Tennent's Premiership
by Callum Kerr
AYR RFC fell just short on Saturday to a strong Currie Chieftains side at Malleny Park. 
A great showing from the pack had Ayr up early but as the game came down to the wire Chieftains managed to edge out a one-point victory.
The home side were spurred on by the tragic loss of their Chairman Campbell Reynolds through the week and put in an inspiring defensive shift to see out a 24-23 win.
Throughout the early stages Ayr were on top courtesy of their pack. Just three minutes into the fixture they drew first blood with a Steven Longwell try. The prop latched onto the back of a destructive rolling maul and marched over. The conversion was denied by the uprights.
Murchie’s men were reaping the rewards of a destructive scrum and controlled proceedings via the set-piece. Chieftains looked dangerous when feeding their backs but an inability to compete at scrum-time gifted Ayr valuable penalties all over the pitch.
After 20 minutes Currie managed to escape their set-piece woes and get onto the scoresheet. Matt Hooks, who was a late replacement before kick-off, darted through illusive defending and had pace to burn, scoring out wide. Hunter split the uprights to take the lead.
The game slowly started to open up and a game which was predominantly played by the packs was no allowing the backs to flourish. Weaving runs from Grant Anderson and Paddy Dewhirst was exploiting gaps out wide but heroic covering defence from the home side continually managed to force errors in the final third.
Just as the sun set on an opening half of rugby, Ayr had one last go out wide. Winger Kyle Rowe managed to worm his way through some loose defence before finding the supporting Blair Macpherson on his outside. Macpherson still had plenty to do and powered clear with no regard to the attempting tacklers trying to pull him down. The conversion slipped wide.
In similar fashion to Ayr’s opening try, Currie scored minutes after the interval. From a line-out Ayr anticipated the rolling maul but a well-worked move unleashed Matt Hooks in the midfield. Hooks dotted down to regain the lead, with Hunter’s conversion falling short.
The lead changed hands once more when Harry Warr was tackled high deep in Chieftains half. Climo took aim at the posts and made no mistake. 12-13.
Just before the hour, club skipper Peter McCallum took to the field after a long lay-off through injury. It took him just 30 seconds to mark his return with a try, scoring from the back of a maul. Climo’s conversion made it 12-20.
With 15 minutes left, Currie managed to cut the deficit. Former-Ayr man Fergus Scott, who was also returning from injury, scored a carbon-copy of McCallum’s try. The conversion meant only a single point separated the sides.
With the clock dwindling down.
Climo stretched the lead with a long-range effort at the posts, but a try from the home side moments later gave them a 24-23 lead and set up a gut-wrenching finale.
As the clock went red Ayr had possession and looked to snatch victory. The phases tally went through the roof as the forwards tried to chip away at a strong Currie defence.
Cheered on by a rampant Malleny Park Currie denied the visitors time and time again and exercised great self-discipline to see out the game without giving away a penalty.