This was one massive effort, something only a committed team could produce and with an end result that was truly remarkable.
And that was just getting the pitch playable after a week of frost.
Thanks to the work of the Ayr in-house team of eminent agriculturists, otherwise known as ‘the fairmers’, referee Neil Patterson passed the pitch playable and ‘no danger’.
What followed lived up to the billing of a top of the table clash between the two top in Scotland in all its passionate, physical blood curdling intensity.
Having presumably left the kitchen sink in the bus, Gala commenced by throwing everything else at Ayr in the opening stages helped by a series of penalties which saw the official up with the clock on awards after 10 minutes. That the visitors eschewed the kick at goal for the scrum showed just how superior Gala expected to be in that area and the first few encounters showed just how wrong they were.
Ayr held solid and it was ironic that, as they felt that they were controlling the ball at the back of a scrum the referee deemed it out, George Graham snaffled it and No8 Euan Dods compounded the frustration by galloping in under the posts for the softest of opening tries.
Lee Miller converted but that got the pink and black hackles up, they ran some elegant moves involving forwards and backs, Scott Sutherland and Colin White making the carries for Finn Russell and Robbie Fergusson to put Craig Gossman over for the try with Russell’s conversion tying the scores.
Ayr ecstatic plus Gala stunned equals - yes – another try three minutes later, again with a build up full of subtle offloads, bone crushing drives and delightful vision for Peter Jericevich to scoot in for try number two.
Russell missed the conversion but that try irritated the men in maroon and again they laid siege to the Ayr line and this was probably where the match was won because such was their defensive discipline and patience as well as body on the line heroics that frustration crept into the Gala play but it was a sigh of relief which greeted the half time whistle, and that was only the spectators.
Another defining moment came in the first minute of the second half when Alan Emond looked certain to score before being hauled down inches short by a copybook Jericevich tackle.
Ayr’s kicking wasn’t decisive enough to lift the pressure, George Graham’s quick tap penalty took him into the twenty two but as Ayr turned the attack, Scott Sutherland saw yellow but that was evened up a couple of minutes later when Gary Graham got 10 minutes on the naughty boys’ step.
Sutherland came back on before Graham and promptly stretched the lead with a much celebrated try.
Russell converted and in the remaining 13 minutes Gala, as you would expect, piled everything into the red zone.
Dods grabbed his second try, Miller converted and the Ayr faithful’s exhortations worked as a clearance kick was knocked on by Bryce Turner, the whistle went and Ayr were back at the top of the Premiership by one point though at this stage with six matches to go it is a brave man who would predict the final outcome.