By Elena Hogarth
There was disappointment for Ayr on a sunny Saturday afternoon at Millbrae as they struggled to contain Boroughmuir in the BT Premiership. Ayr looked full of promise in the opening exchanges, with number eight Blair Macpherson and winger Haddon McPherson shooting off, but a forward pass was called.
The home team had their first chance at points with a penalty, but stand-off David Armstrong pushed the kick wide. McPherson had another chance when he caught Boroughmuir's twenty-two drop-out and released Armstrong and prop Javan Sebastian.
They were helped by the visitors giving away another penalty, but they just couldn't keep a hold of the ball. They were either turned over by Boroughmuir's strong forwards or knocked-on. Winger Kerr Gossman, a late addition to the starting line-up as Cameron Taylor moved from the left wing to full-back in place of an injured Grant Anderson, had a great chance in Boroughmuir's half but tripped on his way to the line.
Armstrong, Taylor and centre Archie Russell looked to be on to something, but Boroughmuir's defenders were on top form. Another turnover was claimed and they raced off to the try-line, hooker Sean Crombie claiming the score. Chris Laidlaw slotted the penalty. 0-7.
There was good work from prop Steven Longwell as he managed to charge down a kick by the visitors. Ayr nabbed the ball, flanker Graham Fisken went on the charge and McPherson sped over in the corner for their opening try. Armstrong missed the wide conversion. 5-7.
Line-outs were exchanged and although second row Scott Sutherland, scrum-half Ali Price and Macpherson were on the ball, Ayr couldn't get anywhere. Even the opportunities presented by Boroughmuir's infringements couldn't be capitalised upon.
The visitors' backs were starting to get into gear and Armstrong, Russell, flanker Will Bordill and hooker James Malcolm had their hands full trying to contain them. They took their chance at an odd Boroughmuir line-out when nobody from either side jumped for the ball and it was chucked on the ground.
Ayr scooped it up and managed to work their way into a good attacking position, only for it to end up in touch. Armstrong dislodged the ball from a Boroughmuir attacker shortly after the ensuing line-out and Longwell picked it up, danced his way round two defenders and handed off another.
But yet again, the ball ended up in the hands of a Boroughmuir player. The Meggatland side infringed again and when Price was pushed trying to take a quick tap-and-go, they were marched back ten metres into their own half, giving Armstrong another penalty chance, which he unfortunately couldn't make just as aircraft roared over as part of the nearby Scottish Airshow.
There seemed to be a general malaise around the home team and their attacking efforts lacked impetus, whilst the visitors, led by their dangerous centres Greg Cannie and Alex Cox, were looking evermore lively. Laidlaw increased their lead before half-time with a penalty. 5-10.
The second half started with Boroughmuir's menacing number eight Magnus Bradbury causing a headache for Ayr until McPherson put in an excellent low tackle to quickly nullify his threat. More knocks-on for Ayr followed though and after a long period of pressure, Craig Marshall scored for Boroughmuir. Laidlaw missed the conversion. 5-15.
Their tails were up and they easily found their way back into Ayr's half, but the men in pink and black turned over and cleared. Possession switched hands much to the frustration of the crowd until replacement back row Pete McCallum got his hands on the ball and flew off.
Richard Dalgleish, on for an injured Gossman, used his strength and speed to elude the defenders and passed at just the right moment for man of the match Taylor to race in under the posts. Armstrong converted. 12-15.
Ayr had finally got a spring in their step and when the ball went loose, Bordill kicked it on for Dalgleish and replacement centre Aidan Holland to chase. They made metres but the referee called everyone back for an infringement. Boroughmuir secured possession and Ayr worked hard to pin them in their own half and then earn themselves a scrum. Sutherland charged off but the lack of support saw him pinged for holding on.
Boroughmuir were looking edgy, knocking on at the subsequent line-out. A couple of scrums followed, and a few line-outs too, until Ayr worked their way up to Boroughmuir's line and showed patience until McCallum found a tiny gap to get the ball down for a much celebrated try.
Armstrong brilliantly struck the conversion just as the Red Arrows began swooping about. 19-15. It was a false dawn for the Millbrae men though. Boroughmuir were not about to let this one go and they willed themselves into Ayr's half and camped out on the five-metre line. A pile-up under the posts brought a try, scored by whom, nobody was quite sure.
Head coach Bruce Aitchison told the press box just to put his name down on the score sheet, much to his own amusement.
Laidlaw converted amidst the Boroughmuir celebrations. 19-22.
The referee blew for full-time as soon as the conversion went over. It was a well deserved victory for Boroughmuir,.
Final score: Ayr 19 Boroughmuir 22
Next game 12th September home to Currie RFC. Kick off at 3pm