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Currie :32 - Ayr :41
A View from the Touchline – BT Premier League: 29.10.16

Currie 32 pts (t 4, c 3, pg 2) v Ayr 41 pts (t 5, c 5, pg 2)

The last day of British Summer Time had an overcast autumnal feel about it, but Malleny Park was illuminated with a sparkling display of Premiership rugby. As the League moved into the second half of this season’s campaign, Currie knew that they would have to be on top form against the high flying West Coast outfit who gave them a bloody nose when they visited the seaside town back in August. After some recent injuries, the Ayrshire team were once again at full strength and looking to improve their record in the Capital; but after a profitable first half, Currie had their measure. Although the potential Malleny banana skin was avoided with a late try that sealed a narrow victory, the home side had the visitors, and their supporters, twitching during the closing stages of this terrifically exciting encounter.

The first scrum gave an ominous sign of the tough afternoon in store for the Currie pack; they were driven backwards and the visitors started to dictate. Within four minutes, a well-organised forward drive from a penalty lineout five metres out, resulted in try for Will Bordill. The conversion was not a simple kick, but Frazier Climo made it look easy, as he did with most things during the match. Currie were not phased by the early setback, and they pounced when a subsequent Ayr attack malfunctioned; the ball went sweetly through the home backs and Harvey Elms was only just stopped short of the line. The Currie pack worked hard at the resulting rucks which were well policed by the brawny Ayr forwards; that was until Ross Weston took the direct route and crashed through the middle. The try was not converted and Ayr again resumed their attacking game that probed for gaps in Currie’s defence. Frazier Climo and James Bywater added penalty goals to each score when there seemed little chance of breaking through respective defences.

Were it not for a poor pass that Cammy Gray cunningly intercepted, Ayr could have stretched their lead, although the visitors need not have worried. A few minutes later they worked a repeat performance of their first try; Will Bordill touched down after a penalty lineout rumbled over and Frazier Climo converted. Ludovic Cayve, the French exchange referee, who is on the fringe of top-line duties with the FFR, was fair and strict with his decisions, endeavouring to keep the match flowing; Currie were being penalised for infringing at breakdowns and Climo’s boot made them pay for these misdemeanours. A third penalty lineout caught Currie off-guard; the unexpected short throw went to Scott Sutherland who was unmarked at the front, and he strolled in for a converted try. As Ayr’s confidence grew, punishment was heaped on Currie who were playing well, but hampered by niggling errors. Full back, Grant Anderson, joined the attack and his elusive inside step opened passage to the line; Climo converted, but the scoreboard did not reflect Currie’s efforts.
Halftime score - Currie11 pts, Ayr 31 pts.
The second half did not start well for the home team. Frasier Climo’s cultured boot added another penalty goal, but apart from this, and a few short periods which included the visiting stand-off’s try towards the end of the game, Ayr did not have much say in proceedings. Currie now took control, and in their effort to reel in the 23 point deficit, a transformed team constructed two excellent tries that both involved patient build-ups. The pack made the hard yards before the ball whizzed wide for Robbie Nelson and then Cammy Gray to run in tries that James Bywater converted; the efforts of Hamish Bain, Steven Ainslie, Luke Crosbie and Graeme Carson, did not go unnoticed. Ayr started panicking, and a yellow card for constant infringements did not help their cause.

Currie now had them by the throat. A mesmerising 60 metre run by Harvey Elms ripped the visitors’ defence apart, and it should have completed the comeback; if only a crucial pass had not been slightly forward when the line was at Currie’s mercy, the points gap could have been only two. As it was, Ayr retrieved the situation with a mammoth clearance from Frasier Climo, and a few minutes later the coup de grace was his score that finally turned the match in Ayr’s favour. The Malleny team did have the final word when Ben Robbins was on the end of some excellent handling for a try that Harvey Elms converted. Unfortunately the visitors’ first half lead was just too much for this young positive Currie team to overcome, but they did have a good shot at it; the result was thrilling entertainment. Off to the Borders next weekend with an away fixture at Gala, KO at 3.00pm. For some ridiculous reason the Premiership then shuts down for four weeks! Fixtures resume on Saturday December 3rd. IJS, 30.10.16

Updated 30/10/2016 by Ian Gidney