Tennent's Premiership



By Callum Kerr

SATURDAY saw Ayr fall to Heriots in a disappointing home display, which subsequently has seen them knocked off the league's top spot after a scintillating start to life in the Tennents Premiership.

On a day where the teams battled the elements as much as each other, Heriots masterfully executed their game plan and managed to bully Ayr up front to run away deserved winners.

Contrary to what may be expected, the hosts shot out of the blocks quickest. After just a few minutes a crafty grubber from Danny McCluskey was poorly dealt with by the scrambling Heriots defence, allowing Paddy Dewhirst to hack on and dive over for his third try in the last two games. Kicker Frazier Climo faced a mammoth task in slotting a touchline conversion into the eye of the storm, with rain skimming horizontally due to a menacing wind. The kiwi remained unfazed by the added challenge and split the uprights.

Heriots enjoyed much of the possession from that moment on. Triumphant defence at times from Peter Murchie’s men was cruelly undone by a soaring penalty count. A penalty soon after brought Heriots back into contention and when Blair Macpherson was sent to the bin they took full advantage. A rolling maul proved to be Ayr’s kryptonite throughout the contest and hooker Michael Liness reaped the reward on the stroke of half-time- he would later go on to score in similar fashion two more times to pick up a hat-trick.

The interval provided a chance for Ayr ladies to be paraded in front of Millbrae after an exceptional league triumph just two weeks ago. Skipper Louise McLaughlan was presented the National One Ladies trophy on the pitch, giving the day some much needed celebration.

In a second-half which saw Ayr strangled of possession they failed to get back on the scoresheet. Liness’ hat-trick was accompanied by ten points from the boot of Ross Jones.

This weekend Peter Murchie will look for a reaction from his men as they travel to the Borders for a top-of-the-table clash. Now in second, they will look to return to winning ways against Melrose, who now lead the pack.