Sunday, 28 August 2016

Ayr 53 Currie 10

Ayr scored eight tries in their opening BT Premiership match of 2016/17 against Currie on a warm late summer's day at Millbrae.

Alloway was bustling with fans - male and female - on Ladies' Day and they were treated to a feast of running rugby, kicked off by a superb try from centre Ross Curle, who broke out some celebratory dance moves after touching down. Stand-off Frazier Climo missed the conversion. 5-0.

Currie looked to reply immediately but after several phases, Ayr held them up over the line, not once but twice. Winger Jamie Bova, flanker Gregor Henry, second row Rob McAlpine and centre Archie Russell threw themselves into defence.

The ball back in pink and black hands, scrum-half David Armstrong spotted a gap and kicked ahead for Bova to race after. He collected but was bundled into touch.

Currie gave away a penalty and Climo stepped up to the tee but just nudged it wide.

A few wayward moments from the home team couldn't be capitalised on by Currie, and Armstrong and Curle jinked their way into the opposition half. Climo and Bova combined to get them into the twenty-two and captain Pete McCallum forced his way over for the try. Climo superbly struck the conversion from the touchline. 12-0.

The visitors were quickly back into Ayr's half, despite the attentions of props George Hunter and Steven Longwell. Currie full-back Harvey Elms couldn't quite make it over for a try.

Some toing and froing and set pieces ensued - Currie succeeding at the line-outs and Ayr at the scrums - before the Millbrae men headed for the visitors' try-line. McCallum was held up but moments later Russell sprung over, with Climo converting. 19-0.
Currie scrum-half Charlie Shiel and flanker Rhys Davies had an industrious afternoon but they and their team-mates were on the receiving end of some thumping tackles.

They were trapped in their own half and, pinged for holding on, Climo took the penalty kick. 22-0.

Currie soared at the line-out but dropped the ball and Curle quickly kicked on, with Bova chasing. The winger chipped on himself and tracked it until he could touch it down over the line for a try on his debut. Climo converted just before half-time. 29-0.

Stand-off Jamie Forbes of Currie began the second half with a successful penalty. 29-3.

Ayr brought on Adam Prentice for Longwell and Blair Macpherson replaced Lee Scott at flanker just as they were turning the screw on Currie.

A huge hit from winger Cameron Taylor dislodged the ball from an attacker and it wasn't long before Bova was off again, chipping on up the wing and scoring his second try. It went unconverted. 34-3.
Ayr were getting creative, with Armstrong, McCallum, Taylor, Climo, hooker David Young and second row Craig Stevenson flying about, flinging passes, and Bova marauding around with the ball in one hand.

When Currie did wrestle possession back, Shiel flew off, only to be tracked down and enveloped by Armstrong. Ayr turned over and quickly switched the action back to the opposition half, Climo cruising in for a try, which he converted himself. 41-3.

There was no let-up. Hunter barged his way through the Currie defence and Bova claimed his hat-trick. Climo just missed the conversion. 46-3.

Eighteen-year-old centre Stafford McDowall and seventeen-year-old hooker Robbie Smith made their debuts from the bench for Ayr, and quickly got stuck in.

Craig Gossman, playing at full-back but popping up on the wing, looked to be away for a try but was deemed to be on the receiving end of a forward pass.

Currie pressed on but a perfectly judged tackle by Russell knocked the ball from the attacker's hand and replacement Danny McCluskey flew away for a try for Ayr. Climo added the extras. 53-3.
The home team wanted more, Taylor sprinting off, with Stevenson in support. They couldn't make it, and neither could Armstrong, Climo, Smith or Henry, thanks to some stellar defensive efforts by Currie.

It was a difficult afternoon for the visitors from Balerno, as they struggled with injuries, but they never looked down and out. Winger Mathew Hooks would have been over for a try were it not for a brilliant tackle by Climo.

Moments later and an excellent cross-field kick was caught by Currie's Cameron Gray and he claimed his try, with Forbes converting. 53-10.

The whistle went for full-time before Currie could set off for another assault on the Ayr try-line. An entertaining afternoon turned into a fun night as players and fans enjoyed the Ladies' Day after party in the marquee and celebrated a great start to the season.

Final score: Ayr 53 Currie 10.
The Slaters Menswear man of the match was Jamie Bova.

- Elena Hogarth.

Photos copyright George McMillan.

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