Ayr’s dominant scrum makes difference against Heriot’s

Ayr captain Pete McCallum said Saturday's win was their best performance of the season. Picture: SNS/SRU.
Ayr captain Pete McCallum said Saturday's win was their best performance of the season. Picture: SNS/SRU.
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Ayr captain Pete McCallum, pictured, was a happy man after this victory, writes Matt Vallance. “That’s the best we’ve played this season – nobody stood out, but every player played his full part in the win,” he said.

This one mattered to McCallum and his men. The manner of their defeat in last season’s Grand Final has been a scab, at which they have picked ever since.

The chance to put Heriot’s in their place on Saturday was one Ayr were not going to pass-up. This was pay-back.

And, on the back of another dominant performance from their pack, Ayr got the job done.

Home coach Calum Forrester was another happy man. “We have finished the opening part of our season on a high,” he said. “We have momentum, but, while I would love to see it carrying on, we now have a break to refresh ourselves and re-group.

“The young players again played a full part in the win. They stood up to be counted when needed. Our scrum was again good. This was a big win for us”.

Heriot’s coach Phil Smith was frustrated by the loss. “Ill-discipline cost us,” he said.

“It wasn’t horrible, but, we didn’t look after the ball when we had it. We gave away too much possession when we had it, and, you cannot do that against Ayr”.

As ever when these two meet, there was controversy. When Struan Cessford was yellow-carded, the visitors sent Ruaridh Mitchell on, but, apparently he “tweaked” a calf running on and Heriot’s, with no front row replacements left, had to go to unopposed scrums, which, considering the way Ayr were mincing them at the scrums was no bad thing for them.

More than one Ayr man was questioning how this could happen. It certainly temporarily nullified a potent Ayr weapon.

Then, Ross Curle picked up yet another yellow card. He makes a habit of this against Heriot’s. If anything, his tip tackle was marginal, and quite why Lloyd Linton had to consult one of his assistants – who was some 40 metres further away from the incident that he was, is a puzzle.

Mind you, the otherwise excellent Mr Linton has had his problems with yellow cards of late.

For the record, Craig Gossman – off a pre-planned move – and Curle, with two tries, one off a quick tapped penalty, the other in a superb switch move with Frazier Climo, scored the tries for Ayr. Climo converted all three, added three penalties and pulled the strings beautifully.

Jock Rae, and hooker Michael Liness – off a driving maul – crossed for the visitors, with Alex Hagart converting both touchdowns.