It was another step towards Ayr’s quest for silverware but at a leisurely, almost lethargic pace which saw them get the better of Cartha Q/P at Millbrae and one for which they paid a considerable price.
The winners of this RBS West Regional Cup final had an appointment in the final at Old Anniesland against Hawks who beat Hamilton at Laigh Bent on Friday night.
In the end, Ayr won it comfortably but despite flashes of class particularly behind the scrum, they plodded rather than romped to a win.
Cartha were always going to defend as if their lives depended on it and in the first 10 minutes, they kept Ayr at bay until slick hands put Craig Gossman over.
Finn Russell missed the conversion but Ayr’s territory and possession suggested that the next try wouldn’t be too long in coming.
However, the Cartha defence had other ideas and the midfield was becoming clogged until Kerr Gossman sliced through but went for one sidestep too many and was pulled down short of the line.
Lack of imagination, lack of conviction and solid Cartha defence saw Ayr make things hard for themselves and it wasn’t until the half hour mark that some real momentum saw Graham Fisken seal try number two.
Five minutes before that try, the only unsavoury incident in a trouble free match saw an unpunished body check on Kerr Gossman result in the winger leaving the field in pain and it was subsequently revealed that he had suffered a suspected broken arm.
A blow to Ayr with the upcoming crucial league matches as well as the West Cup final but an even bigger blow to the player who had returned only a few weeks ago from a similar injury to show that he had lost none of his pace and sparkle.
With seven minutes of the half remaining, a loose Russell touch finder dropped infield, Cartha swung the ball across field, the ruck drove on and hooker Craig Gilmore, a wonderfully pesky thorn in Ayr’s flesh, got the touchdown.
The conversion pulled the score back to 10-7, the long suffering Ayr support asked for more, almost got it when Cammy Taylor was pulled down inches short and finally, after much huffing and puffing, capitalised on the field position for Stewart Fenwick to drive over for try number three with Russell’s conversion taking the half time score to 17-7.
Five minutes into the second half, Fisken galloped all of 75 metres for a solo try, Russell converted and that closed the door pretty firmly on an upset.
Ross Doneghan and Craig Gossman ran in tries before the end, Russell converted both but it was not a happy afternoon for the men in pink and black, in terms of performance, the loss of one of their principal strike runners and the glaury mess that was the Millbrae pitch at the end.