Sunday, 21 October 2012

Ayr 51 Aberdeen 5

Ayr were more than happy to return home to Millbrae to take on Aberdeen on a sunny, mild day in Alloway.  The men in pink and black were looking to get back on track after last week's defeat at the hands of Currie, and after a slow start to the match, showed just why they are atop the RBS Premiership table.

Aberdeen were certainly up for the challenge, and it was their tenacious defence that caused the first quarter of the match to be scoreless.  They were itching to get on in attack too, with full back Steven Aitken ever-ready to shoot off with ball in hand.  But a mixture of poor support play and Ayr's own doughty defence meant the visitors never got anywhere.
If Aberdeen were attempting to be loud and in Ayr's face, the home side showed a quiet determination, with poaching very much on their mind at the start of proceedings.  Flanker Andy Dunlop was always ready to pinch the ball when Aberdeen took their eye off it, and the visitors' line-out was also the victim of theft on more than one occasion.
Fresh from Scotland 7s duty on Australia's Gold Coast, scrum-half Peter Jericevich was a bundle of energy all afternoon, sparking several attacks.  His half-back partner Finn Russell put in a solid tackling display, more than matching the efforts of his forwards.
Glasgow Warriors' flanker James Eddie enjoyed his afternoon in pink and black, making some crucial tackles and charging around the pitch whenever he could.  But it was the backs who got the home side on the board at 27 minutes, with young centre Robbie Fergusson slickly touching down after a good run from the fired-up full back Grant Anderson.  Russell couldn't convert.  5-0.
Three minutes later, Anderson set up another score, this time with a great hand-off and sprint.  His pass found Craig Gossman, who happily nabbed the try.  Russell's conversion sailed wide.  10-0.
Although Ayr's defensive efforts continued to do the trick, with captain Callum Forrester (pictured above) being particularly robust, their discipline let them down, with Dunlop finding himself sent to the bin shortly before half-time.
There was one hairy moment (no, not Stuart Corsar's beard) just before the whistle, when a stray pass from Fergusson almost found the hands of an Aberdeen back, but the player in question knocked-on to save Ayr's blushes.
Ayr began the second half with real purpose, and scored three tries within the first eleven minutes.  The first was from hooker Hayden Wisnewski, who managed to burrow over from a ruck.  Jericevich took over kicking duties, but didn't have much luck, as he missed the conversion.  15-0.
The versatile Frenchman Sylvain Diez, on for a hobbling Fergusson, took the next score in exuberant style, almost cartwheeling over the line after a scintillating break from Gossman.  Jericevich converted.  22-0.
Gossman was on the case again, firing up the wing, and in the time it took to swat away the last of the autumn midges, he had scored Ayr's fifth try.  Anderson again set this score up, with a breath-taking break from his own half.  Jericevich got the extras.  29-0.
The next ten minutes or so were fairly messy, as Aberdeen desperately tried to stop the rot, but it was no use.  Ayr pressed for the line, and after what seemed like an age, Gordon Reid bundled over for Ayr's sixth try.  Jericevich couldn't manage the touchline conversion.  34-0.
Despite the efforts of Aitken and winger Ade Hales, Aberdeen couldn't get anywhere near the Ayr line.  Gossman zipped up the pitch once again and found centre Richard Dalgleish.  Always so solid in defence, the big centre was no doubt delighted to get on the score sheet.  Jericevich converted.  41-0.
Aberdeen weren't done yet, and they caught the home side napping - no wonder after such a frenetic thirty minutes.  Replacement back Sam Knudson appeared out of nowhere to score for the visitors.  It went unconverted, taking the tally to a more respectable 41-5.
Anderson, having created two tries, was determined to get one himself, and four minutes after Aberdeen's score, jinked round a few defenders and flew over the line with such ferocity that he nearly ended up over the advertising boards.  Thankfully, he managed to touch down.  It wasn't Jericevich's day with the boot, as he missed another conversion.  46-5.
Millbrae favourite Reid couldn't come back to Ayr without getting a brace of tries.  While everyone else's eyes were on Jericevich at the base of a ruck on the 22, Reid calmly picked up the ball and snuck up the wing to claim his second score of the day and the last of the afternoon.  A missed conversion saw the final score 51-5.
Man of the match was awarded to Grant Anderson, but all twenty players involved played their part in a great afternoon of rugby.

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