Accies make good impression, but Ayr get straight to the point with victory
So, good first impression – nul points; no wonder coach Simon Cross was disappointed.
“I was upset we didn’t get the losing bonus point, we worked hard, technically we were good – but Ayr’s finishing was clinical, each of their tries came from our mistake.
“We counter-attacked well, notably when Jamie Sole scored our try, while I thought Chris Murray, who is still learning to play tight head, had a good afternoon against Gordon Reid, who is a full-time professional. We can build on this, but the overall feeling is of disappointment”.
Opposite number Kenny Murray was “Happy with the win, but the fact this was the starting XV’s first time together showed in a scrappy game. We dug out the victory and in what I fancy will be a really tight league this season, we didn’t drop points here; but we, like everyone else, will surely do so as things develop.
“I was impressed by Accies, they have a good driving maul and their backs are exciting, but, this is a results-driven business, so I’ve got to be happy with what we got today”.
However, few Millbrae regulars were entirely pleased. Former Ayr coach Gordon Strachan said post-match: “The Ayr pack won’t do – far-too loose”.
Mind you, the Scotland back row forward of the 1970s “Mean Machine” era is a Bill Dickinson disciple.
Steven Manning put Ayr in front inside 90 seconds, but at the 20-minute mark, two Ruairidh Bonner penalties and his conversion of Jamie Sole’s superb breakaway try had Accies 13-5 up. By the break Ayr were ahead: Robbie Fergusson put Grant Anderson in for a fine try, converted by Nick Elrick, before skipper Ross Curle’s solo chip-and-chase brought an unconverted try and a 20-13 half-time scoreline.
Bonner reduced the deficit with another penalty. However, Anderson’s second try, another deft chip-and-chase effort, converted by Elrick, completed the scoring in 49 minutes and earned Ayr the bonus point. Still time for some good driving rucks from both packs, but Ayr in scorned scoring chances, before Richard Dalgleish copped the yellow card for “repeated infringing by the Ayr team”, leaving the 14 men to safely play out the closing five minutes
Scorers: Ayr: tries: Manning, Anderson (2), Curle; conversions: Elrick (2); penalty goals: Elrick (1).
Edinburgh Academicals: tries: Sole; conversions: Bonner (1); penalty goals: Bonner (3).
Ayr: Anderson, Manning, Curle, Fergusson, Wilson, Elrick, AJ MacFarlane; Reid, Wisneski, Fenwick, Dunning, Sutherland, White, Dunlop, Fisken. Subs used: Kelly, Doneghan, Andrew McFarlane, McConnell, Dalgleish.
Edinburgh Academicals: Sole, Pecqueur, Douglas, Brown, Atkin, Evans, Bonner; MacLeod, Liness, Murray, Campbell, Taggart, Teague, Drennan, Lamb. Subs used: McSorley, Driscoll, Graham, Munro.
Referee: A Healy