Ayr reached the quarter-finals of the BT Cup with a nine-try win against Aberdeen Grammar, but they didn't get it all their own way at Rubislaw.
It was a grey, drizzly day in Aberdeen, but the hosts had a bright start, retaining possession early on, and when they lost it, managing to turn it over.
However, a kick for territory was gathered by Ayr full-back Grant Anderson, he let loose winger Richard Dalgleish who found Frazier Climo and the stand-off (playing at inside centre for the day) sailed away for the first try. Paddy Dewhirst, in Climo's number ten shirt, couldn't convert. 0-5.
The ground was beginning to get quite slippy, but the scrum held on, number eight and captain Pete McCallum and scrum-half Harry Warr, launching an attack from behind it with winger Jamie Bova. But the latter quickly had to turn his attention to defence when Grammar nabbed the ball and charged up the wing. Bova hauled the attacker into touch.
Grammar made Ayr work hard for the next try, the visitors finding it difficult to get through the defence. Warr moved the game this way and that, outside centre Danny McCluskey and hooker Robbie Smith trying to breach the wall, until Bova dived on a chip over the line for the score. It was another conversion attempt out wide and Dewhirst couldn't make it. 0-10.
Another score was on its way, prop George Hunter, Smith, Bova and flanker Lewis Anderson all headed for the line, with the latter's back row partner Blair Macpherson looking like he would be the one to cross it, but it was prop Adam Prentice who eventually claimed his first points in a pink and black shirt. Dewhirst converted. 0-17.
Grammar half-backs Jake Gray and Sam Knudson injected some pace into their team's game but they were closed down just as quickly by the likes of Ayr second rows Craig Stevenson and Robert McAlpine, both of whom had another good day the line-out and helped the Ayr scrum shove Aberdeen around in the mud.
McCallum and Macpherson made for the line after claiming the ball at a Grammar put-in, but the greasy ball eluded Ayr hands, only to find Dalgleish on the wing moments later, and he flew over for a try. Yet another wide-angled conversion attempt for Dewhirst and he couldn't add the extras. 0-22.
Ayr were back in the corner quickly, McCallum diving over this time. Dewhirst's conversion was on target but hit the crossbar. 0-27.
Grant Anderson, Bova and Climo combined to get right up to Aberdeen's five-metre line but couldn't get any further until an Ayr scrum trundled past it, McCallum picked up the ball from the back and dotted it down for the try. Climo had a go at the conversion but he missed too. 0-32.
The hosts began the second half with vigour, getting their set-piece in order and releasing their speedy backs. They turned the ball over and winger Matt Arnold suddenly charged away for a try, which inside centre Tom Aplin converted. 7-32.
Aberdeen turned up the pressure with some probing kicks and full-back Doug Russell leading the backs through the Ayr defence. The visitors brought on some fresh, non-mud-splattered legs in Gregor Henry, Graham Hunter, Craig Brown and Ross Curle and they found themselves very busy, trying to contain Grammar.
Curle got the attack going for Ayr, with Henry in on it too, but a high tackle on the young flanker brought a penalty, and from it a line-out. It was another replacement, prop Steven Longwell, who fought his way over for a try for Ayr, which Dewhirst converted. 7-39.
Longwell stretched his legs, haring after an Aberdeen kick, which bobbled out of play before the hosts could get to it. From the line-out, Curle was off on a run again, but soon he was tackling alongside Henry and George Hunter to stop Grammar from scoring.
Curle, Smith, Bova and both Hunters - George and Graham - got stuck into attack but Grammar's defence held on long enough to repel them.
A couple of strong scrums - George Hunter now at number eight as McCallum had taken his leave - and a penalty when Grammar were pinged for holding on got Ayr back into a good attacking position and McCluskey blasted his way over the line, with Dewhirst adding the subsequent two points. 7-46.
Aberdeen quickly replied, Arnold launching himself on to an Ayr pass. There was no stopping him. It was unconverted, but the crowd was still cheering on their team. 12-46.
The men in pink and black had the final say though, Henry claiming an unconverted try just before the final whistle. 12-51.
Ayr now go into the quarter-finals of the BT Cup against an as yet unknown opponent, with the draw due to be made this week.
Final score: Aberdeen Grammar 12 Ayr 51.
- Elena Hogarth.