Ayr eeked past Edinburgh Accies for their seventh consecutive victory of the season. On a sunny day at Raeburn Place, the visitors ran in three tries to keep their unblemished record going in this year's RBS Premiership.
Proceedings did not immediately go Ayr's way, as Accies set their stall out early, with a break from number eight Callum Reid. But some clever play from Ayr's hooker Hayden Wisnewski and a huge tackle from second row Scott Sutherland turned things around. Within five minutes, Ayr had their first score with stand-off Ross Curle flying in for a try. Scrum-half Sylvain Diez knocked over the conversion. 0-7.
Diez had another shot at goal four minutes later, as he attempted to slot a penalty but hit the post. Accies were undaunted by Ayr's pressure and worked hard for a turn-over, but it came to nothing. Centre Robbie Fergusson proved why he's one of the most exciting young prospects in the country with some marvellously jinky running.
However, it was winger Gavin Lowe, recently called up the Scotland under-18s squad, who got Ayr's second try (pictured above). Aged just seventeen and gaining his first start of the season, Lowe had a superb game. Diez's conversion was just short, leaving the score at 0-12.
Accies pressed on, with some impressive running from winger Sam Pecqueur. They couldn't find their way to the try line, but they had their first chance for points at thirteen minutes when stand-off Ruairidh Bonner kicked a penalty. 3-12.
He might be one of the smallest players in the squad, but winger Craig Gossman has shown himself to be as effective in defence as attack, and he brilliantly brought down Accies full-back Ruairidh Young as he tried to break out of his own half. Ayr's defence held up well in a pressure-filled period at the mid-point of the first half.
The two sides tusselled and matched each other for much of the half, and Ayr's next opportunity for points only came at thirty-two minutes when Fergusson crossed for a well-deserved try, following a break from flanker Graham Fisken. Diez missed the conversion. 3-17.
Just before half-time, Bonner had another shot at goal but missed. Although Ayr seemed to be leading comfortably, Accies were not done yet.
The second half saw the home side raise their game and Ayr supporters' blood pressure. Their mobile prop Alex Allan caused all sorts of problems, as did flanker Dan Teague. Their defence managed to contain Gossman, who was itching to break away every time the ball came to him.
It was Ayr's indiscipline that let them down, with Curle committing a sufficiently serious high tackle on winger Josh Pecqueur at fifty-three minutes near the line to warrant a penalty try. Bonner easily converted to make it 10-17.
Ayr were impressive at the line-out with a few good steals, but they couldn't take advantage. Diez, however, pushed the score on with a penalty at fifty-six minutes to give Ayr a bit more breathing space. 10-20.
Two minutes later, however, Accies scored a try, Josh Pecqueur touching down. Bonner missed the conversion. 15-20. They weren't so much creeping back into the game as charging their way into it. Bonner had another chance at a penalty goal five minutes after the try and was successful. 18-20.
It was an extremely tense final quarter with Ayr desperate for a bonus point-securing fourth try and Accies looking for a home victory. Back row replacement Ross Doneghan and Sutherland both looked to be heading for the score sheet but the referee called them back on separate occasions.
Gossman then seemed to be over for a try but was ajudged to be in touch. It was only some solid Ayr defence that prevented Accies from snatching a win in the dying seconds of the game. There was relief among the travelling pink and black army when the final whistle was blown. Seven matches and seven victories; it's back to the east coast next Saturday for an encounter with Currie to see if the Millbrae men can make it eight from eight.