A COACH breakdown left Boroughmuir twiddling their thumbs at Harthill Services for an hour or so, and delayed the start of this match by half an hour.
Maybe the unscheduled delay worked in Boroughmuir’s favour, as they conjured up an unlikely win which lifted them out of the relegation zone and compounded Ayr’s miserable start to the new year.
Full credit to the visitors. They played a limited, constricting game, but they handed their hosts a lesson in finishing, scoring just about every time they got into the home 22, while Ayr, as at Raeburn Place last week, continually messed-up in their own and the opposition’s “red zone”.
Boroughmuir defended superbly, Edinburgh’s Carl Bezuidenhout kicked astutely, while their kick-chase game was a huge factor in all three ’Muir tries, with winger Grant McConnell, in particular, demonstrating pace to burn.
Ayr dominated up front but were too often penalised at the breakdown.
Their mojo has gone missing and, after back-to-back losses to Edinburgh Accies and ’Muir, with tricky road trips to Currie and Melrose to come, plus a visit from table-topping Heriot’s, their hold on second place and a home match in the Championship play-offs is looking increasingly precarious.
’Muir, meanwhile, now face “eight-pointers” against fellow strugglers Hawick and Hawks, plus a visit from a Gala side which seems to have put their recent travails behind them.
If it is interesting at the top of the BT Premiership, it is no-less intriguing at the bottom.
Bezuidenhout kicked 14-man ’Muir ahead while Mike Entwhistle was on the naughty step.
Then, just before half-time, Ayr replacement Murray McConnell was sent to the sin bin.
Ayr then guddled clearing a more-in-hope-than-expectation hoof to their in-goal area when up sped Grant McConnell to get the touch-down and send the visitors in at half-time leading 8-0. Seven minutes into the second-half, a long Bezuidenhout kick again found the home defence snoozing and Entwhistle dived over to stretch Boroughmuir’s lead.
Ross Curle, whose first-half failure to kick three “gimme” penalties was to prove costly for the home side, then opened their account with a penalty goal, cancelled out in kind within a minute by Bezuidenhout.
Again, Ayr didn’t deal correctly with a kick-ahead, Boroughmuir recycled and Dave Reekie scampered into a deserted Ayr in-goal area for ’Muir’s third unconverted try.
Finally, Ayr got going. Murray McConnell “did a Matuwala” with a quick tap-and-go penalty for a try, converted by Curle, before Ayr’s scrummage power forced a penalty try, again converted by Curle.
But ’Muir’s steely defence and lack of time limited Ayr to a losing bonus point.
Scorers: Ayr – Tries: M McConnell, penalty try. Con: R Curle (2). Pen: Curle. Boroughmuir – Tries: G McConnell. M Entwhistle, D Reekie. Pens: C Bezuidenhout (2).
Ayr: G Anderson; C Gossman, R Curle, D Kelbrick, R Fergusson; D McCluskey, D Armstrong; G Hunter, F Scott, F Watt, R McAlpine, S Sutherland, C Templeton, A Dunlop, G Fisken. Subs: D Young, S Fenwick, B MacPherson, M McConnell, R Dalgleish.
Boroughmuir: C Marshall; G McConnell, S Beard, D Reekie, J Edmonds; C Bezuidenhout, J Adams; R Wilson, J Latta, S Bergham, T Sutton, A Best, A Rose, M Entwhistle, I Moody. Subs: S Clark, C Keddie, N Rodger, S Johnson, C Laidlaw.
Referee: C Samson.