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Sat 23 Sept - Currie Chieftains v Ayr - Match Report & Video
Click here for the Ayr match highlights video

A view from the touchline – BT Premier League: 23.9.17.

Currie 15 pts (t 3) v Ayr 24 pts (t 3, c 3, pg 1)

The Chieftains’ performance was very much like the weekend’s unpredictable autumn weather; a little sunshine interspersed with plenty of threatening black clouds which had you wondering if this was going to be a sunhat or an umbrella day? When the sun finally shone, which was only late in the game, Currie had given the robust Ayr team too much leeway to overhaul their impressive first half display and substantial points tally. Compared with the three previous outings, this was not a good day at the office; too many mistakes, a degree of edginess and a lack of composure especially, when chasing the game.

At this early stage of the season, Ayr were sitting in an unaccustomed position at the wrong end of the Premiership, and Currie knew that the visitors would be out to rectify the situation. Within minutes of the start they had the home team on the rack. Currie’s defence was strong and made an admirable attempt to keep them out, but the pressure finally told and after several near misses, Pete McCallum crashed over from close range, for a try that was converted by Scott Lyle.

The Chieftains regrouped and moved into the visitors’ 22, but the adventure was short-lived. An interception allowed Ayr to clear and they soon had Currie on the back foot again. Some slick handling created space down the left, and from 30 metres out, flying wing, Craig Gossman had a free run to the corner flag; Lyle converted. With just fourteen minutes gone the visitors had as many points on the board. Matt O’Neil was supplying plenty of good ball for his backs, but on almost every occasion, when the home team looked dangerous, the move was halted by an uncharacteristic error, and the advantage forfeited. When Hamish Bain had to retire injured, after another promising attack had faltered only metres from the opposition goal line, the gathering black rain clouds looked as menacing as the substantial Ayr pack, who slowly bludgeoned their way down-field, while protecting the ball at every breakdown. The Chieftains did their damndest to stifle the advance, but infringements mounted. Scott Lyle kicked a penalty and added a conversion a few minutes later, following Danny McCluskey’s half break and off-load to the supporting Pete McCallum. Just on halftime, Currie did cross the Ayr line with a fast flowing move that was typical of their previous outings. Some fine back play had Thomas Gordon putting Ben Robbins in space, however the officials spotted an infringement and the touchdown was disallowed. The sun was beginning to peep through, but could the Chieftains start to shine?
Halftime score – Currie 0 pts, Ayr 24 pts

Ayr made a spirited start to the second half, and every time that they got into Currie’s 22 a score looked possible. The home team did well to contain them and counter-attacked with some success. There was plenty of excitement but scoring did not resume until the final quarter, when Scott Sutherland was shown a yellow card; once again Currie botched the opportunity and Ayr cleared to touch. Cammy Gray took a quick throw-in to set Ben Robbins on his way for the corner flag; Ayr’s reaction was too slow to stop the unconverted try.

With an extra man Currie looked a different team. The ball moved fast, if not that smoothly, across the pitch, and Ayr started to puff visibly as their defence was stretched. Three long pin-point passes gave Harvey Elms room to squeeze over; once again the wide-out try was not converted, but the late afternoon sun was shining brightly as the Chieftains continued to press. The home team were almost in top gear, when Jamie Forbes slipped through the smallest of gaps to score under the posts, and the visitors were clearly worried.

Unfortunately, when chasing a game things can go pear-shaped, and they did. In order to make the most of the remaining few minutes, the hastily-taken conversion kick bounced off the cross bar; the sentiment was correct but the miss was disappointing, as were so many of the team’s ‘slip-ups’ during the afternoon. It is well to remember that little mishaps can have big consequences! This was just one of those grey days when very little goes right. There were some positive pointers; the team did not capitulate and it was not the drubbing it could have been; Ayr did not score in the second half, and it was a strong Currie finish, but no points from the game, although the sun did eventually shine! A tough trip to the Greenyards next weekend, the Chieftains have the spirit and commitment to make it another exciting contest. IJS, 23.9.17

Updated 24/09/2017 by Ian Gidney