Ayr out-muscled by Pirates

In a tough British & Irish Cup encounter at Millbrae, Ayr lost 53-10 against Cornish Pirates in what was the first ever meeting between the two sides.

The result puts a dent in Ayr’s hopes of progressing from the group stages of the competition having lost to Jersey last week and came on a day when the two other home-based Scottish sides in action, Stirling County and Edinburgh Accies, also went down to defeat. On a brighter note, however, London Scottish sit two from two after their big win against Accies at Richmond.

Meanwhile in the RBS Premiership, Melrose continued their winning ways with a bonus point success at Currie, Hawick ended Heriot's seven match unbeaten run with a fine away win and Glasgow Hawks edged out Aberdeen Grammar at Rubislaw.

Ayr started their game brightly and were 10-0 in front within only eight minutes.

However, the Millbrae side failed to maintain their lead and found themselves 22-10 down at the break after Ross Curle was yellow carded.

In the second period, the Pirates took control of the match, running in five tries.

After the match, Ayr’s head coach, Peter Laverie said: “To be brutally honest, we were beaten by a better side.

“They were a physical team but we started the game well and collected early scores.

“In the second half they put the pace on and we couldn’t match them which was thoroughly disappointing.”

The Pirates travelled to Ayrshire with confidence after picking up a bonus point win last week against Ulster Ravens with former Glasgow Warriors prop, Ben Prescott, named in the starting line-up.

Ayr coach Laverie opted to rest Finn Russell, following their 16-28 loss last week with Ross Curle taking up the fly half position.
Dean Kelbrick returned at centre and James Eddie, fresh from the Glasgow game in Toulon, turned out at flanker.

Encouraging early start

Ayr flew out of the traps, taking a 3-0 lead within minutes of the first whistle, as Curle thumped the ball between the sticks from 45 metres.

The home side had the forward momentum and soon increased their points total.

The Ayr forwards found themselves camped on the Pirates’ line after eight minutes before the ball was spread to James Eddie who was able to pass quickly to Craig Gossman (see our picture above) who crossed the line.Curle then stepped up to add the extras.

Despite finding themselves 10-0 down, the English Championship side demonstrated their attacking prowess with Angus Sinclair dotting down following persistent work from the forwards. The fly half converted.

Another card for Curle

After scoring their try, the Pirates were keen to increase their tally and were knocking on Ayr’s try line after 15 minutes.
Curle looked to break up the attack and attempted an interception but, instead, he fumbled the ball forward and was awarded a yellow card for his troubles.

The Pirates then took advantage of their extra man on the field and were awarded a penalty try with Sinclair converting.

The away side’s physicality was evident in the first period and they scored their third try on the half hour mark.

On the stroke of half time, Angus Sinclair knocked over a penalty from 38 metres giving the Cornish Pirates a 22-10 lead at the break.

Five second-half tries for Pirates

In the second period, Ayr showed attacking intent but were unable to pierce the visitors’ defence.

The Pirates exerted their influence and ran in five more tries through Joel Conlon, Darren Barry, Matt Evans, Keiran Goss and Tom Hendrickson.

Scorers: Ayr – Try: Craig Gossman. Conversion: Curle. Penalty: Curle
Cornish Pirates – Tries: Sinclair, Penalty, Carpenter, Conlon, Barry, Evans, Goss, Hendrickson. Conversions: Sinclair (3), Hallett (2). Penalty: Sinclair

Ayr: Grant Anderson captain; Craig Gossman, Robbie Fergusson, Dean Kelbrick, Richard Dalgleish; Ross Curle, Peter Jericevich; Denford Mutamangira, David Young, George Hunter, Graham Williamson, Scott Sutherland, James Eddie, Peter McCallum and Callum Templeton.

Subs used: Danny McCluske, Nick Cox, Stuart Fenwick, D’arcy Rae, Graham Ficken, Murray McConnell, Kerr Gossman.

Cornish Pirates: Craig Holland; Mike Pope, Alex Dancer, Tom Hendrickson, Matt Evans; Angus Sinclair, Gavin Cattle (capt); Keiran Davies, Aaron Carpenter, Ben Prescott, Will Graulich, Neale Patrick, Jake Parker, Alex Cheesman and Joel Conlon.

Subs used: Darren Barry, Kieran Goss, Shane Cahill, Peter Joyce, Darren Barry, Joe Atkinson, Keiran Hallett, Keiran Goss.

Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys