EVERYONE connected with Ayr acknowledges the league title has gone, but, after this gritty victory over second-placed Dundee, there is genuine belief in the Burns country that British and Irish Cup participation next season can be achieved in the club’s remaining fixtures.
ertainly, from the manner in which the home pack took control of this game, with what veteran Director of Rugby Jock Craig said was “as good a demonstration of good old, nine-man rugby as I’ve seen”, anything is possible.
This was never better demonstrated than in Ayr’s crucial go-ahead try, scored after half an hour. The first quarter had see-sawed, Cam Brown kicking the visitors ahead from a penalty, then Jonno Willis edging Ayr in front by crashing over from a close-range line-out, only for Dundee to restore their lead with a glorious handling try – Robbie Lavery’s long pass to scorer Cam Wyper the highlight. At that point, following Brown’s conversion, Dundee were looking good.
Then, in a relentless five-minute spell of forward pressure, the home pack went through no fewer than 13 phases of pick-and-go, re-cycle, pick-and-go, which took them from the Dundee ten-metres line to the try line, where Colin White was nudged over.
Cam Brown’s penalty, right on the break, did make it a one-point game at the change-round, but after Andy Wilson, on his way to a 100 per cent kicking return, cancelled that out early in the second half, it was all Ayr.
Another sequence of pick-and-go moves led to Murray McConnell’s try in 62 minutes and it was game over. It wasn’t flashy or pretty – but there were no complaints from the punters from either side, well, other than the usual moans about the quality of Scottish refereeing after a less than stellar display from Andy MacPherson and his assistants.