gossman was sin-binned for an off-the-ball incident with Fleming which couldn't be smoothed over with a cuddle.

Younger brother Kerr restored family pride with a try almost seconds later, flying in under the posts.  Russell grabbed the extras.  13-12.

There was no respite for Ayr, however, as Heriot's quickly replied with Fleming showing good hands and feet to dive over in the corner.  Wilson impressively converted from a tricky angle.  20-12.

Ayr gritted their teeth and Anderson and replacement hooker Stuart Fenwick moved proceedings into Heriot's half, but again their efforts came to nothing.  They stayed focussed though, and it wasn't long before a deft chip by Russell was collected by Fergusson and the youngster finally got a chance to score.  Russell swiftly converted.  20-19.

With only seconds remaining, Ayr had a line-out in the opposition half but knocked-on and the referee brought a difficult afternoon to an end for the visitors.  Heriot's celebrated another close win and Ayr headed home to rue their mistakes. 

Final score: Heriot's 20 Ayr 19.


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