With one round of league fixtures still to go, Gala’s loss at Stirling County and this destruction of a feisty Currie side ensured that the Millbrae men were once again crowned champions of Scotland.
Ayr could do little about events at Bridgehaugh, but yesterday they made no mistake with their part of the winning equation, utterly dominating Currie and scoring seven tries to one. In truth the outcome was never in doubt, with Ayr virtually setting up camp in Currie’s half from the outset.
The first try, which arrived with barely ten minutes on the clock, was a beauty, with Ross Curle ghosting past three Currie players before passing inside to Craig Gossman for the try which got Ayr off to a flying start. Within seconds the home side’s lead should have been extended when full-back Grant Anderson made the extra man in the line just inside his own half and fed wing Gossman, whose kick ahead was perfectly judged, only for Curle to fumble the simple pick-up on Currie’s line.
Ayr soon made amends for their failure to stretch their advantage. This time the catalyst was a huge garryowen from Anderson which Currie failed to claim and which was instead pounced on by openside Andy Dunlop, who fed wing Richard Dalgleish, who in turn outpaced the Currie defence to touch down in the corner for the home side’s second try.
Although Ayr spent most of the half camped in Currie’s half, the game was so open that the visitors were bound to have some chances, and after Gregor Hunter spurned one eminently kickable penalty, full-back Jamie Forbes slotted over a second just two minutes later. Currie even came within a whisker of drawing level when John Houston scooted straight through a gap in the Ayr back line and drew the full-back, only for Forbes to drop the simplest of passes with the line at his mercy.
Forbes smacked over another penalty on one of Currie’s rare sorties into Ayr territory in 40 minutes, bringing the score to 10-6.
The necessity of re-establishing a points cushion was clearly not lost on Ayr, who began what was to prove the game’s key move in injury time, when they parked the expansive stuff and put their faith in forward muscle. It worked too, with a 20-phase series of forward drives that lasted for almost three minutes, sapping Currie and sucking in defenders until Ayr finally threw it wide for Anderson to force his way over in the right corner to make it 15-6.
The identity of the winning team was conclusively settled in the opening exchanges of the second half when Forbes missed a penalty and then Peter Jerecevich, who had moved from scrum-half to wing after the loss of Curle caused a backline reshuffle, barrelled his way into the corner after breaks from Dalgleish and hooker Stuart Fenwick.
As if scoring the fourth try to effectively seal the win and to claim the bonus point wasn’t enough of a contribution from the former Glasgow Hawk, Jerecevich then smacked over the touchline conversion.
No wonder, because all that Ayr could do was secure the win and bonus point, and to have done so after 50 minutes against the only side to have beaten them this year was no mean feat. Ayr could easily have scored a further slew of tries, with Anderson almost going over before skipper Calum Forrester exploded off the back of a scrum in the Currie 22 for the easiest of scores. With Currie’s resistance now broken, despite a late try by openside Mike Entwhistle, replacement Graham Fisken and Jerecevich ran in late tries to underline the new champions’ complete domination.
Scorers: Ayr: Tries: Gossman, Dalgleish, Anderson, Jerecevich 2, Forrester, Fisken. Cons: Jerecevich 2. Currie: Try: Entwhistle. Con: Forbes. Pens: Forbes 2.
Ayr: G Anderson; R Dalgleish, R Curle, D Kelbrick, C Gossman; F Russell, P Jercevich; D Mutamangira, S Fenwick, N Cox, S Sutherland, N Campbell, C White, A Dunlop, C Forrester (capt).
Currie: J Forbes; A Hinds, S James, J Houston, M Peacock; G hunter, R Snedden; A Hamilton, T Wright, F Watts, G Temple, S Marcel, M Cairns, M Entwhistle, R Weston.
Referee: P Allan.