BOROUGHMUIR became the first team to defeat Ayr this season in the top flight and they thoroughly deserved this victory at Meggetland. From the first whistle to the last the home side bossed proceedings and did not let Ayr settle.
In hooker James Bett, prop Ross Dunbar, back-row Jamie Ritchie and centre Ronan Kerr they had the best four players on the pitch; but from 1-15 and subs, all can be proud of this performance.
Ayr suffered a number of injuries during the match, the most serious looking to be to back-row Gregor Henry, but they never got out of the blocks and they will not enjoy watching this video nasty in the coming days.
Home head coach Peter Wright said, “I thought we definitely deserved to win and the guys stood up to everything Ayr threw at us.
“In attack the guys played the entertaining, offloading game that we want to and now we have to build on this result.”
Ayr head coach Calum Forrester said, “Congratulations to Boroughmuir, we were sluggish and never really got off the bus and they capitalised on that.
“I can’t put my finger on what went wrong, we just weren’t at it in this one.”
Boroughmuir made a late change with Alex Cox coming in to start in the centre with Mark Hare injured.
Ayr also made a change to their published starting XV, Rob McAlpine beginning the game in the second-row in place of Scott Sutherland. McAlpine had been on the bench for Glasgow Warriors on Friday night at the Dragons.
The visitors got off to the better start in the Edinburgh sunshine, stand-off Frazier Climo looking sharp early on. He kicked a penalty to touch in the fourth minute to give the Millbrae men a lineout five metres from the ‘Muir line, but hooker James Malcolm could not locate his jumpers and the chance was lost.
In the ninth minute, ‘Muir had a chance to open the scoring, but captain Chris Laidlaw’s penalty hit the left upright and bounced to safety.
Four minutes later the home side mounted a swift attack and when winger Jordan Edmunds managed to slip a neat pass to back-row Matt Walker 25 metres out a try looked a possibility.
Walker drew his man, but his pass to Kerr was overcooked and it went into touch and the opportunity was wasted.
Soon after it was the visitors who did get the day’s first points on the board, Climo kicking a simple penalty from in front of the posts.
And in the 20th minute the Kiwi added a second to make it 6-0 after a quarter of this contest.
A penalty by Laidlaw got ‘’Muir on the board in the 24th minute and then two minutes later they scored a well worked team try.
In the end it was teenager Dunbar with the score, running in from 15 metres after good work from winger Grant McConnell and others. Laidlaw converted and they were 10-6 up.
Ayr winger Cameron Taylor had suffered a head knock in the lead up to that score after a clash with Edmunds and he was replaced by Richard Dalgliesh while David Young also joined the fray soon after.
In the 34th minute Ayr should have had their first try, but winger Craig Gossman spilled the ball with the try line just five metres away.
Things were getting feisty out on the pitch by this stage with Ayr rattled.In the 38th minute their skipper Grant Anderson was lucky to escape a yellow card after a high tackle while, a few phases later, Edinburgh’s Ritchie was held up over the try line.
Right on the half-time whistle, after a pulsating first half of action, ‘Muir had the chance to extend their lead. However, Laidlaw’s effort from some 56 metres fell short and it was 10-6 at the break.
Borooughmuir started the second half as they had played most of the first, with purpose and determination. Two minutes into the second 40 minutes they extended their lead, a great break by Edmunds seeing Ritchie away for what looked like a try.
He was superbly tackled around five yards short of the line, but ‘Muir recycled and second-row Jamie Scott went over for the score. Laidlaw converted and the Edinburgh side were on the way to causing a shock at 17-6 up.
Ayr knew they had to do something – and fast – if they wanted to keep their unbeaten run going. They had a lot of possession in the next 15 minutes or so, but the ‘Muir defence stood firm and with 20 minutes to go it was still 17-6.
After a great shift, Walker was replaced by Andy Rose, the Zimbabwe international back from injury, for the home side while Anderson went off injured for Ayr.
Scott was then yellow carded for obstruction in the 65th minute and a minute later Ayr got a lifeline thanks to a pushover try by No.8 Blair Macpherson. Climo could not convert and it was 17-11.
Despite having just 14 men, ‘Muir found the extra energy to mount another attack and their persistence – and some cracking offloading – paid off when No.8 Craig Keddie went in for try number three under the posts. Laidlaw converted and with 10 minutes to go they were 24-11 up.
There was then a long stoppage for an injury to Ayr back-row Gregor Henry, but when play resumed Boroughmuir still had their tails up and went on to close out the match.
A cracking advert for Scottish club rugby and the standout result of the BT Premiership season to date.
Boroughmuir: Dougie Steele; Grant McConnell, Ronan Kerr, Alex Cox, Jordan Edmunds; Chris Laidlaw (C) , Sam Johnson; Ross Dunbar, James Bett, Dan Winning, Jamie Ure, Jamie Scott, Jamie Ritchie, Matt Walker, Craig Keddie. Subs: Stuart Clark, Dale Robertson, Aubrey Mncube, Andy Rose, Greg Cannie.
Ayr: Grant Anderson (C); Cameron Taylor, Danny McCluskey, Stafford McDowell, Craig Gossman; Frazier Climo, David Armstrong; George Hunter, James Malcolm, Adam Prentice, Craig Stevenson, Rob McAlpine, Will Bordill, Gregor Henry, Blair Macpherson. Subs: David Young, Steven Longwell, Scott Sutherland, Graham Hunter, Richard Dalgliesh.
Referee: Graeme Wells.
Man-of-the-Match:Ross Dunbar, Peter Wright singled out the teenage prop for praise after this one with Ritchie a close second.
Talking point: The offloading game Boroughmuir played was a joy to watch, if this kind of rugby doesn’t get the crowds back nothing will.
We hope you enjoyed reading The Offside Line this season.
Gary has had a love for both rugby and writing for as far back as he can remember. Having cut his teeth in the ‘real world’ of journalism at the Midlothian Advertiser local newspaper for a couple of years between 2005 and 2007, he has since been kept busy covering sport, mainly rugby. He was a member of the editorial team at SCRUM Magazine for 11 years until recently and now provides regular rugby content to various national and local newspapers, magazines and websites via his company GH Media as well as hosting a podcast. Twitter: G_HMedia