People who come to Millbrae certainly get their money’s worth, declared Ayr coach Kenny Murray after a pulsating match.
It was a game in which Ayr played some superb rugby then, as they had done against Gala, had their fans on the edge of their seats as they almost let Melrose back in.
Had the first foots to Millbrae turned up with the traditional black bun and coal, they would have returned to the Greenyards with nothing but crumbs and ashes as Ayr completed their second double over RBS Premiership border rivals.
In doing so, they edged a crucial six points ahead of Gala having played one match more.
The Ayr pack hit top gear from the whistle and in the first 10 minutes they had the Melrose pack in total disarray and took full advantage with Nick Cox then Hayden Wisnewksi grabbing close quarter tries with Finn Russell converting the first.
Melrose tried to play a bit of rugby but it was well away from the danger zone and came to naught when, in the 26th minute, came a moment the Ayr fans had waited to see since the start of the season.
Dean Kelbrick has had a fraught season dogged by injury but, in only his second league start at Millbrae, he conjured up a magical try, straightening onto a perfect line from a Cox offload 35 metres out, selling a beaut of a dummy and uncatchable over the final 20 yards. Pure class.
Ayr’s momentum slowed after the 34th minute when Denford Mutamangira limped from the field, the front row re-jigged and Melrose sensed an advantage in the only area they were to prove superior, the scrum.
Andy Skeen got them on the board with a penalty and on the half time whistle, referee Johann Van Der Merwe awarded Melrose a penalty try after he considered Ayr had infringed once too often.
It could have been worse two minutes into the second half when Grant Runciman escaped and looked certain to score until pulled down by a magnificent Robbie Fergusson tackle which saved the try, possibly the game and who knows what else.
Ayr hit back immediately, Ross Curle weaved his way through a mesmerised Melrose defence and his offload was taken at full pelt by Peter Jericevich who had started the move for the bonus clinching try.
Russell added the conversion but having secured the extra point, the foot came of pedal just a bit and, as Murray confirmed later, lack of game fitness started to show.
With 10 minutes to go, Ayr were under intense pressure and the referee awarded a second penalty try which Skeene converted.
As consideration was being given to arranging a police escort for the official out of Millbrae, Ayr hit back with a cracker from skipper Callum Forrester after the pack had roused themselves for a final effort.
But again Melrose hit back and that man to whom onside is foreign territory, the splendid John Dalziel, claimed the third Melrose try and Skeen’s conversion brought them to within a score of an unlikely victory.
With anxious enquiries being made with regard to the location of the club’s defillibrator, pounding hearts and shredded nerves were quietened as Russell stroked over a final penalty with the last kick of a game whose final 10 minutes had produced 22 points.
Value for money indeed.
On Saturday, Ayr head to Hughenden to take on Hillhead Jordanhill in the West Regional Cup. Then on Tuesday, January 15, they host Ardrossan in a re-scheduled tie at 7.30pm.