Ayr Club XV were on the wrong side of a winning injury-time score yesterday, falling cruelly to league leaders Melrose.A war of attrition, Ayr can walk away with heads held high, with plenty positives to take from the 20-15 loss.

It was the personification of a battle - with both sides throwing caution to the wind in hopes of edging their opposition. Melrose, who played mostly through their big pack, used their muscle to keep their unbeaten streak alive and thwart the visitor's attack. Despite cutting a dejected figure at full time, Head Coach Stuart Fenwick believes there are plenty positives to take from the game: "The disappointing thing is the result, not the performance. We got an awful lot more from the boys today in terms of attitude and intensity. "We proved that we are a very difficult team to score against".  The hosts wasted no time to get on the scoreboard, converting a penalty kick less than two minutes into the game. Ayr responded in kind, with Jamie Bova squaring it all up on the ten-minute mark. Moments later Ayr to the lead, with Johnny McCorkindale cruising in for his 6th try of the season. Bova punctured a hole in the midfield to charge up the field before terrific scramble-defence pulled him down just short. The ball was quickly recycled and shipped wide to McCorkindale, who slipped between two defenders to score. Melrose upped the ante to close out the second half but couldn't break down heroic Ayr defence. A yellow card to Bova strained the line, but the visitors held firm to see out the half. Half-time: Melrose 3-8 Ayr. Ayr were slow out of the traps to start the half, and Melrose punished them for it. Two tries in five minutes brought the score to 15-8 and the hosts looked comfortable with a firm grip on scrum and line-outs.  On the hour mark Ayr got their second wind and mustered up some heroic attack to propel themselves into contention. Harry Lynch catapulted through the line fending off his opposite man and shipped to Zac Howard who hacked the ball up the field. Melrose were camped on their line and struggling to exit. Ayr reaped their reward when they muscled back possession, with Ross McCorkidale using his boot to find Bova unmarked lingering on the touch-line. The bullish centre ran clear before nailing the conversion to tie it all up. The next twenty minutes had both sides of the divide on the edge of their seats -Every half-chance was met with a quick inhale of breath from the fans watching. As the game marched on Ayr's penalty tally began to add up. An exacerbated traveling support pleaded to the ref, but Ayr weren't getting the rub of the green. With the clock in red Melrose managed to muster up one more effort and haul themselves over the line to seal the result. Full-time: Melrose 20-15 Ayr. Captain Gregor Henry led by example and picked up Slaters Menswear Man of the Match after a tireless eighty minutes of work.