The battle of the unbeaten was won convincingly by Ayr after Heriot’s gave them too much of a start before twice clawing their way back to within a point.
The first half was a disaster for the home side, a triumph for the visitors. In the second half, Heriot’s redeemed themselves to score three tries but an unshakeable Ayr did enough to stay ahead, take the bonus point and stretch their unbeaten record to four games.
Heriot’s coach Phil Smith said: “It was an absolutely appalling first half by us. I think we didn’t actually touch the ball for the first 18 minutes. There were a few choice words at half-time, a few fingers pointed, and then we had a great second half.”
Ayr coach Peter Murchie said: “We played very well in the first half, there is absolutely no doubt about that. It was a role reversal from our last few games when we have been poor in the first half but the main chat at half-time was that Heriot’s would come out firing at us and we had to raise our game so as not to let them back into it. We managed to find a way and stretch ahead in the end.”
Ayr stormed into an 18-point lead. Stand-off Frazier Climo opened the scoring with an early penalty in front of the posts and ended it after 80 minutes with the bonus-point try behind the posts.
Academy winger Kyle Rowe scored in both halves and prop Steven Longwell got the other. Climo rounded it all off, his last kick for the conversion denying Heriot’s even a losing bonus point.
Heriot’s barely turned up for the first 40 and Ayr’s defence easily soaked up what little pressure there was. Home frustration was demonstrated not only in the murmuring of the crowd but on the pitch where Heriot’s lock Adam Sinclair got himself needlessly sin binned after a stramash between the packs on the touchline.
Heriot’s did finally have something to show for their efforts when centre Ross Jones kicked a penalty just before half-time.
The players listened to the choice words in the dressing room and responded by sending winger Craig Robertson, scorer of six tries against Edinburgh Accies the previous week, clear to touch down.
Soon afterwards, scrum-half Andrew Simmonds found himself in space with the try-line beckoning. Jones’ conversion brought Heriot’s to within a point.
Ayr were not fazed by the rapid erosion of their lead, however, and when Rowe claimed his second try it looked as if the wind had been well and truly knocked out of home sails.
However, Heriot’s didn’t let their heads go down and got lucky when stand-off Stewart Edwards’ speculative chip kick over the top was fumbled by Ayr defenders and replacement Dougie Steel was first to the loose ball. Jones’ conversion closed the gap to one point again.
But Ayr’s resilience was sound and the final flourish from Climo prised the gap open once more and ensured the victory.