Currie Chieftains 15 - 24 Ayr: Chieftains taste first defeat

Pete McCallum thundered over for a try. Picture: Colin Renton/SNS
Pete McCallum thundered over for a try. Picture: Colin Renton/SNS
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BT Premiership champions Ayr clicked into gear to boost their title defence and inflict a first defeat of the campaign on Currie Chieftains whose second half fightback was not sufficient to take anything from the game.

Despite conceding two late tries, it was an impressive all round performance by the Millbrae men, who combined power and flair to take the win and stifle the home side’s attempts to play running rugby.

“There’s definitely learning to be taken from it – we had opportunities we didn’t take – but in terms of where we are and players getting used to winning again, I’m really pleased with the performance,” said Callum Forrester, the Ayr coach.

Ayr started the game in the unfamiliar position of being in the lower half of the league table. And they quickly made clear their intention to remedy the situation. Chieftains repelled a string of attacks but eventually the ball found its way back to skipper Pete McCallum, inset, who thundered over for a try, converted by Scott Lyle.

If they had been forced to work hard for that score, the second touchdown in 13 minutes came easily. A scrum free kick in the home half was taken quickly and the ball swept out to Craig Gossman who had a free run down the left flank. Lyle again added the extra points.

The hosts enjoyed a brief spell in the ascendancy but failed to break through and the visitors added to their tally five minutes before half time when Lyle booted a penalty. And by the interval, Ayr were looking home and dry after McCallum raced in for a second time and Lyle was again on target with the conversion.

Jamie Forbes was off the mark with a penalty effort for the Chieftains, and things got worse for the hosts when Ben Robbins had a score chalked off in the final action of the half, leaving Ayr 24-0 ahead at the interval.

The Chieftains snatched a lifeline after 53 minutes when Robbins caught the Ayr defence napping and sprinted over from halfway for an unconverted try, but that seemed little more than a gesture of defiance and errors at key moments meant it was inside the final ten minutes before Harvey Elms capped a spell of pressure with try number two for the hosts.

Jamie Forbes wriggled over a third score late in the game, but a hastily taken conversion that would have secured a bonus point summed up his team’s day when it rattled back off the bar.