Stirling County 13 - 19 Ayr: Ayr grind out gutsy win to end year on top

Ayr hooker Hayden Wisnewski goes over for the first of his two tries. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Ayr hooker Hayden Wisnewski goes over for the first of his two tries. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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THERE is sometimes a very fine line between victory and defeat.

Scorers: Stirling County: Tries: Addison (2). Pen: Archibald. Ayr: Tries: Campbell, Wisnewski (2). Cons: Russell (2)

With just a single score separating them, the outcome of this encounter could have been reversed given a different decision or two by the officials or a little change in the rub of the green.

In the end, Ayr’s head coach, Kenny Murray, was relieved to have completed hostilities with his team securing the bragging rights from a tousy affair in dreadful conditions.

“This is a hell of a place for us to come. We’ve only won here once in five or six years,” said Murray. “This was a good win and we got four points but we weren’t clinical enough. If you want to win leagues, you have to get five points. We had put ourselves in a really good position but we made some silly decisions. But a win’s a win and in these conditions we have to be pleased.”

Ayr deserved the win, given that they outscored County by three tries to two, Nick Campbell posting the first after five minutes and estimable hooker Hayden Wisnewski burrowing his way through for both the others. Former Stirling player Finn Russell converted two.

County, admirably, tried to play open rugby on a sodden surface and in horizontal, swirling rain and gales. However, despite full-back Ben Addison notching two first-half touchdowns, they could not breach the Ayr defence in the second half, other than a Brian Archibald penalty late on.

Stirling, in fact, made life more challenging than it needed to be thanks to dismal kicking from stand-off Stuart Edwards. He repeatedly heaved the ball out on the full while going for field position, forcing his team to retreat deep into their own half.

County coach Graeme Young was philosophical. “We wanted a result today. Our game plan was that anything we got in our half, we were to kick to the corners and to put the ball behind Ayr, but we didn’t execute very well. It was disappointing, but aside from that the effort was brilliant.”

Stirling County: B Addison; G Lindsay, M Bennett, D Gilmour, R Aitken; S Edwards, S Kennedy; M McDonald, R Kennedy, C Hutton, R McAlpine, C Deacons, A Ashe, S Swindall, T Clarke. Subs: G Mountford, A Moffat, S Robertson, B Archibald, A Dunbar.

Ayr: G Anderson; R Dalgleish, R Ferguson, D Kelbrick, C Gossman; F Russell, M McConnell; D Mutamangira, H Wisnewski, Cox, N Campbell, S Sutherland, C White, C Forrester, A Dunlop. Subs: S Fenwick, D Rae, G Fisken, P Jericevich, R Curle.

Referee: C Rudkin.