Ayr Rugby Football Club

Ayr overcame a difficult first half and a determined Boroughmuir in round ten of the BT Premiership at Millbrae on Saturday.

Overnight rain and a few showers throughout the afternoon (as well as hail) made the ground slightly boggy, so it was never going to be a free-flowing match. But both teams started with attacking intent, Boroughmuir centres Michael Brown and Ronan Kerr and Ayr fly-half Scott Lyle, winger Craig Gossman and centre Stafford McDowall showing what they were capable of with ball in hand.

Lyle got the first points on the board with a penalty. 3-0.
Boroughmuir patiently pressed for Ayr's try-line, steadily going through the phases, but big defense from McDowall, his centre partner Danny McCluskey and the back row of George Stokes, Tommy Spinks and captain Pete McCallum stopped them getting too close.

Gossman and Lyle were again looking for opportunities, the former quite literally jumping into action every chance he got.

Blair Macpherson joined Scott Sutherland in the second row for the day, and as well as securing their own line-out ball, they created mischief on Boroughmuir's throw-ins.

Tempers flared at various points throughout the match, with Ayr scrum-half Harry Warr receiving some 'attention' off the ball, and his team-mate prop Robin Hislop was shown a yellow card in the aftermath.

Youngster Ruairidh Sayce took Hislop's place - with Stokes temporarily making way - and the scrum held firm. In fact, Ayr did exceptionally well whilst a man down.

Ayr full-back Grant Anderson, hooker Lewis Anderson, prop Steven Longwell and particularly McCluskey put in a few bone-crunching tackles to save Ayr's bacon before half-time.

Ayr unfortunately lost Craig Gossman to injury. Sam Graham - like his fellow 20-year-old Sayce, a product of the Ayr youth system - replaced him, making his home BT Premiership debut.

Graham was in the thick of things at the start of the second half. After a pulsating break by McDowall, with Grant Anderson in support, Graham fired into the defenders until winger Robbie Nairn took the ball on and muscled his way over for a try in the corner. It was a tough conversion for Lyle and he couldn't make it. 8-0.

A scrappy period of play saw possession change hands a few times, but Ayr regained control with some dogged work by Sutherland before McCluskey shot off. Graham was in support and he powered away up the wing and over to score behind the posts. Lyle converted. 15-0.
Ayr disrupted Boroughmuir at their set-pieces but soon found themselves a man down again when Sutherland was sent to the sin bin. Boroughmuir fly-half Greg Cannie kicked a penalty. 15-3.
Robert McAlpine came off the bench to make a welcome return from injury, and would soon be on double duty in the second row when Macpherson was also sin-binned. But before that, Lyle kicked another penalty when Boroughmuir were caught offside. 18-3.
David Young replaced Lewis Anderson, not before the young hooker cheekily popped the ball to Hislop at the front of the line-out and the prop propelled himself up the park.

Lyle and Warr were pulling the strings at half-back, with the fly-half finding some excellent touch kicks. Again, Ayr caused havoc at the Boroughmuir line-out, and Nairn got his hands on the ball, bashing into his unsuspecting opponents with McAlpine, Hislop, Spinks and Longwell in support.

Lyle was back at the tee for another penalty. 21-3.

Ayr turned the screw at the scrum and were soon driving through the mud after a line-out, with Young touching down the ball for their third try. It was another touchline conversion attempt for Lyle and he struck this one perfectly. 28-3.
With the clock ticking down, Ayr fans urged their players to get the bonus-point fourth try, but it was the visitors who found a sudden burst of energy and enthusiasm.

Warr and Sayce had their hands full trying to stop the men from Meggetland, who marched through the mud with determination. Replacement Euan McKirdy scored but Cannie couldn't convert. 28-8.
Boroughmuir were away again, despite a thumping tackle by Ayr replacement Paddy Dewhirst, and they even threw in a fancy behind-the-back pass to set their dangerous runners off.

McDowall and Nairn managed to halt them but only briefly. Scotland cap Damien Hoyland was a late call-up to the Boroughmuir squad, and he showed all his class to send winger Jordan Edmunds over for a late try, which Cannie converted. 28-15.
Mere seconds remained but Ayr got back into Boroughmuir's half with the bonus point on their minds. However, the ball went dead and the game was brought to a muddy end.

Final score: Ayr 28 Boroughmuir 15.
Scott Lyle was the Slaters Menswear man of the match.

With thanks to match sponsor Ingram Motoring Group and ball sponsor Mauchline YFC.

Ayr 2nd XV were beaten 24-21 by Boroughmuir 2nd XV in BT National Reserve 1. Man of the match Johnny McCorkindale scored two tries with Michael Badenhorst scoring one. James Armstrong converted all three.
_Photos courtesy of George McMillan. Please seek permission from Ayr RFC before reproducing images for commercial or any other journalistic purposes._