SCOTTISH CUP FINAL: Ayr 27-25 Heriot's
Ayr won the Scottish Cup Final with the final kick of the match to defeat Heriot’s at BT Murrayfield (27-25).
With a single point separating the teams as the clock passed 80 minutes, Ayr fly-half Frazier Climo scored from out wide on the Heriot’s 22' to secure the league and Cup double for 2019.
The Edinburgh side had overhauled an early Ayr lead and gone on to take a 13-point advantage in the second half but the Millbrae men battled back to win at the death.
Ayr were looking to complete the double after winning the Tennent’s Premiership versus todays fellow finalists Heriot’s earlier this month.
Heriot’s will rue the missed opportunity to end a good season without silverware and had control over the final for much of the match.
The Tennent’s Premiership champions though didn’t roll over and despite the clock suggesting a Heriot’s victory had been secured Ayr put themselves in the position to win it and Climo duly delivered.
At full time Ayr’s hero Frazier Climo said, “I’d been kicking them alright and just fading a bit to the right and got a good sighter from the earlier conversion attempt so just need to straighten it up a bit and just go for it.
"We hit a bit of a flat patch through that second half and couldn’t really get any momentum or the ball, to be fair.
“This team has got a hell of a lot of character we’ve done it a few games this season when no one really gave us much of a chance, but we’ve got a massive amount of belief and Pete McCallum is a great leader.
“You can go from hero to zero with a kick like that, so I’m just glad it went over.”
Ayr winger Kyle Rowe opened the scoring after finishing off a sweeping move right in the corner despite close attention from full-back Charlie Simpson, however, Climo’s conversion drifted wide (5-0).
Heriot’s built some decent possession from the restart and a pinched Ayr lineout drew a high tackle penalty allowing Ross Jones to put Heriot’s on the board (5-3).
Ayr's line-out was creaking early on, one was nicked, one not straight, and a botched quick throw failed to give the West coast side a platform for their endeavours.
Ayr built pressure on the 20 minute mark through retaining possession and stretching the Heriot’s defence across the international pitch.
Eventually they won a penalty on Heriot’s 5m line and opted for a scrum.
They won another penalty at the scrum and drew several resets as Ayr worked hard to get a return from the position.
After several bursts to the line, and a great one-handed take by Stafford McDowall, it was hooker Robbie Smith who scored their second try from close range, to which Climo converted (12-3).
Heriot’s needed to get a foothold in the game and a knock on by Ayr full-back Anderson from an Edwards kick through inside their own 22 gave them a platform.
After several phases, which saw Ayr’s defence looking solid, a neat inside ball to winger Jack Blain set up a try for Charlie Simpson to scamper over (12-10).
Jones attempted a long range penalty for Heriot’s from the Ayr 15m line as the first-half closed but it just fell short.
Heriot’s finished the first 40 with a flourish and took the lead with continued possession eventually creating space on the far side for number 8 Struan Dewar to slide over (12-15).
HALF-TIME: Ayr 12-15 Heriot’s
Heriot’s had the first chance of points in the second half as Ross Jones lined up another long range penalty, and with a better contact he extended their lead (12-18).
A mistake from the restart which saw a kick to touch carried back from outside the 22 gave Ayr an attacking line-out, but a knock on from the resulting maul gave Heriot’s a scrum and another penalty and chance to clear.
Man of the Match Charlie Simpson was at the heart of Heriot’s next score and it was his counter that led to a Heriot’s scrum on the Ayr 22.
Some crisp ball handling from the Heriot’s backs was topped off with a Simpson pass behind his back to winger Jack Blain who beat several tackles to muscle his way over, with Jones adding the extras (12-25).
Heriot’s accuracy in attack and finishing was proving the difference at this stage and Ayr had rarely made inroads to their opponents 22 or maintained enough continuity in possession.
A penalty for a deliberate knock on the hour put Ayr up to the Heriot’s 5m line with an attacking lineout and their rolling maul only drew another penalty.
The subsequent lineout was stolen by Jason Hill and cleared.
Ayr tried to break the defence again from the lineout but a dropped pass allowed Heriot’s to clear long.
Ayr drove with a maul and set up a tense final quarter through a Frazier Climo try from first phases ball set up through Rory Carmichael’s run and pass off the deck in the Heriot’s 22 (19-25).
A kick through from Heriot’s drew a penalty from the restart and they kicked to the Ayr 22.
From the lineout Ayr won a penalty in return and cleared to halfway.
As the game entered the last 10 minutes Jones lined up his third long range penalty attempt from the 15m line, which he narrowly missed.
Heriot’s held possession from the 22 drop out but Ayr knew a converted score would win it.
Slowly they built territory and mixed up their carries until Stafford McDowall broke through and scored in the far corner. Climo’s conversion fell agonisingly short and a single point was the difference with only four minutes left to play (24-25).
Heriot’s tried to play down the clock and won a crucial penalty at the breakdown which Jones kicked to the Ayr 22.
There was a late twist though as Heriot’s conceded a penalty which enabled Ayr to kick up field.
The rolling maul drew another penalty to Ayr on the Heriot’s 22 and the choice was made to go for the posts with the clock now past 80 minutes and Ayr’s last throw of the dice.
Frazier Climo had the last kick of the match to secure the league and cup double and nailed it (27-25).
FULL-TIME: Ayr 27-25 Heriot’s
Ayr: Anderson; McCluskey, Kelly, Mcdowell, Rowe; Climo, Warr; Sayce, Smith, Longwell, Corbenici, Morrice, Macpherson, Spinks, McCallum CAPTAIN
Replacements: Reece, McGuire, North, Preston, Smith, Nairn, Millar.
Heriot's: Simpson; McMichael, Jones, Kay, Blain; Edwards, Simmers; Scott, Liness, Cessford, Marshall, Sinclair, Wilson CAPTAIN, McClean, Dewar
Replacements: Johnstone, Mustard, Leishman, Hughes, Hill, Ball, Carmichael.