Callum Kerr @ Millbrae


Ayr RFC extended their unbeaten run to twelve matches this afternoon, beating old foes Melrose 69-34 under the lights at Millbrae. Despite a slow start (which had them 0-12 down after eight minutes) once Ayr warmed up they didn’t look back, running in tries at a frightening rate.


The match had glimpses of fast-flowing attacking rugby – but it was set piece dominance and a rolling maul that Melrose didn’t have an answer for that put the hosts well ahead.  

(Image – George McMillan)

The Millbrae pitch managed to weather the frost that scuppered much of the rugby around the country – with no small thanks going to groundsman David Courtney for his efforts.


Melrose started sharp and made early in-roads off the back of multiple penalties. From a five-metre line-out a short pass to Craig Fairbairn split two tacklers to open the scoring. The conversion made it 0-7 after three minutes.


Matty Bertram added to the lead five minutes later. With a handful of bodies open on the wing, a cross-field kick found Bertram in acres of space to dive over.


From the restart Ayr started to pull themselves into the contest. On their first attack at the line Tom Lanni managed to wriggle through a handful of tackles to get over. Scotty Watson added two more to make it 7-12. Still in the ascendancy, Watson made it a two-point game with a routine penalty moments later.


Momentum continued to build for Grant Anderson’s men and soon they were in front. From a devastating rolling maul Peter McCallum was carried over for a score. Watson converted.


Melrose slowed the scoring with a penalty of their own but from the restart Joe Stafford opened the floodgates with a one-yard lunge to extend the lead.


Ayr’s next score couldn’t be any different. From inside his own half Rohan Pottie sliced through the line and up the field. A handful of covering defenders tried to bring him down but none could corral his swashbuckling run.


With a couple of minutes left in the half Melrose pulled a score back, but Stafford picked up his second in the final play to cap off a 38-10 run after the early blows.


Half-time: Ayr RFC 38-22 Melrose Rugby


You’d be forgiven for thinking the pace might have slowed after the interval but the opposite was true. Ayr knew all too well that they couldn’t give Melrose an opportunity to get back into the fixture so they kept their foot on the throttle.


Within minutes of the restart Angus North became the latest beneficiary of Ayr’s devastating line-out drive. As did Rohan Pottie, five minutes later. The quick scores made it fifty points in fifty minutes.


Melrose’s Lachlan Gaddie pulled back five points when a quick tap caught Ayr napping – but it was just damage limitation.


As the game approached the hour mark Tom Lanni became the third Ayr player to bag a brace. The winger looked swarmed when his opposite man wrapped him up but he had the strength to shrug him off and the acceleration to scorch clear from a standing start.


The rolling maul didn’t lose its effectiveness when Stuart Collier entered the match at hooker and soon he would be the next name to barrel over.


Holding on till the bitter end, Melrose scored with two minutes left to try finish on a high – but Scott Watson latched onto a stray pass in the midfield to rub salt in the wounds.


Full-time: Ayr RFC 69-34 Melrose Rugby.


There were a handful of names that could have walked off with Player of the Match honours, but the Millbrae old guard in the press box gave the nod to Tom Lanni, who’s attacking threat remained constant for the full eighty minutes.