It was a difficult afternoon at Millbrae for Ayr Ladies on Sunday as they were overrun by a slick and dominant Broughton in the BT Women's National League Division 1.
The visitors from Edinburgh were straight into action and the ladies in pink and black had to get stuck into defensive mode, with number eight Lynda Morgan, full-back Catherine Shennan, flanker Laura Somerville and centres Daryl Paterson and Laura Turner putting in the tackles.
When the home team did secure possession, the wily forwards of Broughton managed to turn it over and pin Ayr in their own half. But Paterson, along with prop Lindsay Dick, was on hand to stop their attackers getting too far.
It wasn't enough though, and before too long, Broughton's flying full-back was dodging her way round the defence to score the opening try. It went unconverted. 0-5.
Ayr captain Gemma Swankie had a good day kicking from hand and was able to punish Broughton's infringments by getting some great distance as she searched for the corner. But the visitors were all over them and again turned over possession, leaving prop Louise McLauchlan, winger Jackie O'Neil and flanker Eilidh Thomson to try and limit the damage.
Broughton's slick passing was causing Ayr problems too, but winger Phoebe McDowall, replacement hooker Megan Thomson and Eilidh Thomson, in particular, drew gasps from the sizable crowd with their determined tackling.
They just couldn't contain Broughton's speedy backs though and they were over in the corner for their second unconverted try. 0-10.
Ayr were pinged for not rolling away but Broughton sent their kick for the corner straight into the arms of Megan Thomson, who shot off on a terrific run. Broughton were offside and again Swankie booted it for the line-out. Morgan had a great take that allowed Ayr to launch a promising attack, but the visitors' defence forced the knock-on from Ayr.
Before anyone knew it, Broughton were away again, their full-back getting another unconverted try. 0-15.
Ayr Ladies didn't let their heads go down and produced two solid scrums to let stand-off Rachael Mulholland, second row Ashleigh Nelson and McLauchlan make for the try-line. They were just held up. A few moments later and Mulholland took the quick one to burrow over for an unconverted try. 5-15.
Tempers flared at the end of the first half after some good work in attack from Mulholland and Eilidh Thomson and defence from Paterson and lively replacement scrum-half Rachel Morrison.
It was a sunny yet bitterly cold day in Alloway and the second half began messily with hands no doubt numbing on both sides. There were some unintentionally clumsy tackles from each team too.
More good work at the line-out from Swankie and Morgan let Ayr drive on but somehow Broughton turned it over and they were racing away for a converted try. 5-22.
Moments later, the visitors crossed again. This try was unconverted. 5-27.
Ayr were continuing to get stuck into the tackles, Nelson and her second row partner Zoe Montgomerie dragging down the opposition, but once Broughton spotted even the tiniest of gaps, they were slipping through and dancing over the line for another converted try. 5-34.
Ayr were getting bullied at the scrum, but they held steady at the line-out and this let Turner break away up the wing. She couldn't escape the clutches of Broughton's defenders though.
The visitors then scored two unconverted tries in very quick succession. 5-44.
But still Ayr Ladies wouldn't throw in the towel, scrum-half Niamh Durnan managing to close down the Broughton fliers. Three turnovers in a row kept the crowd guessing and when Ayr secured possession they camped out on the visitors' try-line until the referee had had enough of Broughton's infringements and awarded Ayr the penalty try, which O'Neil duly converted. 12-44.
Turner, both Thomsons, Montgomerie and Mulholland pressed on, but Broughton closed them down. A scrum apiece followed, but the visitors kept the home team trapped in their own half until the referee blew the whistle for full-time.
Final score: Ayr Ladies 12 Broughton 44.
- Elena Hogarth.