Sunday, 8 March 2015

Currie 10 Ayr 3

Anyone who had seen the forecast of heavy overnight and early morning rain and thirty-three mile an hour winds for Balerno would have known that Ayr's BT Premiership match with Currie wasn't going to be pretty for either side.  Unfortunately, it was more ugly for the visitors than the home team.

Ayr had the first chance to get points on the board after hooker Stuart Fenwick was tackled without the ball.  Full-back Grant Anderson stepped up to the tee with scrum-half David Armstrong on hand to steady the ball, but the swirling breeze pulled the kick away from the posts.

Line-outs for both sides didn't move the game on as kicks for the corner were short in the wind.  Currie made the first foray with ball in hand, breaking up the wing, but were in touch.  A few infringements from Ayr let Currie creep into their half and despite some good defence from flankers Andrew Dunlop and Blair Macpherson, stand-off Danny McCluskey and number eight Graham Fisken, Currie winger Ruaridh Smith sailed through a gap for a try.  Joe Reynolds couldn't convert in the wind.  5-0.

The pitch looked like it was churning up but Smith was enjoying a run around, as was flanker Travis Brooke.  He looked to be away until Armstrong put in a flying tackle.  McCluskey, captain Dean Kelbrick and prop Fraser Watt were also working hard to nullify the threat of Currie's lively attackers.

A brief period of knocks-on, scrums, penalties and line-outs for both sides followed, culminating in Anderson having another attempt at goal which he couldn't manage.  A few minutes later and he was lining up the ball, again with Armstrong steadying it in the wind, and this time it went over the crossbar.  5-3.

Currie patiently worked their way into Ayr's half and drove from a line-out to the try-line, where captain Ross Weston grounded for their second try.  Reynolds' conversion attempt was almost blown backwards.  10-3.

Although there were no further scores for the rest of the match, it wasn't entirely uneventful.  After Currie's try it looked like Ayr would cross the whitewash too when the ball went bobbling over the line, winger Craig Gossman chasing.  But it went too far.

Next, centre Robbie Fergusson had an opportunity from an Armstrong kick, but Currie beat him to it.

Currie gave away two penalties in quick succession and good work at the line-out from second row Rob McAlpine looked promising only for Ayr to lose possession.

The wind picked up at the start of the second half and Currie's restart flew right off the pitch and almost into the river.  The ensuing scrum let Kelbrick jink his way round the defenders but the ball was knocked on.

An odd passage of play followed, with Ayr stuck in their own half and alternating possession with their hosts.  Neither could do anything with the ball and Currie ended up lobbing it to the spectators on the sidelines.

Young front row player William Black, a late addition to the bench in place of David Young, came on for Watt and got stuck into the defence along with Armstrong, who had moved to stand-off when McCluskey retired.  Murray McConnell took over at scrum-half.

Ayr finally got out of their own half thanks to an exciting break from Armstrong but it came to nothing.  After further line-outs, knocks-on and scrums for each team, Anderson, Fisken and McAlpine all had a go at livening things up but could get nowhere.

Currie turned over and Brooke again was marauding away until Fisken felled him.  Gossman then put in an enormous tackle, drawing disbelieving gasps from the crowd, and injured himself in the process.  He was replaced by Cammy Taylor.

Armstrong popped a lovely pass to Kelbrick after another scrum and the inside centre battled his way through Currie's defenders before finding winger Richard Dalgleish who looked to have produced his trademark stretching dive in the corner for a try only for the assistant referee to raise his flag for a foot in touch.

Ayr tried again, Taylor this time slicing his way through the yellow shirts.  Fenwick handed off a defender superbly but the ball went loose and Currie hacked on.  Luckily, Anderson was there to tidy it up.

The wind was behind even more strange occurrences as a freak gust caught a pass just as it had reached the fingertips of a Currie attacker and took it away from him like some kind of ghostly intervention.

Fenwick found himself in the sin bin and with another young Ayr prop Ben Paterson on, the visitors did well to hold their defence and prevent Currie from scoring a try.  It looked like they had one last chance to get a try themselves when Currie infringed at the ruck but the line-out went awry and Ayr knocked on.

It all got very messy until the clock ticked down and Currie booted the ball off the pitch, on purpose this time, and the referee blew his whistle for full time.

Final score: Currie 10 Ayr 3.

-Elena Hogarth.

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