Monday, 19 November 2018

Malleny Park, Currie

Currie Chieftains 24-23 Ayr RFC

17th November 2018

It had been over a year since my last dip into Scottish club rugby, so this one was well overdue.  And a fine looking tussle it looked on paper – league leaders Ayr visiting a Currie side whose only home defeat thus far had been a narrow 31-32 reverse at the hands of current champions Melrose.

Fine entertainment it turned out to be, with a nail-biting finish every bit as dramatic as that in the Ireland/All Blacks clash a few hours later.  Even if the quality on show was, inevitably, a touch below that served up at Lansdown Road.

Ayr certainly began is if they meant business; scoring a try through Steven LONGWELL within two minutes of the start.  I think the Currie lads' only touch of the ball beforehand had been to knock-on.  Frazier Climo's ability (quite a skill when you think about it) to hit a post with both the resultant conversion attempt, and a subsequent penalty, prevented the the visitors extending their lead.

And they were made to pay for this profligacy when with what, to my memory, was their first real attack, Currie's Matt HOOKS crossed for a try, which Gregor HUNTER converted.

The visitors, despite enjoying much of the possession, only regained the lead seconds before the break.  But, goodness me, they weren't half made to work hard for it, due to some tenacious and disciplined home defence.  But eventually the tall Ayr captain Blair MacPHERSON did the business.  The narrow 10-7 half time-lead was the least the visitors deserved, I felt, for they had looked the more accomplished bunch throughout.

Before the match began there was two minutes' applause for recently departed Currie RFC official and former
player Campbell Reynolds.  Who was,by all accounts, a bit of character, as well as a stalwart of the club.
This is Campbell in the middle of the programme cover photo, above.

Currie v Ayr - November 2018

This was the first of a couple of bouts of handbags which broke out during the match.

Messrs Sutherland, Pounder and Thomas

Former Scottish International Peter Murchie is Head coach at Ayr RFC these days.

Currie v Ayr - November 2018

Currie v Ayr - November 2018

Currie v Ayr - November 2018

Currie v Ayr - November 2018

Panorama of Malleny Park, Currie RFC

Within minutes of the re-start, however, another flowing Currie move, this time involving Joe Reynolds bursting through, led to HOOKS scoring his second try of the afternoon, in the corner.

Undaunted the Ayr lads upped a few gears and by just after the hour mark led 20-12 and were, to my untutored eyes, anyway, looking good to go on and win handsomely.  But play appeared inexorably to shift into the Ayr half as the match wore on, and pushover tries (there appeared loads of them in the match) by first Fergus SCOTT and then Graeme CARSON, took the Chieftains into late 24-23 lead.

The last few plays of the match, as in the closing minutes of the first half, saw Ayr patiently attempting to pick a hole in the Currie defence, but an unfortunate knock-on ended the contest.

Phew!  This really had been a fun afternoon, and even this neutral had felt his auld heart pitter-pattering during those tense last few minutes.

Note to Self: Must see more Scottish club rugby this season.


The Malleny Park stand.