Ayr made things hard for themselves, but in the end their magnificent defence enabled them to stifle a powerful second-half Boroughmuir performance to grab four points and stay on top of the Tennent’s Premiership.
But coach Peter Murchie was far from happy with the outcome. He said: “We have work to do, since we got a few things wrong today. We were in the Muir 22 six or seven times in the first half, but could only score once.
“Then we lost momentum in the second half and it was only our terrific defence that got us through what was a real dog fight.”
Peter Wright, his Boroughmuir counterpart, was equally disappointed, saying: “We created some great chances in the second half, but lacked composure, and in the end little things cost us.”
Graham Shiel, having his first outing with Muir before he takes over the coaching of their Super 6 side next season, said: “I saw enough to know we can build on this, particularly our second-half showing. But nobody really knows what will happen with Super 6; but I am excited about it.”
For all Ayr’s first-half control, all they had to show was a well-worked try, off a powerful driving maul, scored by Pat McArthur, and converted by Frazier Climo, pictured, in 15 minutes. However, had they not made silly mistakes and taken better choices, they might well have had a bonus-point win wrapped up by half-time.
A couple of bad bounces told against Ayr, but, for all their command up front, too many silly mistakes, such as a string of knock-ons when well placed, denied them the points they had worked for.
Their strong start to the second period was rewarded by a Grant Anderson try, set up by Climo, who converted it, in 45 minutes, but thereafter the visitors gained the upper hand. Most of the final half hour was played deep in Ayr territory, but the home team defended brilliantly to limit Muir to a Gavin Parker try, which the winger converted, in 54 minutes.
Replacement Kerr Gossman did get a second touchdown for the visitors, but this was disallowed for a forward pass, before Ayr’s stout defence finally broke Muir’s ambition and the home side could play out time for the win.
The conditions mitigated against running rugby, but both sides gave the ball width as often as possible and the big crowd certainly got their money’s worth from a gritty contest, while the main stand patrons enjoyed a typically outspoken Peter Wright running commentary to brighten a really dreich day.
So, Ayr look to be heading for the play-offs, while Muir will refocus on finishing as far up the table as they can.