Match Report: Joni Hare
Photos by Dave Patterson
Having had a great win against Heriots last week making it 4 wins in a row, the Magic 2s came into this match vs Ayr in a confident mood. The first league match of the season had been away to Ayr where the boys posted an excellent win. This week we were hoping to do our first ‘double’ over a team this season. Sadly that was not to happen this week as the 2s succumbed to a 24-18 loss.
The Ayr team looked a very different outfit compared to who we faced back in early September, much more physical, more pace, and with more of a game plan. The Boroughmuir team was much the same as the previous week, the only changed being Ally McLeod getting a deserved call up to the 1st XV, Ed Farquharson rejoining us, Murray Johnstone starting and some positional changes for Ian Martin and Jamie Summers.
With Muir kicking off and playing into a strong win, just like the last match vs Ayr, Ayr got off to a flier scoring within 30 seconds of kick off. A scrum on half way lead to the Ayr No.8 who carried well all day feeding the 9 who gave to the speedy 15. He broke the first line of defence and completed a simple 2 v 1 to put the winger in under the posts, conversion was good. Not exactly the start Muir were looking for but the experience and confidence in the squad meant there was no panic as we went to kick off again.
A few minutes after the try and Muir had some good possession, sadly without the territory that we needed, while it was clear that we were able to keep hold of the ball well we weren’t making many inroads into the defence. With good defensive line speed by Ayr Muir were under a bit of pressure and a couple of wayward kicks lead to the Ayr back 3 counter attacking well and getting into our 22. Ayr’s second try came after 10minutes following some sustained pressure, the conversion was good.
10 minutes in, 14 points down and playing into a strong headwind was not an ideal position to be in but credit to the Magic who began to play with good shape and direction. The forwards, lead very well by Robbie Wilson and Stu Clark, and organised by Muzz and Ian, started to carry right into the heart of Ayr, bursting through numerous 1st up tackles and breaking the gain line time and time again, was exactly what was required.
The most pleasing aspect of this was how hard each ball carrier fought to go forward and present the ball properly. This work rate allowed the backs to play with front foot ball, giving the likes of Ed, Chris Hardie and captain Rab opportunities to get outside their opposite man, again putting us in behind the defence forcing them to scramble.
It was this type of play which led to Muir’s first try on 30minutes, it started with good forward carries and was finished by some excellent interplay between the backs. After a number of carries from the base, and forward runners from 9 the ball was shipped to Hardie who took his man on the outside, freed his hands and offloaded to Ed who ran a great supporting line. Ed then drew the last defender, timed his pass well and put Gav Welsh into space. Gav still had some work to do to but he had enough speed to out pace the covering defenders to touch down, the conversion by Ian was successful.
Following the try Muir continued on the front foot and had plenty of possession, sadly they couldn’t make it over the line but a penalty on half time by Ian was reward for all the hard work the team had done following Gav’s try.
HT: Muir 8 – 14 Ayr
With the wind at Muir’s back for the second half there was a belief within the squad that they could continue the good work started in the first half, get some good field position, keep hold of the ball and get over the try line a couple of times.
Unfortunately Ayr had other ideas and started the second half in the ascendancy, keeping the ball tight and using their slight dominance in the scrum to win a couple of penalties. They managed to keep the pressure on, and despite some strong defence Muir couldn’t keep Ayr out. After 16 minutes of the second half they squeezed over for a try with a successful conversion.
Not long after the restart Muir managed to win a penalty and a good decision by Rab to go for goal and keep the pressure on the score board was justified when Ian slotted the kick with the help of the cross bar.
After the penalty Muir were keeping hold of the ball quite well and it looked like Ayr were tiring, however we were not able to break the defence down. Ayr were then awarded a penalty which they kick. Muir 11 – 24 Ayr.
More pressure and possession from Muir, along with some excellent ball carrying, clearouts and support work, finally paid off for the boys as the defensive line was broken, the ball was fed to Officer Ally McLaurin who showed some very impressive footwork to beat the last 2 defenders and dot down. Conversion successful. Muir 18 – 24 Ayr
After Ally’s try the ref indicated there were 4 minutes of play left….plenty of time to get back down the pitch and go for the winning score. Sadly it was not to be, as despite some good ball carrying and lot of hard work, the Magic 2s were not able to get into position to mount a final attack on the try line, and Ayr were able to see out the match.
Credit to Ayr who are a much changed team from the last game, they have a game plan and stick to it well. They are however beatable and there was a sense after the match that Muir could have won it.
All of the Muir boys will no doubt be disappointed but they should still be pleased with the effort they put in, and the attitude they showed despite going 14 nil down after 10 minutes. There are plenty of positives to take into next week vs Watsonians, where hopefully the boys can get one over on our local rivals.