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Ayr :53 - Currie : 10
A View from the Touchline – BT Premier League: 27.8.16

Ayr 53 pts (t 8, c 5, pg 1) v Currie 10 pts (t 1, c 1, pg 1)

On a warm sunny afternoon, what could be better than a trip to the seaside? Unfortunately, Currie’s visit to the west coast resort turned into a bit of a nightmare as mistakes were punished by a rampant Ayr team who made the most of their opportunities, and luck, in an eight tries romp.

Within the first minute, Currie’s enterprise was thwarted when they tried to move the ball wide inside their 22; in a crunching tackle the loose ball shot into the hands of the alert Ayr backs and Ross Curle cruised in for an unconverted score. For the next ten minutes play moved to the other end with Currie battering the Ayr line without reward; twice they went over but the ball was held up by a strong Ayr defence who eventually cleared, and then caused the visitors more misery. Frazier Climo converted Pete McCullum’s try, following another Currie mid-field mix up when the ball went loose and was hacked through.

At this stage, apart from Currie’s propensity to lose the ball at critical moments, there was little between the teams. Currie was having the better of lineout play although their scrum was starting to feel the strain. It was clear however that Ayr had the speed and ability to make the most of any opportunity, with their direct quick action and stunning support play. Following another period of Currie pressure, and after a Charlie Shiel try was disallowed for a double movement, Ayr again stretched their lead with two more scores from speedy backs Archie Russell and Jamie Bova; Frazier Climo added both conversions and a penalty goal for good measure. Ayr had bagged their bonus point by halftime and the situation looked a little grim for the visitors.
Halftime Score – Ayr 29 pts, Currie 0 pts
Within a minute of the restart Jamie Forbes slotted a Currie penalty as they took hold of the game with some exciting play in Ayr territory. Unfortunately the stout, in-your-face Millbrae defence eventually turned over the Currie attack; the breakout was finished by their big fast wing. Jamie Bova chased a kick ahead and plucked a wicked bounce from the grasp of Currie’s covering defence; it was not the visitors’ day!

By the final quarter Ayr were running like a well-oiled machine as the ball glided through their backs with ease and speed; Frazier Climo converted his own try and one from Danny McCluskey. Between these scores man-of-the-match Jamie Bova claimed his hat trick following another kick-and-chase that left the Currie defence in his slipstream. Currie never gave up and in the closing minutes their efforts were finally rewarded with a Cammy Gray try. A precision cross-field kick from Jamie Forbes gave the Currie wing free passage to the line; Jamie Forbes converted.

It was noticeable that nearly every time Ayr got within striking distance of the Currie line, they came away with points, whereas the visitors could not convert any of their frequent visits into the Ayr danger zone, especially in the first half. There was no doubt that this well-drilled, muscular Ayr team were pumped up and still smarting from the previous season’s disappointments. If Currie had managed to hold on to the ball when the home side were under pressure, the result could have been a little closer.

There were still some positives that the Currie coaching team will take from this match, especially as four of the eight Ayr tries could have been avoided. Hamish Bain, Steven Ainslie and Rhys Davies controlled the lineout and caused considerable disruption for the opposition. Ross Weston cleaned up at the back of a creaking scrum in his usually competent manner, and Thomas Gordon carried and harassed throughout the afternoon. Graeme Carson and Fergus Scott were prominent in close work near the Ayr goal line, but without more support these efforts hit a robust Ayr defence which knocked them backwards. Jamie Forbes handled and kicked with classy style and his back line played with spirit and flair but a fast and furious advancing opposition needs be treated with more care and cunning. Currie will welcome Gala to Malleny Park next weekend, 3rd September, KO 3.00pm. IJS, 28.8.16

Updated 28/08/2016 by Ian Gidney