With both Ayr and Stirling County on the same points going into the weekend and looking for a victory to begin their RBS Premier A campaign it was always going to be a close fought encounter at Millbrae on Saturday.
And it was just that, the score was all square with nine minutes to go, both teams having scored 13 points each.
However, Ayr came out on top, winning 25-13, after a late try from stand-off Robbie Fergusson and an injury time penalty try.
Throughout the game Stirling looked sharper in attack with a number of line-breaks exposing holes in the hosts defence and they found themselves camped metres from Ayr's try-line on a number of occasions but only managed to touch down twice.
Ultimately, indiscipline gave Ayr the upper hand though, which allowed them to kick to touch, create a formidable set piece, which lock Scott Sutherland dominated all day, and then unleash the forwards and backs at the County line.
Ayr head coach, Kenny Murray, said: “We’re really happy with the win it was always going to be tough as we were both on the same points in the league coming into this game.
“I think both teams were very even, but our priority was simply to redeem ourselves after the defeat against them earlier in the year.
“However, we managed to come into form in the last quarter and seal the game.”
In the first half both teams scored a try, with the visitors opening the scoring. After a prolonged period of forward attack, Bengi Barsanti played the ball to inside centre Danny Gilmour who then slipped through the Ayr midfield and under the post. Stuart Edwards converted 7-0.
Moments later Ayr responded when Fergusson kicked a perfect penalty kick for touch which allowed the forwards to attack from five metres. Sutherland rose-up, fed the ball to flanker, Robbie Colhoun and over the line. 5-7
The first half scoring was then concluded by Fergusson who took a simple kick at goal after County’s second-rower Robert McAlpine was sin-binned.
Half-time: Ayr 8-7 Stirling County
The visitors were again the first to score in the second period, with a penalty from Edwards eight minutes in. 8-10
However, once again within a matter of minutes the hosts were on the counter. This time number 8, John Willis picked up the ball in midfield and broke the County line. He then offloaded to full-back Grant Anderson who ran the score in from 15 metres. 13-10
Edwards then evened the scoring with a penalty, but it was Ayr who took the chances for victory with Fergusson’s try and the penalty try. 25-13
Full-time: Ayr 25-13 Stirling County
Ayr team: Grant Anderson; Richard Dalgleish, Ross Curle, Mark Stewart, Cammy Taylor; Robbie Fergusson, AJ MacFarlane; Gordon Sykes, Stewart Fenwick, Andy Kelly, Scott Sutherland, Colin White, Andy Dunlop, Robbie Colhoun, John Willis.
Replacements: Craig Davidson, Hayden Wisneski, Graham Fisken, Murray McConnell, Andy Wilson.
Stirling County team: Craig Robertson; Graeme Lindsay, John Graham, Danny Gilmour, Ross Aitken; Stuart Edwards, Sean Kennedy, Mike McDonald, Alex Moffat, Gary Mountford, Craig Deacons, Robert McApline, Scott Swindall, Tim Clarke, Bengi Barsanti.
Replacements: Robbie Boswell, Colin Hutton, Adam Ashe, Matt Lamb.