Saints Lose Out
Dumfries Saints 6 Ayr 31
Saints started this cup semi final against Premier 1 side Ayr with passion, dominating the opening minutes but their first mistake set the pattern for much of the game. An ambitious backs move fell apart and the loose ball was scoped up by Ayr winger Cammy Taylor who had too much pace for the cover defence and raced in to score. Andy Wilson converted and Saints were 7 down after four minutes.
From the restart Saints tried to make headway but failed to penetrate the well drilled Ayr defence. Once in possession Ayr showed their class, retaining the ball through several phases and always looking threatening. The pressure built and with the Saints scrum under pressure at a five yard scrum Ayr flanker Ross Doneghan burrowed over to score, Wilson again converted and after just ten minutes Saints were 14 points down.
To their credit Saints knuckled down, working hard in defence and starting to build some attacks of their own. Tom Hiddleston came into the line and chipped the rushing defence, he gathered his own kick and if the pass to supporting Graeme Gemmell had gone to hand he would have been in for the try.
Saints continued to work hard in defence with former Saint Sylvain Diez now playing for Ayr getting special attention! A penalty enabled Saints to get a line out in the visitors 22 and apply some pressure, but a turn over demonstrated once again the threat of Ayr on the counter attack. Saints persevered and Daniel Henderson almost broke through, the visitors conceded the penalty preventing quick ball from the tackle. Tom Hiddleston kicked a an excellent long one to get Saints on the score board. Half time 14-3.
The home side attacked from the off in the second half. An early penalty allowed Tom Hiddleston to narrow the gap to 14-6. Saints were using the wind to kick themselves into the right areas of the pitch. The scrum and line out were performing well and the momentum was with them. But Ayr rallied and reasserted themselves with a break out that almost went the length of the park. Good defence held the initial surge but Ayr showed their experience and patience to retain possession and work the opening for number 8 Andy Dunlop to score. Although Saints scrum half Finlay Miller was buried beneath the ball and a TV ref may not have awarded it!
This score proved the decisive one as the final quarter proved a tough one for Saints. The superior fitness of the Premier 1 side showed as they turned the screw of the Saints defence. A critical moment was the yellow card given to Saints Sam Hiddleston for what many considered a perfectly acceptable tackle. Down to 14 men Saints conceded another try as Andy Wilson raced in to score. To rub salt in the wound the last play of the match saw Ayr sub Craig Davidson score in the corner and Andy Wilson convert. Final score 31-6.
The score was a little harsh on Saints who never gave up and worked hard to the final whistle. The visitors however showed their class and experience, make mistakes against a side of their class and they will punish you. This young Saints can take heart from their performance however and learn for the next time!
Team; G McCall, F Paul, S Graham, A Mather, S Kennedy, P Coupar, P Smith, S Clanachan, F Miller, J Kerr, A Whelan, G Gemmell, S Hiddleston, K Henderson, T Hiddleston. Subs all used; B Kennedy, D Henderson, V Satala, J Sloan, M Yates.