Ayr 1XV managed to maintain their 100% home win streak yesterday with victory over Watsonians at Millbrae. Despite leading 31-7 deep in the second half it was anything but routine for Stuart Fenwick’s men, with Watsonians mounting a late charge to threaten the lead. In the end the hosts just managed to hold out to secure a 31-28 win.

Contrary to the biblical rainfall that threatened the fixture for most of the week, come kick-off it was clear skies and blinding sun at Millbrae.

Ayr wasted no time in opening their account. From a loose ball flanker Robbie McLaren managed to latch onto possession and spring up a well-timed offload to catch the charging Ciaran Wood. The full-back had nobody in front of him and cantered over for the first score of the game. Jamie Bova made it seven points after seven minutes.

Ayr enjoyed superiority at scrum time, but from a successful drive on the twelfth minute jubilation soon turned into confrontation, resulting in a penalty reversal and Ben Cree seeing yellow for a bust-up with his opposite man.

Photo by George McMillan

The numerical advantage didn’t convert to points for the guests, and after the ten-minute binning Ayr found themselves further in front, courtesy of a Jamie Bova penalty.

Scoring began to slow down but Ayr remained on the front foot thanks to a dominating display at scrum-time.

After 26 minutes of deadlock, two scores in the final 90 seconds of the first half woke up the spectators.

The first extended Ayr’s lead further. McLaren, who set up the opener, was repaid by scrum-half Adam McGowan. McGowan wrangled through a barrage of tackles to find his seven with a crafty offload – McLaren stormed between the posts unchallenged.

The final act of the half was for the visitors. Despite not finding any success in the first 39 minutes Watsonians managed to think up a score from relative obscurity. A well-placed kick from Stoddart wasn’t delt with allowing the idle ball to be scooped up by their full back to run clear unchallenged. The conversion from Stoddart was good.

Half-time: Ayr Rugby 17-7 Watsonian FC

Ayr’s control in the first half transferred into instant success in the second. A pair of tries in similar fashion, for Ross McCorkindale and Cam Reece respectively, stretched the lead for Ayr within the opening five minutes of the half. Jamie Bova maintained his 100% kicking record on the day to make it a 31-7 lead.

Watsonians held in and didn’t dip their heads. Their resolve was rewarded on the 57th minute with a second converted try, bringing the score to 31-14.

A third five minutes later thrusted Watsonians back into the contest, with only a ten-point lead separating the sides.

Photo by George McMillan

Filled with new-found confidence Watsonians struck again, setting up a nervy final act keeping fans on the edge of their seats.

Ayr sprung back into life and managed to hog the ball for the last ten minutes, successfully inching their way to a three-point win.

Full-time: Ayr Rugby 31-28 Watsonian FC.

Robbie McLaren was responsible for the first two scores and rounded off an abrasive 80-minute display with Player of the Match honours.

It was similar fortunes for Ayr/ Millbrae, who charged to a 40-7 victory over Hillhead Jordanhill 2XV