Ayr 39 - 17 Stirling County: Second-half surge keeps Ayr on top
WINNERS write history, so this match should be all about Ayr. Except, that’s not the view of Ayr captain Callum Forrester and coach Kenny Murray, both of whom were quick to praise County’s input to a wonderful advert for the RBS Premiership.
Scorers: Ayr – Tries: Forrester, Fergusson, Cox (2), Fisken, C Gossman. Cons: Jerecevich (3). Pen: Jerecevich. Stirling County – Tries: Mountford, Lamb. Cons: Archibald (2). Pen: Archibald.
“County put us under a lot of pressure, keeping us pinned down and on the back foot for long periods,” said Forrester. “They gave us a hard time in a flat first half, before we upped the tempo in the second.” added Murray.
The visitors had first blood through Brian Archibald’s second-minute penalty but, leading from the front, Forrester drove over off scrummage ball in eight minutes. Peter Jerecevich missed the conversion but goaled a 23rd minute penalty, before Robbie Fergusson’s support of Craig Gossman’s break up the right garnered a try for the teenage centre and Ayr led 13-3.
County were still very much in the game, more so after prop Garry Mountford breenged over on the half hour, then late replacement Matt Lamb went for broke with an interception on halfway, got his reward and scampered home. Archibald kicked both conversions and, at the break, County led 17-13.
Craig Deacons was yellow-carded in 50 minutes and Ayr made the advantage count, as Nick Cox twice burrowed over for close-range tries, the first of which Jerecevich converted to put his side in front.
Ayr, with Denford Mutamangira rampaging freely, added two further tries, both converted by Jerecevich, from Graham Fisken, on 71 minutes and Craig Gossman in the final minute of normal time.
“We’ve now beaten three of last season’s top four and we go to Melrose to face the Champions on Saturday, unbeaten and top of the table – we’ve got to be happy with life”, said Forrester.
Ayr: G Archibald; C Gossman, R Fergusson, R Dalgleish, K Gossman; S Diez, P Jerecevich; N Cox, H Wisnewski, D Rae, C White, S Sutherland, G Fisken, A Dunlop, C Forrester. Replacements used: D Mutamangira, S Fenwick, P McCallum, R Doneghan, G Lowe.
Stirling County: J Hope; G Lindsay, D Gilmour, B Archibald, M Lamb; S Edwards, D Maw; S Raby, A Moffat, G Mountford, R McAlpine, C Deacons, S Robertson, A de St Croix, S Swindall. Replacements used: C Hutton, C Black, J Forrester, R Leishman, S Gillies.
Referee: L Linton.
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