Two late tries may have skewed the final result somewhat, but there is no doubt Ayr deserved to triumph in this wonderfully-entertaining Tennent’s Premiership match of the day. They now top the table, the only unbeaten side of the ten.
In the end, it was their superior defence, as much as their better chance-taking, which carried the home side and coach Peter Murchie had every right to be pleased. “We’ve been tested over our games this far, and we’re still unbeaten, so I have to be happy,” he said.
Robyn Christie of Melrose said: “Credit to Ayr, they took their chances better than we did.”
Grant Anderson’s 14th minute try, converted by Frazier Climo, put Ayr in front, but, a yellow card for Scotland cap Rory Hughes, released for the game by Warriors, allowed Melrose to make numbers tell and Jason Baggot grabbed an unconverted try.
Climo stretched the Ayr lead with a penalty, before, right on half-time, he scored then converted a solo try to make it 17-5 to Ayr at the break.
But Melrose began the second half well and Patrick Anderson’s try, converted by Baggot, reduced the leeway to five points. There was then a lengthy hold-up for a serious injury to Ruaridh Knott, who was stretchered off, and from the restart, Ayr surged further ahead through a Stafford McDowall try, converted by Climo.
Ayr acting captain Blair Macpherson was then yellow-carded, and again, Melrose made the extra man pay with an unconverted Bruce Colvine try, at the end of a spell of fierce pressure.
The home side came back, however, and when Struan Hutchinson was yellow-carded for tackling Climo without the ball, from the penalty line-out, MacPherson touched down at the back of the advancing Ayr maul.
Climo converted, as he did again almost from the restart, after Kyle Rowe gathered David Armstrong’s box kick and sent flanker Gregor Henry away for the home side’s fifth try.